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The Internet Communications

Vint Cerf Answering Questions on Top-Level Domains 191

penciling_in writes "Over at CircleID, Vint Cerf is taking question from the community Slashdot-style with regards to top level domains. 'As most readers are no doubt aware, when it comes to the topic of Top-Level Domains (TLDs), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) takes center stage. From the existing .com and .net TLDs to the newly introduced and future releases, in the past years we witnessed the increasing level of discussions around Top-Level Domains painted -- ever so often -- with political, legal and technical debates. Vint Cerf, Google's VP and Chief Internet Evangelist, who has served as chairman of the board of ICANN since the November of 1999 has accepted CircleID's invitation to directly respond to your questions on the topic. This is your opportunity to have your Top-Level Domain related questions responded by Vint Cerf.'"
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Vint Cerf Answering Questions on Top-Level Domains

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  • Like... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mrcowcow ( 931085 ) <mrcowcow AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @12:28AM (#14488082)
    If .xxx will see the light of day?
    • Asking Darth Cerf about new tlds is like asking the RIAA about downloading techniques.

    • Re:Like... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fr1kk ( 810571 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @12:49AM (#14488180) Homepage
      As a student who is rather naive to the process of managing domains, what kind of process is involved when it comes to deciding a new top level domain? Also, aside from the given national domains, what is the life cycle of a potential domain that could possibly come to existance, and how do external groups affect the decision (i hate to be cliche, but for example: .xxx domains and the pressure from right wing groups to prevent the domain from allowing a general 'acceptance' of the genre .xxx assumes)? -Blaine
  • by romiir ( 874939 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @12:41AM (#14488131)
    Can we have www.google? Thats so much easyer to type then www.google.com
    and while were at it... lets get www./
    (Worst that can happen, they say no...)
  • by LardBrattish ( 703549 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @12:41AM (#14488136) Homepage
    who thinks Chris McElroy needs a glass of milk & his blanky?

    There's a lot of dissatisfaction there in comment 5 of TFA...

  • by vena ( 318873 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @12:41AM (#14488138)
    is there a real use for having TLDs anymore? no one follows the current rules to any reasonable extent, and it just seems more an artificial way of creating a market sphere, such as how a .com appears more legitimate than a .net for a business regardless of its position in network services. as of now, they provide no discernable organisational structure to speak of imho...
  • TLD abuse. (Score:2, Funny)

    by grub ( 11606 )

    What can we do about people like Rodona Garst and her abuse of the .cx domain? She robbed the world of a valuable resource.

    Thank you.

  • Much attention has been lavished on new top-level domains as a method of differentiating certain types of content. For example, the .biz TLD is aimed at purely business-related sites (unlike the highly diluted .com), and .xxx has been proposed as a 'sandbox' to corral various adult content away from innocent eyes.

    Software security is a very hot topic these days. Keeping up with a constant stream of security updates and patches is a tough enough job, but an added layer of risk and complexity is caused by

  • Wiki! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Aquatopia17 ( 710847 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @12:43AM (#14488148)
    How about a .wiki TLD? It's just crazy enough to work, considering the countless wikis to be found out there. Wiki Wiki Wiki!
    • And it's so damned hard to get a .info?
    • Re:Wiki! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by typical ( 886006 )
      Why would it be beneficial to introduce an entirely new root-level subtree for storing Wikis?

      I mean, there are many geocities pages out there too, but we don't introduct a .geocities.

      If you have a hierarchical system like DNS, you introduce a new child to the root when none of the existing children are appropriate for storing said item. Wikis seem to be doing okay where they are.
      • IMHO, a ".blog" TLD makes so much more sense. There are millions of weblogs anyway, and they're only growing at an exponential rate. This categorization will also, in one fell swoop, largely alleviate the trackback link problem that so many search engines are facing, and allow spiders/bots to easily differentiate between a weblog and a regular content/news site.
        • I dunno. I know that you're thinking of a personal journal kept online by people, but consider that Slashdot could be considered a "blog", and that there is increasing use of corporate blogs. The DNS hierarchy is slow to adapt -- once we move to a new TLD, we're stuck with it for a while. The nature of what a blog even is, in the presence of new systems for social networking and so forth, is rapidly changing.

          I'm not sure that search engines might be able to do a better job of identifying blogs than blog
          • I agree with you that weblogs or personal/corporate journals are still niche. However, i feel that the sheer number of weblogs (millions) warrant a TLD. Furthermore, it makes even more sense for corporations. Say, Apple decides to start corporate blogs. They could keep Apple.com as their corporate website, and host all their blogs in Apple.blog.

            You have valid point that weblogs are often not dedicated. However, isn't the purpose of a TLD to provide effective categorization? Isn't the fact that weblogs are c
        • No, no, no! That's not what TLDs are for. If you insist on identifying a blog by URL, you can use the subdomain space for that (you you'd get blog.yourdomain.com). Same goes for a wiki, just like FTP servers, mail servers, etc. have always been identified.

