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[wg-b] URGENT: Moratorium on all additions to confusing GTLDs and ccTLDs Required.

November 19, 1999

To the ICANN Board of Directors, The entire ICANN Membership, the DNSO, the 
General Assembly, Working Group C, all other Working Groups, and to 
everyone, everywhere concerned about allowing the Internet to realize its 
fullest potential;

A Proposal for an Immediate Moratorium on the Addition of any New
gTLDs or ccTLDs; and a Proposal to Restructure the current TLD system.
by Matthew Hooker. Webmaster@Net-Speed.com, matthooker@hotmail.com

I, Matthew Hooker, am an active participant in the General Assembly,
as well as Working Groups C and B. I am a recent arrival to this process, 
having joined  at the beginning of the recent November 1999 meetings in Los 

I have found that there is a tremendous push, to approve new gTLD,s
as quickly as possible, and as many as possible. This push is due
to ideological, political or financial interests that have nothing
to do with the real interests of the Internet as a whole. I am
calling for an immediate moratorium of the approval of new
gTLDs. This issue needs to have much more debate, with a much greater
public participation. This debate needs to be publicized.

I will summarize my arguments below as to why no new gTLDs should be
allowed, as well as my proposal to consider a restructuring of the
entire gTLD and ccTLD system, which has already become somewhat of a
free-for-all, and is leading (should more TLDs be introduced) to chaos
and anarchy.

In short, I want the Internet to be all things to all people, but most
importantly, I want to see an Internet that allows for easy, fast and
clear and understandable interaction by humans, among humans and for

Some potentially fatal mistakes have already been made that I believe
need to be corrected if the Internet is to reach its full potential.

I realize that many of you reading this have already made up your minds that 
you will favor the introduction of new TLDs, and believe that you have heard 
all of the arguments before. Please reconsider. I believe what I will 
present here is a compelling argument to allow no new TLDs, and indeed 
restructure the present system. This argument has nothing whatsoever to do 
with registries, for-profit or not; it has nothing ideological, financial or 
political about it. It is for the greater good of the Internet as a whole 
and humans everywhere.

At the ICANN, DNSO and working group meetings this November in Los
Angeles, I was accused, by those I discussed this with, of the following 
errors, which I will rebut: being on the "dark side!", wanting to turn the 
Internet into a directory, wanting to preserve the current power structure, 
wanting to preserve my own financial self interests. (Yes, I own a number of 
web sites and domain names which I am developing into web sites and 

I heard many arguments by those supporting more TLDs like: "in every
revolution there is an overthrow of the existing ruling class", "the
Internet is controlled by big business and the introduction of new
TLDs is the only way to change this", "there is too much domain
speculation and we must introduce new TLDs to reduce or eliminate
this", "there are no more good domain names available", and "we should
introduce new TLDs to make more available. Many of the people in
favor of introducing new TLDs favor an unlimited number of them.
Regardless of your opinion regarding the veracity of these statements,
the point is that these statements have nothing to do with the real
issue that I am addressing: A structure for the Domain Name Service
( DNS ) that allows for clear and easy human usage of the Internet.

The DNS is supposed to make the Internet human-friendly or
user-friendly. Unfortunately, the incorrect implementation of a
good idea has led to a confusing and hard to use Internet, which
requires the use of "search engines" and "directories" that are
very complex, most often don't give the user what they want, and
take a lot of time to use. Although some may say this current system
"works", it doesn't work nearly as well as it could or should.

The current system of ccTLDs also has served to severely limit the
potential and ease of use of the Internet. The Internet can be a truly
global, easy to use community. It can be all things to all people.
If text or voice are used to communicate, then the only boundaries
should be those of language, and machine translation will soon
eliminate this boundary. Instead of creating such a truly global
community, we have, with the ccTLDs simply extended the status quo
of current national, political boundaries to the Internet - the one
place which could be above all national and political borders and
boundaries. So, instead of having just 1 global Internet, we really
have over 250, and many people want to increase this number! Instead
of having 1 common place where everyone can form a community, we have
hundreds. Thus for a Spanish speaking person, there are over 20 Internets in 
the Spanish language - corresponding to the national/political boundaries 
and ccTLDs. For the English speaker, not only are there the various 
english-speaking ccTLDs, but there are also the .COM, .NET and .ORG, with a 
huge push to add 6 to 10 more for a "test period" leading to hundreds more! 
Just as bad is the fact that these three gTLDs are supposed to be used for 
different types of businesses or web sites, whether they be for-profit, 
Internet-related, or non-profit; yet these is no way to enforce this rule, 
so the rule or guideline means nothing. How absurd.

Instead of bringing the world together, these gTLD and ccTLD extensions are 
separating it, mostly for the sake of more money to be made and issues of 
control. In addition, there are now a potential of over 250 homes or web 
sites for any given name, whether it be "Sony" or "GreatCars" or 
"VirtualOffice." This is extremely confusing, and does not lead to human 
ease of use, but to chaos.

