ICANN to allow commercial gTLDs

Fred Baker fred at cisco.com
Fri Jun 17 17:29:08 CDT 2011

On Jun 17, 2011, at 2:33 PM, David Conrad wrote:

> On Jun 17, 2011, at 11:23 AM, Jay Ashworth wrote:
>>>> http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/06/17/202245/
>>> You just learned about this now?
>> In fact I did.  I certainly haven't seen it mentioned on NANOG in the last 6 
>> months or so; where should I have seen it?
> New TLDs have been discussed now for over a decade.  Press (both technical and popular) on ICANN activities have ratcheted up significantly recently, particularly with the approval of .XXX (which was recently discussed here on NANOG: http://mailman.nanog.org/pipermail/nanog/2011-March/034488.html). Not blaming/accusing, just surprised this would be a surprise. I guess I've been living in the layer9 cloud too long....

Yes. Since ICANN was formed, they have periodically come to the IETF to ask how many TLDs we thought the system could support. On the basis of the SLD count (if example.com is a domain name and ".com" is a TLD, "example" is an SLD) within recognized gTLDs like .com, I would have to say that a properly maintained database can handle a very large number of names in a flat name space. That said, that does not imply that the DNS should be replaced with a flat namespace; there's this "scaling" thing that competent people think about.

What I told them, periodically, as IETF Chair, was that the number of TLDs in the network was largely a business discussion. If a potential TLD came forth with a business plan that made sense, fine, and if the business plan didn't pencil out, there was no sense in adding the TLD. Given the number of times they asked, that wasn't a satisfactory response; they wanted a number.

In this case, I would look at it this way. Imagine that ICANN wanted to go into the business of selling SLDs in competition with .com etc. How would they go about it? There are two obvious ways: they could create a new TLD such as ".icann" and sell names like "example.icann". Or, the could start selling TLDs on the open market. The really nice thing from their perspective would be that they don't need to maintain the database, bandwidth, or putzpower needed to supply the service - they already have a set of root zone operators that have volunteered to do so. So, they make money on the names and deliver the service for free.

Pencils out for them, I suppose.

> Regards,
> -drc

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