New Direction in the World Wide Web

October 1, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More

The U.S. Government is considering loosening the hold on the group created by the U.S. Government to oversee internet naming for the world. This recent PC Magazine article describes how ICANN Begins Moving Away from U.S. Control.

One big milestone will be to allow alphabets other than Latinate (English) in website names. This is a big change; going from one-byte letters to unicode two byte letters to accommodate the thousands-of-letter alphabets of pictographic languages. You browser already can handle this. And the next billion new internet users won’t need to first become fluent in the Roman Alphabet.

But the change that has the business community abuzz is that they are opening up the Top Level Domains. You know, .com, .org, .us, etc. Back when they added .com and .org there was some sputtering about the lack of need. After all, we had .gov, .org, .edu, and all the country domains. Why have specific virtual realms for-profit and non-profit suffixes? Then the web took off, and “everyone” soon associated the commercial superdomain (.com) with “the web”. Eventually, even government entities gave up on .gov, and made .com their native home, like usps.com.

Now, businesses are worried that opening up these suffixes completely will get expensive. One likely suggestion being debated is “.food”. Will McDonalds have to pony up to buy its suite of names in .food as well as in .com? What if someone opens up .burger? Want dot fries with that? It could get expensive and confusing to have dozens or hundreds of names for any given website.

Will this become a new boom time for cyber-squatters, those who buy up names and hold them for ransom?

And what about “www”? 15 years ago, there still was a subtle distinction between hyper-text transfer protocol (http://) and the Web (www). The former originally applied to text-only Bulletin Boards. But this has long evaporated, and www has become an artifact that remains mainly because it is easier to type than “http://” as an indicator to a browser of what you mean by a URL.

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Category: American Culture, Bigotry, Communication, Current Events, Internet

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A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

Comments (4)

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  1. Voynix says:

    I just wanted to say that there is a important technical distinction between http:// and www. http:// tells the browser how to try to access the address you give it (it tell it to use the HyperText Transfer Protocol). www is part of the website's name. http://www.dangerousintersection.com and dangerousintersection.com are not the same site.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      BTW, when I started this site, "dangerousintersection.com" was already owned by someone else, or else I would have bought both the .com and .org versions. I see that it is now being offered for $1,000. Let me know when it gets down to $10–I might be interested in it then.

  2. Dan Klarmann says:

    The www indicates a sub-domain, specifically that part of a domain that is the root website. In almost every case under http: it is redundant. A decade ago the www was necessary on some sites.

    Can anyone find a url where the www is still required? How about contraindicated?

  3. voynix says:

    OK, apparently my post above got auto-formated ("www" became http://www) and now makes very little sense. However, it appears correctly on the sidebar showing new comments.

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