Ideally there should be just 1 way to find "Sony" or "GreatCars" or
"VirtualOffice", to take 3 examples. Why? So humans can use the Internet 
quickly, easily and understandably, without the usage of bots, search 
engines, etc. One of the members of the Names Council responded to my 
argument with "let the search engines do it" (referring to finding a site or 
some information for a user). However this is not the best way.

Search engines should not be required for a user to go to Sony's site. In 
addition, search engines, which will have to be used, of course, for many 
things, and which can provide an excellent service and function, are 
for-profit businesses with agendas of their own. Obviously there will be one 
"Sony" and one "GreatCars" in each language. This is as it should be, for a 
common language is necessary for comprehension or communication at the 
present time. But there should only be 1 in each language, otherwise 
confusion sets in. Adding any new TLDs will make this situation even worse.

Many ccTLDs are being used globally, so the problem is getting worse by the 
month. For those interested in adding new gTLDs, I would respond that there 
already are many of them, and at least dozens more to come: the ccTLDs 
which, of course also can function as gTLDs. A partial current list of 
ccTLDs acting as gTLDs:

- .NU - this means "nude in French and Portuguese, and "now" in Swedish, and 
some other Scandinavian languages, and "in a jiffy" in German, just to name 
a few. It is also being used as a general gTLD.

- .MD - this is being used for medical related sites for english speakers.

- .TO - this is being used as a general gTLD. It also has meanings in
several languages.

- .AM - this is being used for radio and music sites.

- .ID - I spoke with a member from Indonesia who informed me that big plans 
were underway to market this ccTLD as a gTLD for information or

How long before other ccTLDs with extensions that have a meaning in one or 
more languages are used globally? There are already hundreds of approved 
gTLDs among the ccTLD's. To add more is absurd, confusing and leads to more 

The aspect of the Internet that has the most to do with almost all users is 
the name associated with a web site. We humans use names, not numbers, and 
that is why a particular name should not be duplicated on the internet.

Having "extensions" like .MD, .COM, .NET, .ID, ... only makes things more 
confusing, and web sites more difficult to find for humans. The addition of 
more gTLDs like .firm, .shop, etc will make things far worse for humans. We 
humans remember a name, not a name plus an extension. It is easy to remember 
GreatCars, to use a random example, and to remember what the name means, and 
what going to that site will give one. These three items are what, to the 
vast majority of people, the Internet should do. Obviously, the Internet can 
and will do and be much more than this, but these three functions are 
necessary, and easy to achieve. To have to remember and differentiate 
between GreatCars.com, GreatCars.net, GreatCars.org, GreatCars.nu,
GreatCars.to, GreatCars.ID, GreatCars.co.uk, and any other extensions, of 
which there are more all the time, is too difficult to do for humans, and 
defeats a primary purpose of the Internet, and leads to confusion.

To add a .firm, .shop, .biz, etc. will only make the matter much worse. (I 
use GreatCars as a random example and have no connection with it (or should 
I say them! - my point exactly!) whatsoever, nor do I even know of its 


I would like to rebut a few opposing arguments before I explain how we can 
improve the current system.

The argument that there are no more available good domain names, so we 
should add new gTLDs. Adding new gTLDs will only serve to confuse the user 
and make it harder for the user to find what they are looking for. Using our 
example, in addition to GreatCars, there can also be FineCars, SuperCars, 
GoodGars, BestCars, FastCars, HotCars, GreatNewCars, GreatUsedCars, 
GreatCarsOnSale, GreatCarsNow, GreatAutos, GreatJeeps, GreatAutomobiles, 
GreatVehicles... the list goes on and on... also: LosAngelesGreatCars, 
GreatCarsLA, GreatCarsNY, GreatCarsLondon, GreatCarsBombay, ... There are
enough english combinations of potential auto sites for everyone. True, 
there is only one exact "GreatCars", and if that is the name you want, then 
buy it. If you can't afford it, find another name, but not another 
"GreatCars" that will only serve to confuse the public and users.

The argument that registrars won't be able to make money on new TLDs.
Too bad. The Internet being all that it can be, and reaching its potential, 
is more important.

Obviously, it is going to be difficult, because of existing parties, with 
their own interests, to bring the DNS system back to where it should be - 
just 1 truly global internet. But this is possible to do, and in a later 
e-mail  I will address and provide a solution to this task. Impossible is 
not part of my vocabulary.

For the moment, however, it is imperative that we not give in to a small 
group of people who have selfish political, financial or ideological 
agendas, and who wish to add more gTLDs to the already confusing, and ever 
increasing amount and range of TLD being used.

We must put an immediate moritorium on the addition of any new gTLDs.
There is no consensus in Working Group C. I am adamently opposed to any more 
TLDs. I believe I am not the only one. This, and other working groups have 
been operating without any real public participation or publicity, and the 
stakes are too high for this to remain so.

The ability of the Internet to reach its full potential depends on us
allowing it to have a structure that can best enable human use. We have 
already gone far in the wrong direction, and adding more TLDs will increase 
the problem. Let's put a stop to all this, and then give ourselves some time 
to fomulate a plan to correct the errors which have been made.

For the sake of the Internet,

Matt Hooker

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