In The Beginning
There was the .com and the .org and the .net and it was good.
And, I mean, there were probably a few others – but that’s all people cared about.
Go Forth And Multiply
And THE LORD sayeth “Hey, do people want country codes? Like .UK, .FR, .DE?”
And the people were all like “Duh! Yeah!”
Except for the people of the American United States. For they gnashed their teeth and wailed “We invented the Internet. There’s no way we are going to use .US. We’ll take the top level, thanks.”
And many did wonder if they should have let them have .USAUSAUSA!
The Descent Into Madness
And some people were not satisfied. And lo! They asked for more domains and THE LORD shrugged and said “Eh. Sure. Why not?”
And thus .mobi and .biz and .tel and their brethren were born. Yet no one used them. Dust returned to the land. Still the people cried out for more.
The End Of Days
In that time, a certain man was heard to say “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could have .Nokia? Or, like, any top level domain we wanted?”
The wise elders spat on the ground and sang as one “That is the dumbest idea that we ever heard. Literally, what is the point?”
But the people of the valley were vain, and each man wanted his own top level domain.
So rang out the cry “Open up your wallets and prepare to have them emptied.”
And the people of the valley emptied their wallets. And it was bad.
The Great Confusion
In the great accounting house, a young scribe grew weary. “Why do I not have a domain, oh Lord?” he prayed.
And THE LORD appeared in front of him in the vision of a burning bunch of pink-carbon-paper which really should have gone to Janice in Accounts-Receivable last week.
“ALL COUNTERS OF MONEY SHALL HAVE A DOMAIN!”
And so it was that the young man was asked if he wanted a .accountant domain managed by Famous Four Media Limited, or if he would prefer an almost identical but subtly different . accountants domain managed by Donuts Inc.
The boy trembled. “How am I to tell the difference, oh Lord? Won’t there be a confusion upon the land?”
“THAT’S A GOOD POINT. YOU’D BETTER BUY BOTH JUST TO BE ON THE SAFE SIDE.” And THE LORD did vanish.
And their was much confusion.
How Much Confusion?
(I’ve stopped writing in that spoof-Biblical style now)
Take a look at the latest list of top level domains.
Here are all the domains which I think are easily confusable – or seemingly duplicates. Some are brand new, some are not.
- .channel (As in “TV Channel” not the French Fashion House)
- .mobily (Completely unrelated, but quite similar)
- .online (seriously, .onl’s advert says “As short and catchy as .com – As universal and practical as .online“!)
- .pars (An easy typo to make)
- .technology (Again, separate companies managing these similar domains)
- .theater (OK, the Yanks and the Brits spell this differently!)
- .tjmaxx (These are both the same store group, but it’s called TK Maxx in the UK to avoid confusion with the similarly names TJ Hughes)
- .vin (This is a big controversial issue in the wine world)
I’m sure there are a few I’ve missed – but that’s already a huge scope for confusion, impersonation, and duplication.
To be fair, some of the domains will only allow registration from authorised parties. So you won’t be able to register “Clippy.microsoft” – unless you work there.
Oh, and my favourite?
Because it will be the cause of great parsing confusion.
Grrr… Because .zip is a valid TLD, it's impossible to know whether http://t.co/webB2l1Y9w should be a URL or a filename.
— Terence Eden (@edent) February 17, 2015
The Internet is broken – let’s throw it out and start again.