Internet Board Says Dotless Domains Would Be ‘Harmful’

Google has generated a heated debate about the possibility of “dotless domains” in the future, a concept that has left regulation boards shaking their heads.

After applying for a .SEARCH top level domain name that could have seen web addresses like, the online giant made amendments to include a search domain without any extension.

The revised application outlined “a service that allows users to easily perform searches using the search functionality of their choice.”

“This service will operate on the “dotless” search domain name (http://search/) and provide a simple web interface.”

The major issue with this proposal is that it would pave the way for other dotless domains based on popular words or search terms. So people would then be able to buy the rights to domains like http://photos/ or http://money/ or http://help/.

In turn, these dotless domains would wreak havoc on the domain name market, potentially reducing the value of top level domain names and extensions, as well as causing confusion for people using the internet.

These issues have been raised by a number of companies, including Microsoft, which wrote a letter urging the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to reject the proposal.

“Dotless domains are currently used as intranet addresses controlled by private networks for internal use,” Microsoft’s corporate vice president of technology, David Tennenhouse wrote.

“Google’s proposed amendment would interfere with that private space, creating security vulnerabilities and impacting enterprise network and systems infrastructure around the globe.”

Backing up these objections are the thoughts of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), a committee of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), which said dotless domains are “inherently harmful to Internet security”.

“Since dotless domains will not behave consistently across various locations (and applications and platforms that may have different search list configuration mechanisms), they have the potential to confuse users and erode the stability of the global DNS,” the IAB said.

Following these formal objections, ICANN ruled against the use of dotless domains at the end of August 2013.

But the fact that Google decided to apply for this type of domain highlights just how far the online giant is willing to push the envelope.

It has also made others aware of what could be included in applications and reveals where domain names could head in the future (depending on the decisions ICANN makes).

Following these types of developments, then, helps keep you up-to-date on domain name developments so that you can make more informed decisions about what domains you buy now or in the future.

dtrade are domain name experts specialising in Sales, Acquisitions, IP Services and Consulting.


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