ICANN just voted to open up custom top level domains (TLD) of the internet to the highest bidder. These are currently an integral part of a web site address, .com, .org, .uk, etc. etc. They plan to charge at least $100,000 and you have to pass a ‘morality’ test to get one. Popular domains will go up for bidding.
This is a terrible idea.
First off, unlike the original ‘land-grab’ of the internet, back in the 90′s, most people cannot participate or benefit from this system. It’s mainly the big-players who can bid and make heaps of cash off this system.
Imagine for a minute, that you are youTube (google), and that you want the .video for www.youtube.video. However, some media speculator grabbed it up (and you missed the bidding process…). They can then turn around and charge you whatever they want for the .video TLD suffix.
Not to mention, what if you are metacafe, 5min, youporn, or even Digg video? You’re going to have to pay the ridiculous prices demanded by the .video owner.
This creates a virtual monopoly for whatever entity registers a particular TLD. That is the authority for a given industry. What about video production companies, video rental stores, or closed circuit video installation services? They will all have to pay the same exorbitant rate for a .video domain!
When it’s confined to categories (.com, .net) or trademarks (.coke), sure, custom TLD’s make sense. When you’re talking about an entire INDUSTRY (.video, .internet, .trade, .bank, .food, .shop, .book) then you give too much power and control to a single entity, which by definition:
1 : exclusive ownership through legal privilege, command of supply, or concerted action
2 : exclusive possession or control
3 : a commodity controlled by one party
is a monopoly.
In case anyone feels similarly upset by this, I have created a graphic to publicly acknowledge your outrage.
For being a non-profit entity, ICANN has certainly found a good way to enrich it’s coffers.
The only GOOD use of this, that I can forsee, is that some humanitarian registers something like .free, and gives away domain names for anyone who wants, and eliminates spam as much as possible.