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  • To: ICANN <newgtld@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: .what?
  • From: Sales <sales@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 06 Jan 2014 04:19:18 -0800

Dear Sir or Mme:

We are not a registrar so that might be cause for you to stop reading this email, right here.

Assuming you've read past the first sentence, we are a Wild West Domains (I didn't mention GoDaddy, did I?) reseller (this is our 10th year) who still believes this business is a good basis for expanding the business model to other on-line businesses.

Cookie's Domain Shop has an interest in the proposed *.shop* TLD, for obvious reasons.

Beyond that, we might even look at becoming a registrar through Afilias or perhaps becoming an API domain dealer of some sort. This is largely dependent on profit and finances.

We don't have delegates we can send to ICANN meetings (though perhaps we could make our argument at NamesCon <http://namescon.com>) and we don't have Akram Atallah's ear. We've got our hands full already just with Cookie's Domain Shop <https://cookiesdomainshop.com>. If we could though, we'd say to ICANN, and many of those proposing new TLD's:



That sounds worse than it is meant. What I mean is that it should be obvious that certain TLD's are just not destined to become the next shining star. Can you look at this list of potential TLD's and figure out why they might just not be as successful as a .com?

.bra    .dud    .foe    .man
.bum    .duh    .fat    .mom
.car    .duo    .hog    .rag
.cow    .fix    .ice    .rat

Among the reasons might be "Insufficient marketable purpose", "Not a positive term", etc. Clearly, an average person can look at some potential TLD's and tell if they're going to be a huge success or not, without any marketing study.


For those who have no knowledge of early IBM or MS DOS, or of Digital Research's CP/M, MP/M and CP Net, that's where the .com familiarity and popularity came from. Having to type in "win.com" or "command.com" was ingrained in each and every computer user before the TLD ever became available to the public. If you wanted to get something done, you typed in [whatever].com, that is, until the Windows Graphical User Interface (GUI) came along. The public also became expectant of the 8.3 format of file, so .html became .htm and so on. (Can anyone figure out why .bat (batch processing command files) did not catch on as a TLD? ...Exactly!)

So it goes with other TLD's. If the public can type in 3 letters (or less) for a TLD, they just might do it. Why? People hate to type as much as they hate to read. Cases in point:

.info is more popular than it was, owing to discounted prices, but it largely seems to have suffered the same fate as:

.academy        .computer       .glass  .management     .singles
.aero   .construction   .graphics       .menu   .solar
.bike   .contract       .holdings       .museum         .solutions
.builders       .diamonds       .holiday        .ninja  .support
.buzz   .directory      .house  .mobi   .systems
.camera         .domains        .immobilien     .name   .tattoo
.camp   .education      .institute      .photography    .technology
.careers        .email  .international  .photos         .tips
.center         .enterprises    .jobs   .plumbing       .today
.clothing       .equipment      .kitchen        .post   .training
.campers        .estate         .kiwi   .recipes        .travel
.codes  .farm   .land   .repair         .ventures
.coffee         .florist        .lighting       .sexy   .viajes
.company        .gallery        .limo   .shoes  .voyage

(That rule puts the .shop TLD in the realm of possibly being principally a trendy and/or defensive TLD.)

There are TLDs that have the possibility of becoming wildly popular but just haven't, possibly owing to initial restrictions, difficulty in registering, price and/or availability (also maybe the policies of the registry). Cases in point: TLD's that should have become incredibly popular but, for some reason, just aren't as popular as they could be.

.am     .in     .law    .me     .pro
.fm     .it     .llc    .no     .tv

I do realize that some of these are country codes, but that's not necessarily how they're being marketed. All you very learned people already know this. (Who has not visited the domain hell.no <http://hell.no> just to see what is there?) None of the above cases are wholly ICANN's fault, by the way. ICANN just studies legal, technical and infringement issues, authorizes the TLDs, vets the registries and rakes in the profit. Right? Maybe these TLD's are just cases of inadequate marketing. This is not to say these registries won't make bank but they're not likely to be the next .com.


