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Username: Ron_Bennett
Date/Time: Wed, October 3, 2001 at 9:19 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.5 using Windows 98
Subject: Toll Free Prefixes...they illustrate the point you're making...


        The introduction of many new toll free prefixes really illustrates your point well. However, to be fair, unlike domain names, toll free numbers are far more limited and thus there was a real need to add more prefixes, though perhaps not as many as they have.

With that said, there are now at least five different toll free many people know that and of those, how many actually know what all five are...and that's assuming there aren't more that even I don't know of...there are 800, 888, 877, 866, 855 (implemented yet?). When in doubt, people often dial 800. And furthermore, much like .COM, 800 has much status and thus many businesses pay big sums of money, etc to get an 800 number or at least an 888 number, which would be something akin to having a .NET domain in the domain name world.

In short, the more prefixes added, the less valuable they all collectively become...except for .COM - and anyone who doesn't believe that only has to look at the demise of generic-like ccTLDs - remember the big push for .CC and .TV...even some large companies for a short time tried using them as their "main" domain address, but then reverted back to .COM.

Some make the argument that .INFO, etc are specific to a particular segment of the internet and thus are will be viewed that way by the public...don't count on it...for example, many government, educational, non-profit sites are going the other way and using .COM too, often of the most notable examples is the U.S. Post Office - in the beginning they advertised their website as USPS.GOV...but now, few people would even know they had such an address, since they use the USPS.COM domain exclusively in commercials, signage, etc.

Lastly, .INFO has already failed...I've mentioned .INFO to many of my friends, relatives, etc...a few had heard of it, but more importantly, most felt .INFO was redundent to .COM and in short they were not very excited about it - some commented they would just use .COM because their attitude was that's the standard and any "real" website will be found in .COM.


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