US Domain -- County Delegations

Paul A Vixie paul at
Fri Jul 28 02:56:35 UTC 1995

> [...] I wouldn't have bothered to bring this up, but someone mentioned
> using an intermediate hash on *all* .com's (, which is a
> waste of time.  Every extra level of address hurts a bit, and it makes
> sense that "really big" companies should have simple .com addresses.

That's sensible engineering practice and in other circumstances I would
applaud it.  However, we are not in a sensible engineering situation or
any other kind of sensible situation -- people, and especially lawyers
and marketeers are involved.

People currently worry about and choose domain names with the same kind
of intensity they experience when worrying about and choosing trademarks,
product names, company names, and logos.  The domain name is the "service
mark" of the 90's -- people "do business under it" and its easy recognition
by customers is considered valuable by the folks who steer multinational

Currently it is possible for a little company to look "just like" a big
company.  They all appear with the same .COM suffix, in the same whois
registries, and just as noone knows you are a dog, noone knows when they
see e-mail from you that you're just a one-person consulting shop or
whatever.  Witness the MTV.COM debacle, or find out which of the hundreds
of daily newspapers with "Examiner" in their name is registered as

We have _got_ to anhililate the value of these names.  There is no way on
god's green earth that a small company is going to allow themselves to be
put way down in a backwater while the more visible namespaces are available
to bigger companies.  These people will lie on their applications, they will
find out what the categorization criteria is and pretend to be something
they are not, they will cause the NIC and any other registries to spend a
great deal of time trying to verify this information, and ultimately when all
is said and done and they don't get what they want, they will _sue_ for
restraint of trade.

Everyone, large and small, has to be treated as equally as possible.  And
the domain names have to be quite a lot uglier than they are now, such that
the tendancy to register under .NET,.COM,.ORG,etc just to protect the company
name or trademark(s) will no longer bear useful fruit for those who do it.

That said, I am not in favour of making these names so long that they are
not usable.  Larger organizations tend to have deeper interior DNS trees,
and it would be Really Bad if we end up with four labels just to get from
the root to the organization, and another four levels to get from the root
of the organization to some host within the organization.  Perhaps this
indicates a need to make RFC1535 a _requirement_ for Internet hosts, so
that organizations can use search lists and partially qualified interior
names, thus isolating them from the organization's depth in the external
namespaces.  This feels like a slippery slope and I'm not sure I want to
pursue it just yet.

Two-label names don't scale.  Three-label names can be made to do so -- and
I would give in on the ".Hash." component of my previous proposal if I had
a good idea for a second-label that would cause full and healthy looking trees.
".State.US" has the advantage that the USDOMREG could ask the various state
governments to take responsibility for third-level registration, much as they
do for corporation names now.

I agree that once you're down into .City.State.US or .County.State.US, it is
no longer feasible for an organization with even a moderately deep interior
tree to register.  Six-label fully qualified names aren't usable since they
are no longer a syntactic improvement over raw addresses.  (They are a slight
semantic improvement, since they'll change less often.  I don't know yet 
whether that matters enough.)

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