What we need is someone to punch up a three-letter-word dictionary <http://www.scrabblefinder.com/3-letter-words> and figure out which three-character TLDs will work and which ones will never ever work. The crux seems to be that the TLD has to be:

1. A term with one or more positive implications(as an example .ho
   might not work well for hospitals...).
2. A term that is currently in use.
3. A term that is likely to be adopted for profitable purposes (has
   marketing value).
4. A term that is 1, 2 or 3 characters

That's it people: the golden rule (he who has the money, makes the rules). The public either utilizes the TLDs or they don't, so their funds and browsing habits are ultimately the determining factors of a TLD's success. I'd like to remind you that these are the very same rules (above) as Microsoft allegedly used in determining the "win" name for naming "Windows" and for invoking Windows 3.X (win.com).

So, what meets some or all the above criteria and would be more likely to be successful?

.inc       .rx .dr .map

...as examples.

There are some circumstances where these rules (above) might be violated:

.doc might work based on being a familiar term if the medical community adopts the TLD. .music and .games might work, because it adheres to three of the four rules, if there is enough industry support. .home and .page might work, for the same reason .shop might work, because it adheres to three of the four rules.
.xxx will likely work if it becomes a government mandate.
.sex might work if there is /no/ .xxx mandate.
.gay might work, if there's enough popular demand by the gay community.
.do might work based on being a familiar term, though it has no apparent marketable usefulness. .cambio, .rock, .love and/or .afro might work based on being familiar terms, for reasons that are beyond the scope of this document.


The point is not to enumerate all the possibilities that might work but to hope that ICANN, and those controlling the new registries, take the issue of the sensibility of any new TLD out to the street before approving or even proposing it. What happened to RFC's? Send out a mailing! Ask people's opinion before you flood the Internet with new TLD's that are more likely to confound already confused netizens, and are more likely to push netizens back towards punctuated and numbered .com's than to open new markets.


Has anyone considered the impact on the search engine and SPAM firewall industries?

Suppose, hypothetically, there were a TLD called .spam. I, as an email user, discover that almost every email I get from the .spam TLD wants to sell me Viagra, a watch, or is a banker, tragically escaping a war-torn country in Africa, who wants me to open my bank account to them. So, I create an email rule blocking any emails coming from .spam (wouldn't that be nice?).

Here's the problem: There are, as of this writing, 410 (or so) TLD's and more on the way. As an average user, I'd have a heck of a time blocking TLD's one-by-one, so what do I do? Very likely, I'll generalize and create a simple rule that allows the domains I want and blocks all the others: good for Verisign but not so much for the other registries.