          TLDs are either national identifiers or topical groups (com, org). The second use is an aberration caused by American domains omitting the .us TLD. The only way to keep domain guessing doable is to keep the number of TLDs limited, which is why proposals li
          • The second use is an aberration caused by American domains omitting the .us TLD

            God yes! Here's an idea that is a bit .. different,

            Lets make a new .co.us domain, then let us stop taking registrations for .com (yup, no new .com domains). Then, slowly start cancelling .com domains, and replace them (for free?) with the appropriate .co. instead. At a stroke that would get rid of the 'everyone must have the .com' TLD for their site, no matter where they live in the world, and would allow better (sure, not perfec
  • by RedLeg ( 22564 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @12:48AM (#14488168) Journal
    Pretend that I am Jon Postel, still alive, and I have cornered you an the hallway at IETF.

    Defend to me, on grounds that you know I (Jon Postel) would accept, the decision to kill the .XXX domain.

    Remember (and I am not reminding you, sir) that registration in that domain is not mandatory for ANYONE.

    Yes, we've met (at IETF), and no, I will not tell you who I am.

    --Red
    • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @12:55AM (#14488207)
      Its pointless. Unless you make it mandatory, there's no reason for a porn site to use it, as many places will block .xxx by default. And making it mandatory is a violation of free speech.
      • Its pointless. Unless you make it mandatory, there's no reason for a porn site to use it, as many places will block .xxx by default. And making it mandatory is a violation of free speech.

        That's fallacious.

        Any porn site will have a .xxx presence simply to improve its exposure to searches.

        If sites block them, that saves the porn sites that are wholly within .xxx from having to implement those silly "click here if you are under 18" portal windows.

        Frankly, there's no reason grounded in anything other than sheer
        • If sites block them, that saves the porn sites that are wholly within .xxx from having to implement those silly "click here if you are under 18" portal windows.

          So we should introduce a new TLD so porn webmasters don't have to have a "proceed" button?

          Frankly, there's no reason grounded in anything other than sheer bloody-mindedness to deny any TLD the light of day.

          There's no reason to introduce such a content-based TLD except to give registrars another opportunity to bill all the trademark-holders yet

          • There's no reason to introduce such a content-based TLD except to give registrars another opportunity to bill all the trademark-holders yet again; and/or allow phishing sites to have a plausible name -- if Citibank.xxx doesn't fool anyone, Playboy.xxx might. And outside the US, where the XXX film rating scheme isn't known, XXX has no obvious porn implication.

            1. There's no reason not to introduce any TLD anyone requests. Period.

            2. Nobody's forced to buy URLs in any particular TLD.

            3. Registrations are dow
            • 5c. Most if not all of the world surely does know what "XXX" means.

              You're American, right?

              5b. .com has no obvious porn implication, but guess what: all porn sites use it now without compunction anyway.

              So any attempt to herd them inot .xxx will be futile.

              7. Any business organized as a registrar for a TLD should be a nonprofit, anyway.

              If they were, I might trust them more, but they're not.

        • I'm sure most Slashdotters are under the eighteen inches requirement the webmasters ask for, so this only serves to limit their potential customers and revenue!
    • Heck, you don't need Vint Cert to shoot down [slashdot.org] .xxx.
  • Why not let IBM buy .IBM? Why keep holding the old .com and .net around?
  • "Cerfing" the net (Score:3, Informative)

    by deanj ( 519759 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @12:53AM (#14488198)
    Vint Cerf made great contributions to the Internet. There's no doubt about that.

    A few years ago, I saw an interview where the reporter asked whether the term "Surfing the net" was based on his name. Rather than correct the reporter, he acted coy and suggested that "cerfing the net" could indeed be related to him. Geesh.
  • by chris_sawtell ( 10326 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @12:55AM (#14488210) Journal
    Why did ICANN permit the hijacking, i.e. Internet identity theft, of the TLDs of small and naive nation-states? .tv, .to, .cx come to mind immediately, I'm sure there are others. IMHO, this is Rampant Imperialism of the worst kind, and is one of many factors which have caused the rest of the world to want to wrest ultimate control of the DNS from the US government. What are you going to do about it in the future? Are you ever going to restore the ownership of .to, .tv and .cx back to Tonga, Tuvalu and Christmas Island where they rightfully belong? Why is it correct and proper to allow out of region servers? There are something between several and many servers which have .nz addresses, yet are domiciled in the US. In other words - are you ever going to clean up these messes which have happened in the past?
    • Not flamebait, pertinent and serious questions actually. Emphatically put maybe, but serious none the less.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @01:49AM (#14488392)
      If .to, .tv, and .cx were "hijacked", then so was every other piece of property that was ever sold by its owner to someone else. The governments of those entities sold the rights to those TLDs. If those governments regret it now, they could seize it back at any time (albeit at the cost of destroying their international financial credibility).

