Where do new domain suffixes come from? Why are there so few domain suffixes (also called domain extensions) – and why does my grandmother, who just wants to post pictures from her vacation, have to call herself a “dot.com?”
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the internet’s chief oversight agency and the group that gets to decide upon “top-level domain” suffixes, has approved a few new domain suffixes – but only “dot.info” and “dot.biz” have been widely available for private use.
If you’re a school, you can register a web site with the domain extension “dot.edu” (which stands, of course, for “education.”) If you’re an organization and you want people to know you are not a commercial operation, you might prefer “dot.org.”
Then there’s the mysterious domain suffix “dot.net,” used by both businesses and organizations who found their preferred “dot.com” name had already been taken another business or organization. There are more than 20 million domains registered using the “dot.com” suffix, and there can only be one “something.com.” The first one to purchase that domain name gets to use it. Therein lies the problem.
New domain suffixes and you
Sooner or later, everybody in the civilized world will need a little piece of cyberspace to call their own. Your web presence will be the way you interface with the world, the place you collect your mail (Oh, are you doing that already?), get your phone calls and promote your interests. It will be where people find you.
But what will you call it? Can your own name be a domain name? That depends. You might find miroslavwoscjewiecz.com is still available, but if you’re John Smith, no such luck. (And if your surname is Google, you’ve got real problems.) You can try registering a “dot.name” domain name, although all the more common surnames have been gobbled up.
One international company has started selling “.ws” web sites; the “ws” stands for (you guessed it!) “web site.” It once stood for the tiny island nation of West Samoa, which graciously agreed to make it available to the world because that country’s 200,000 inhabitants don’t use computers as much as we do here in the U.S.
The new domain suffixes of tomorrow
Oh, there will be other suffix-come-latelys some day. The ICANN approved “dot.xxx” for porn sites a couple of years ago. Of course, that won’t help my grandmother.
But the last time I checked, Granny.ws was still available.
About The Author
Kimberley Jace is a connoisseur of domain names and a freelance provider of internet services; learn more about the domain suffix her grandmother favors at www.jumpinanywhere.com. This article is copyrighted and may be reprinted only if used in its entirety with this paragraph attached.