.academy        .diamonds       .jp     .pk     .va
.ad     .directory      .kaufen         .pl     .vc
.ae     .dj     .ke     .plumbing       .ve
.aero   .dk     .kg     .pm     .ventures
.af     .dm     .kh     .pn     .vg
.ag     .do     .ki     .post   .vi
.ai     .domains        .kitchen        .pr     .viajes
.al     .dz     .kiwi   .pro    .vn
.am     .ec     .km     .ps     .voyage
.an     .edu    .kn     .pt     .vu
.ao     .education      .kp     .pw     .wang
.aq     .ee     .kr     .py     .wf
.ar     .eg     .kw     .qa     .wien
.arpa   .eh     .ky     .re     .ws
.as     .email  .kz     .recipes        .??
.asia   .enterprises    .la     .repair         .???????
.at     .equipment      .land   .ro     .??
.au     .er     .lb     .rs     .??
.aw     .es     .lc     .ru     .??
.ax     .estate         .li     .ruhr   .????
.az     .et     .lighting       .rw     .?????
.ba     .eu     .limo   .sa     .??
.bb     .farm   .lk     .sb     .???
.bd     .fi     .lr     .sc     .?????????
.be     .fj     .ls     .sd     .???
.bf     .fk     .lt     .se     .??????
.bg     .florist        .lu     .sexy   .????
.bh     .fm     .lv     .sg     .???
.bi     .fo     .ly     .sh     .???
.bike   .fr     .ma     .shoes  .???????????
.biz    .ga     .management     .si     .????
.bj     .gallery        .mc     .singles        .???
.bl     .gb     .md     .sj     .??
.bm     .gd     .me     .sk     .??
.bn     .ge     .menu   .sl     .?????
.bo     .gf     .mf     .sm     .????
.bq     .gg     .mg     .sn     .??
.br     .gh     .mh     .so     .????
.bs     .gi     .mil    .solar  .????
.bt     .gl     .mk     .solutions      .???????
.builders       .glass  .ml     .sr     .???????
.buzz   .gm     .mm     .ss     .???
.bv     .gn     .mn     .st     .??
.bw     .gov    .mo     .su     .??????
.by     .gp     .mobi   .support        .??????
.bz     .gq     .mp     .sv     .??
.ca     .gr     .mq     .sx     .??
.cab    .graphics       .mr     .sy     .???
.camera         .gs     .ms     .systems        .???????
.camp   .gt     .mt     .sz     .????
.careers        .gu     .mu     .tattoo         .?????
.cat    .guru   .museum         .tc     .??????
.cc     .gw     .mv     .td     .???????
.cd     .gy     .mw     .technology     .??????
.center         .hk     .mx     .tel    .?????
.ceo    .hm     .my     .tf     .??????
.cf     .hn     .mz     .tg     .????????
.cg     .holdings       .na     .th     .?????
.ch     .holiday        .name   .tips   .??????
.ci     .house  .nc     .tj     .????
.ck     .hr     .ne     .tk     .??
.cl     .ht     .net    .tl     .???
.clothing       .hu     .nf     .tm     .?????
.cm     .id     .ng     .tn     .??
.cn     .ie     .ni     .to     .????
.co     .il     .ninja  .today  .???
.codes  .im     .nl     .tp     .????
.coffee         .immobilien     .no     .tr     .??
.com    .in     .np     .training       .???
.company        .info   .nr     .travel         .???
.computer       .institute      .nu     .tt     .??????
.construction   .int    .nz     .tv     .???????
.contractors    .international  .om     .tw     .???
.coop   .io     .onl    .tz     .??????
.cr     .iq     .org    .ua     .???
.cu     .ir     .pa     .ug     .??
.cv     .is     .pe     .uk     .xxx
.cw     .it     .pf     .um     .ye
.cx     .je     .pg     .uno    .yt
.cy     .jm     .ph     .us     .za
.cz     .jo     .photography    .uy     .zm
.de     .jobs   .photos         .uz     .zw

On a lighter note, someone created a TLD called .kitchen but no one apparently thought to create a TLD called .inc, which might have been useful in describing the plethora of new TLD's (i.e. "Everything but the Kitchens.inc").


With respect to search engines, at least one entire TLD was removed from the Google search engine. The proliferation of TLD's seems to simply make another such exclusion more likely.


We haven't mentioned the heart and soul of the Internet: the netizens who browse and buy TLD's. Suppose the public-at-large gives up on understanding TLD's and decides there's no practical way to constantly remain current on every TLD, so they give up on trying. After giving up on understanding TLD's, how many of them could (or would) recognize a special (i.e. pipe) character nested in an otherwise unfamiliar URL/IRL. So, in theory, I could have a user either damage their own data, or attack someone else on the Web, just by an artfully crafted URL/IRL, relying on users' unfamiliarity with current TLDs. Has this been done before? A programmer using the name Moxie Marlinspike <http://www.thoughtcrime.org/blog/ssl-and-the-future-of-authenticity/> introduced the concept at DEFCON 2011, citing a much simpler example of using a URL/IRL to deceive a netizen:



So as not to confuse, if someone makes the tld's, we'll offer them. We don't try to not sell any particular tld. That's the customers' choice.

I hope that I haven't offended anyone. It's just that sometimes, someone has to point out when there's an elephant in the room....



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