      If the adminstrators of .nz wish to allow systems outside of New Zealand to have .nz DNS names, how is this a concern of ICANN or anyone else outside of New Zealand?

      I have cell phone service registered in three foreign countries. I pay for the privilege. Why is it a problem to you that someone calling one of those numbers overseas instead rings a phone located in the USA, especially since I pay for the cost of transferring the call here?
    • by SecureTheNet ( 915798 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @01:59AM (#14488422) Homepage
      Tuvalu (.tv) sold the rights to their domain to verisign. It was not hijacked from them, it was their right and their decision to sell it. They received over $20 million dollars, which is roughly twice their annual gross domestic product. I fail to see how this constitutes being "hijacked."

      .cx is run by a community owned non-profit on christmas island. They also run a non-profit isp on the island. How is this hijacking?
      • You're correct that "hijacking" is the wrong word for what happened to .tv. There's still a real question to be asked though:

        What are countries that have sold off their top-level domain going to do in 50 or 100 years when they want a national TLD? Are they going to be issued a new one? If so, what stops them from selling it again? Isn't allowing sales like .tv a failure to consider long-term consequences for the Internet and its users? (You could argue that disallowing the sale would have been inhumanitar

        • What are countries that have sold off their top-level domain going to do in 50 or 100 years when they want a national TLD?

          In the case of Tuvalu, they are half way through a 12 year lease. In 50 or 100 years time, climate change may well have made the country uninhabitable, anyway, so it may be a moot point.

          As for the others, I would need to be convinced they had sold the rights in perpetuity before getting too worried.
      • Tuvalu (.tv) sold the rights to their domain to verisign. It was not hijacked from them, it was their right and their decision to sell it. They received over $20 million dollars, which is roughly twice their annual gross domestic product.

        $20 million for an entire TLD with the appeal of '.tv' is absolute peanuts.
        _That_ is exactly what I mean by taking advantage of a small and naive nation-state. I think the verb Hi_Jacking is actually most appropriate in this particular case. The fact that the money pa

        • There's this theory that, in monetary terms, things are worth what people will actually pay for them, not what some anonymous schmoe thinks they "ought" to be worth. In the case of .tv, if the domain was really worth much more than $20 million, then Tuvalu should've have said, "let's have an auction" and sold it for the gazillions that you think it should've went for. Or they could've leased it for a percentage of the revenues, or whatever.

          Furthermore, if you're going to look at this from an anti-capita
    • For an account of real hijacking, check out http://www.rootfest.net/squatters.html [rootfest.net]
    • Wow, you really have no clue, do you?

      -david
  • by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @12:57AM (#14488213)
    Why did you leave MCI just before its acquisition by Verizon was completed? What do you see the future holding for Verizon?
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @01:00AM (#14488221) Homepage
    Is it time to phase out some TLDs as unsuccessful?
    • .BIZ The Internet's equivalent of a strip mall in a bad neighborhood. No major company has its primary domain in .biz. Its reputation is that bad. It's used mostly by spammers, scammers, and other low-lifes.
    • .INFO There's some use of .info, but not much. Is it worth the trouble?
    • .MUSEUM The number of museums in this TLD is so tiny there's a single page that lists all of them. Yet most of the big names in museums aren't there.
    • .AERO Supposedly for the aviation industry, it's almost totally unused. The registrar has put up redirect pages for the major airport codes, such as LAX [lax.aero], but many of those are broken or redirect to the wrong page.

    When considering any new TLDs, it's worth looking at how these TLDs, from ICANN's first wave of expansion, worked out.

  • Seriously (Score:2, Funny)

    by utdpenguin ( 413984 )
    What the hell kind of name is "Vint Cerf?"
  • Control (Score:4, Interesting)

    by flyingember ( 555991 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @01:02AM (#14488229)
    Given that top level domains were initially created to give a sense of order to the internet, before user@schoolname was more the rule, it seem .com would ONLY be given to commercial groups, .net to networks, etc. I was reading RFC 1480 and it looks like even as late as 1993 a restructure of the US domain system could have been created along the lines of how foreign countries do it. bbc.co.uk would thus be a british site, and bbc.co.us could be bbc americas domain. Instead we have a hodgepodge of international mixes. Thus my question is, why all the chaos in how they were assigned?
    • I agree with your confusion about how TLDs are actually assigned. The big ones can be bought by anyone and there is no real structure. However, I want to bring to your attention the ODP (Open Directory Project) [dmoz.org].

