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Username: HH
Date/Time: Wed, November 1, 2000 at 3:54 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.0 using Windows 98
Score: 5
Subject: Handling multiple people with the same name


We believe there is a great need for a domain space for people, not corporates, where people could have their personal address on the growing web, for email and web-pages today, tomorrow - their mobile telephone number and personal IP-number would perhaps resolve from this domain name.

The DNS system takes part of its greatness from the fact that it is a global, unique addressing system. Every URL is unique and resolves in same way independently of context or country.

However, this is not the case for people's names, as rightly pointed out, some names are so common that even the firstname-lastname combination is shared by thousands, and would not be of the unique nature of the DNS.

(There are only in the US 2,742,000 people with the lastname "Smith", and 4,320,000 with the firstname "John". Of these, about 40,000 share the most common combination of "western names", "John Smith")

One way of solving the problem, which has been suggested before by several email providers, is to add a string to the name in order to make it unique, like a unique number, combinations of the individual's country, city, birthdate, social security number, etc. Such constructions have not been a great success.

This would typically result in addresses of the type:

Many people would find it quite uninteresting to have such an address, after all, how would that make the address easier to remember and to relate to?

We believe that there exist a multitude of mechanisms to partially or completely solve the problem of colliding names, but have only proposed one - allowing registrations on the third level only.

A third level registration policy would for "" give the opportunity to have a address to all the 2,742,000 Smiths in the US, (and the 807 in Spain, as an example), instead of only to one. After this, we would like to leave it to each individual how they would like to customize their address in order to obtain their preferred combination.

Such combinations could be, but would not be limited to:

- (many cultures use this sorting method, i.e. in Eastern Europe and Asia)
- (where XXX is any number or string of any length of the user's preference)
- (if, as pointed out, users would like to have their profession included in their personal address) (another possibility open for all)

The fact that we limit registrations to the third level allow far more flexibility and choice for the end users than giving away the second level domain name. While it is not a full solution, we believe it's better to give users the choice, and thereby not limiting possibilities we do not currently see.

The uniqueness of the DNS and the commonness of certain names are difficult to combine and we must look at diversity to manage it.

For mediumly common names, though, like Mathew Hankins, the problem is far smaller. There are 24538 Hankins in the US, and 84480 Mathews, of which about 700 are named "Mathew Hankins". Mathews chance of having a domain name just multiplied by 35 as a result of third level registrations, while keeping an interesting address (more interesting than, and allowing for flexibility.

All the thousands of different Hankins would have a chance of a unique address, and most would find their own ways around collisions.

From our knowledge gained through running a personal domain name service for more than 800,000 people using a (or other TLD), we have understood that people manage to coexist in the space although they share the same Firstname-Lastname combination, as long as the second level is not reserved the sole usage of one.

It is our belief that leaving the necessary choice to the end users is the best way of giving the most people possible a space on a new top level domain, .name, should it be created. We will actively seek to provide a space that is as large as possible and work towards the goal of a .name for everyone.

Yours truly,

Hakon Haugnes
The Global Name Registry


Link: The Global Name Registry Website

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