US Domain -- County Delegations

Nicolas Williams nmw at
Fri Jul 28 05:35:51 UTC 1995

Paul A Vixie previously wrote:

>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

One doesn't need a two-level domain name to help make a small business
look bigger.

>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.

What sort of horseshit is this? Listen, domain names _have_ value. You
can't avoid it. But there's the problem of crowded name spaces, which is
not an impossible challenge technically speaking, but which limits the
choices of names that those who don't have one yet can get.

The solution? Create various domains at various levels, make contracts
for the right to register a name under one of these domains, and sell
the contracts in the open market. The larger companies are the ones that
will be able to _afford_ the two-level names; there's no need to verify
money! [Well, ok, you have to make sure the money ain't fake, but that's
easy :)]

Think about it: if IBM wants IBM.COM, rather than IBM.COM.NY.US, then
let them buy the right to register a name in the .COM hierarchy, but
they should pay more for that than for a name in the COM.NY.US.
Seriously, in the long run, many services will be tradeable as
comodities in futures markets; I know people who are trying to do this
now with bandwidth, and hell, there are people making small fortunes by
charging to register and "hold" domain names for others. Yet we still
have a lousy excuse for a NIC that _DOES NOT_ charge for its services!!!
Get with it. Capitalism, it'll fix the problem at hand. Anyways, yes,
what I propose does have one sticky point: who should charge for the
registration services and what is to be done with that money; any


>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.

The damn governments haven't even gotten into any of this folks! And
there's nothing wrong with two-level names so long as people can still
come up with unique two-level names; it is quite feasible to have domain
name servers for hundreds of thousands of names in one hierarchy, those
who say it isn't are either lazy or incompetent or don't know what they
are talking about (and I'm talking about good, reliable, fast servers
here). It is the fact that it gets hard to find the name you want not
taken when you have hundreds of thousands of names in one hierarchy that
will force us away from the current system.

And BTW, me and my business partner were looking for a domain name for a
soon to be business we want to start, and quickly found that our first
four choices of a name were already taken. That is the future unless we
do something about it.

>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.)

Anyways, there aren't that many businesses, and not a significant
fraction of the 260e6 + people in the US are likely to try to register
domains of their own: the vast majority will be happy enough with a
mailbox on someone else's domain (like, their ISP's, as they do now; we
may have 30e6 users on the net, but the number of domains registered to
American individuals + American companies is orders of magnitude

There's no need to introduce some sort of communism of the net and talk
about "anihilating" the value of names. Please, the thought turns my


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