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Username: timbeckham
Date/Time: Thu, April 20, 2000 at 1:58 PM GMT
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Subject: .com is King - restricted TLD's are the future


Every American company of any significant size already has a .com name. Most have spent heavy doses of cash to promote that .com identity.  The .com TLD is now firmly established as the TLD with cache`.  The other names we already have - .net and .org - run a poor second and third to the king of TLD's.

Does anyone really believe that new TLD's will change that?  Addition of more unrestricted TLD's will simply drive the .com fever to an even higher pitch by increasing the effort of existing, wealthy companies to use their .com label to distinguish themselves as a "class" website, separate and somehow better than the others with less distinguished TLD's.  Too much promotional money has already been spent and too many online identities established to permit the business world to just roll over and allow .com to become just one other TLD among many.

I'd like to propose another approach:

-- First of all, give up on the notion that you can ever create enough
general-purpose TLD's to make much of a difference in the online real
estate that .com has become.  It is already too late for that.  No other TLD will effectively compete in the foreseeable future.  No serious business will settle for less than the .com "best".

-- Secondly, look carefully at what a TLD can really offer.  It is part of the name for your online presence.  As such, it should reflect the nature of your organization, be it a business, a school, or whatever. That, of course, was the original purpose of the first set of TLD's.  It made good sense then, and it makes good sense now.  The problem was that it was never enforced in the .com, .net and .org registration process. It does work, however, with .mil, .edu and .gov, where it is enforced. -- That is history, and it is a good lesson.

-- Thirdly, ICANN should strive for simplicity and meaning in TLD's.
That is what will be most valuable to the general public. The
unrestricted TLD's we already have are quite simple, even if they have
lost much of their original meaning.  If more unrestricted TLD's are
added, the situation will become more complex and less sensible for most people. (What do all these new names mean to me?  How do they help me find what I want? Why do I have to consider so many of them?  Who thought up this new mess?) The public needs to have a set of TLD's that mean something to them, not just an array of names that make it easier for a relatively few people to get generic identities on the WWW.

-- We all know that .com, with sufficient variety in the development of secondary domain names, could suffice for every company that exists now and will ever exist in the next thousand years.  All one needs to do is settle for the fact that one can't have the "perfect" vanity name for one's website. 
   If one must have a generic name, then it may be best for the public that one should settle for a little less than the best.  For example -,, and so on.  We do exactly that with phone numbers.  Not everyone can have a phone number which, when translated into letters, spells the name of one's business, but somehow we manage quite well. 
   Besides, how could you possibly come up with enough TLD's to give every restaurant that wants it a "restaurant.???" of its own.  It would be very confusing and worse than the situation we have now.

In conclusion, TLD's can serve an excellent purpose by guiding the public to a set of websites specific to their area of interest.  That is the purpose of TLD's.  A TLD is not there to serve the interests of the company or organization with the website, however tempted one may be to believe that it is.  ICANN's real constituency is the general public, not the Internet "stakeholders" that want better vanity names for their own online identities.

It makes more sense for everyone if TLD's are effectively restricted, so a person looking for a category of website will know he or she can use the TLD as a guide in finding what they want.   ICANN should make that its purpose.

Tim Beckham       


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