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Re: [wg-c] Re: nine principles for domain names
Philip Sheppard wrote:
> 1. We do believe that the assumption that all gTLDs will/should stand for
> something is valid.
Philip, this assumption is utterly meaningless. "Stand for something" to WHOM?
There is a group of Dutch activists that would like the TLD .xs4l. To them that
string is meaningful. ("excess for all") To someone in Korea it may not be. As a
trademark person I assume that you are familiar with the concept of "secondary
meaning." There are lots of putatively "meaningless" character strings (one
could say that .com is one of them) that can acquire significant meaning through
the investment of a business in creating that meaning, or simply through the
recognition of a community. The meaning can be an association with reputation,
quality, functionality, or any of a hundred other things.
What you really seem to be saying is that a small group of people should decide
for everyone else what is meaningful and what is not.
> The alternative is to not bother with a gTLD and use
> only the IP address.
The alternative is to let registries select the strings they want to operate and
do the work to vest those strings with meaning.
> 3. The reason for the semantics principle containing "meaningful with a
> significant number of net users" is intended to distinguish the global
> nature of a gTLD versus the ccTLD. A domain name with a less than
> significant number of net users would be better suited to a sub domain
> within a ccTLD or a language charter gTLD.
Again, this is just none of your business, or ICANN's business. The name space
is not scarce. TLDs do not have to be rationed out like water in the Sahara.
There can be regional TLDs, local TLDs, commercial and noncommercial, political
and cultural. ICANN is not in a better position than a free and open marketplace
to determine what is "meaningful" to net users. If TLDs are not needed they will
fail in the marketplace.
> 4. Findability. Net users today use a gTLD as a means of finding. Dot com,
> .edu, .mil are classifications and net users use classifications to find
Let's try to be accurate and a bit more sophisticated in our assessment of the
role of domain names in user searches. SOME net users, in a very limited set of
circumstances, will type in a name within a TLD and hope it leads them to the
site they want. You clearly have done no research on this and with respect to
user information-seeking behavior you are completely out of your league.
Primarily, top-level extensions help users to remember and recognize domain
names. They are not very useful as a way of guessing where a desired site is.
Only as a last resort are they used to find web sites. Just look at basic facts.
Over 60% of all the world's domains are in dot com. What, then, does the TLD
tell you when you are looking for a business? Nothing. In Europe, you don't know
whether it will be under a ccTLD or com. If its name is reasonably generic, as
most names are, you have no idea what form it will take as a SLD. Typing in
[guessedname].com is recognized by users as a last resort, and came in DEAD LAST
in our surveys as a searching technique.
From an e-commerce standpoint, the most important domain names are the domains
to which users return regularly. Those are the names people store or remember.
So again, the mnemonic character of the name, plus marketing, are what matters,
not the categorization scheme of the TLD space.
Answer me this: why would a business or non-commercial organization WANT to
operate a TLD registry if they didn't think the string was meaningful and they
didn't think anyone wanted to register within it? Can we not trust this simple
fact to determine what goes into the TLD space?
> It is the same for the ccTLDs.
If I am trying to find an organization in Africa, it is unlikely that I will
even know what the relevant ccTLD is, much less which SLD categorization
structure that country has adopted. The domain name structure itself provides
absolutely no help to me in finding that organization. I use a search engine or
Yahoo or link sites or business cards to find it.
By your logic, Philip, more than half of the world's country code TLDs shouldn't
exist, because they are not recognized by the vast majority of the worlds net
> This principle does not say there are
> not better ways of finding things (there are and we recognise there will be
> much better tools in the future) but it recognises the way net users use
No evidence supplied as to "how net users use gTLDs." Indeed, the logic breaks
down entirely. Suppose we create a new ".bank" TLD tomorrow. What will this tell
me about where to find a bank on the Internet? Very little. Most of the banks
have already registered in dot com, banks in foreign countries have registered
under country codes, many of the country codes have non-standardized SLD
categorization schemes that are not guessable to many users.
The simple fact is that if you want domain names to be a classification and
findability tool, you don't need new TLDs at all. You can just create your own
classification scheme under dot com, a country code, or any other TLD.