      Editors on that website take weeks (more realistically months) reviewing websites carefully submitted to the different sections to be posted. Now the ODP is run for free by volunteers, but there is a point.

      Think about what would happen if this exact same process took place for TLDs. Why would a c
    • Re:Control (Score:3, Informative)

      by typical ( 886006 )
      I can guess at the answer to that.

      It's because Netscape Navigator decided to fill in "www.foobar.com" for "foobar". That meant that if you wanted a short, memorable URL, you needed a .com domain.

      A reasonable decision at the time, but with unfortunate consequences down the line.

      Also, ".com" is two characters shorter than ".co.us".
  • MCI (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 1310nm ( 687270 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @01:13AM (#14488272)
    As a fellow at MCI (please correct me if I'm wrong), what was your day-to-day activity like? I grok things as far up the technological chain as network engineering, but I never had insight into the work of a visionary at MCI.

    BTW, it's great to be rid of the MCI name now that we're Verizon Business, and I wish you luck at Google.
    • BTW, it's great to be rid of the MCI name now that we're Verizon Business, and I wish you luck at Google

      You misspelled "Worldcom" somewhere there...
  • What use are the TDLs today, considering nobody really attempts to use them correcly anymore? And if just for a self-policing namespacing, then why not allow *any* TLD, having any of them that don't resolve to one of the "big" ones (.com, .org, .net, .mil, .edu, country domains, etc) all resolve to one set of "catch all" roots. Then people could come up with whatever they.want to.use as.a.top level.domain and register them.
  • by shoolz ( 752000 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @01:44AM (#14488376) Homepage
    I want to register clownpenis.fart [google.com]

    Will that be possible in the coming years?

  • Dear mr Cerf (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Considering that you were mostly involved with designing the underlying protocol of whats known as the "internet", do you find it annoying that most people ask you questions about DNS?

    -koft
  • by FathomIT ( 464334 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @02:40AM (#14488537)
    Is it legal for companies like Verisign be allowed to raise the rates on yearly domain renewals? Shouldn't the cost of domain renewal and new domain purchases go down because the cost of maintaining TLDs are less (ie equipment, bandwidth, quantity of subscriberships etc.)?
  • by Schlemphfer ( 556732 ) on Tuesday January 17, 2006 @03:03AM (#14488623) Homepage
    I've noticed that anytime a domain expires, it doesn't go back into the unused pool and become available to someone else. Most or all of the expired domain names get instantly sucked up the moment they expire by companies nobody's ever heard of that (I suppose) have contracts with the top domain registrars. I suppose this amounts to thousands or tens of thousands of domain names vanishing from circulation each year; domains that I have to think are essentially ransomed off by these bulk buyers, one by one, to anyone who really, really wants it.

    I've got to think that, when purchased in bulk, it costs pennies, or perhaps tenths or even hundredths of pennies, in actual administrative costs to keep these domains registered each year.

    Since costs of maintaining registration for expired domains can approach nothing, are we at risk of these re-registration companies eventually having permanent ownership of nearly every domain a person might think to register? Might it not be in the public interest to have a minimum annual registration fee per domain (say, three dollars), to help ensure that domains aren't held in perpetuity by speculators?

  • Well, this isn't really a TLD question, but I expect that Mr. Cerf knows his way around a name.

    Currently, the most common scheme for addressing a document is a URL, which includes the location of that document (or, more likely, the location of the most recent revision of that document) on a server. This scheme has the drawback that URLs tend to break over time as organizations shift and directory structures change. This is a problem for those compiling bibliographies, where a valid reference to the origin
  • This would let everyone run their own pseudo "top level domain" without stressing the global system too much. The goal here is especially that the DNS cache hit ratios would not drop dramatically because of multitude of global domains.

    I once tried to discuss this on the DNSO mailing list, but finally could not find a right place:

    "A letter hierarchy based scheme for arbitrary TLDs"
    http://www.cafax.se/dnsop/maillist/2001-05/msg0006 [cafax.se] 8.html

    Let's first set up top level domains for all single letters a., b.,...z
    • This domain squatting problem would be no worse than today. And squatting a single mid-level letter would give you no benefit, just costs, because you would be required to allow (free) delegation of any sub-letter domains.
  • I'm still waiting for the TLD for Ogres - .ogr

    I somehow keep trying to get to slashdor.ogr, as if drawn by some unseen force.

    If there were a TLD for ogres, at least the slashdot ogres - or moderators - would at last have recognition.
  • There are millions of small businesses with local constituencies. How hard would it be to have 50 (or 51) new TLDs in the form USAK, USAL, USAR,...USVT? I would definitely sign up for USTX, although I would like some way to indicate my city as well. Google has already made an attempt to cater to these folks. BTW, if such a new scheme is implemented, it would be nice to have them restricted to people and businesses that actually have some physical address in the given region.

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981

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