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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    Unclassifiable (rare) We're the Dot in .Stupid
    posted by michael on Saturday February 16 2002, @12:27PM

    jberryhill writes "Sometimes one has to be careful to identify satire, or one runs the risk of being taken seriously. Apparently, the proposal for ICANN to regulate permissible file names on computers, posted here some weeks ago has indeed been taken up.

    A statement by ICANN's IDN committee now declares: The ICANN IDN Committee strongly recommends against the introduction of Internet keyword services that utilize the period, or dot ("."), as the separator between the different name segments. The reason for this recommendation is apparently in fulfillment of ICANN's mission as a consumer protection agency to prevent computers from causing people to be confused. For example, when a consumer looks at an address like:


    the consumer may mistakenly conclude that because the address ends in ".htm", it follows that ".htm" is a top-level domain."

    Go ahead, try the experiment yourself. Show that address to ten people and ask them "Which are the last three letters after the dot in that address?" My survey results indicate so far that ".htm" is the overwhelming response among users of average sophistication.

    The problem is that there is no ".htm" top-level domain, and ICANN is concerned that people using these file name extensions will generate user confusion, stating "In the face of user complaints, government agencies might consider such confusion to have consumer protection implications." Indeed, if the monarch of some dictatorial regime were to order the death of someone running an addressing system, that would indeed be something that ICANN should act now to prevent. It is certainly a more pressing priority for ICANN than some of the minor requirements, such as providing secure escrow of registration data, which have little to do with internet stability.

    You can see this in action on your own computer. For example, if you type such filenames as "file.doc", "file.txt", "file.jpg" into the address bar of your browser, then your browser will retrieve any such files in the current working directory, and will display them to you. You might then be fooled into believing these were actual top-level domains. A recent virus operated on this principle by sending out an executable ".com" file as an attachment to an email message, and causing people to run it by fooling them into believing it was actually an internet address ending in ".com". Hence, the first step here should be to take action against Microsoft and other companies which disguise executable files with the ".com" extension. However, since ".com" files existed prior to ".com" addresses, the simpler approach would be to eliminate ".com" as a top-level domain, and then to simply re-assign all such addresses to something along the lines of one of the spectacularly popular new TLD's, like ".sounds-better-than-iii".

    The IDN committee recommends "that no preference ever be given in the future to top-level domain proposals from companies that have offered keywords in a dotted format identical to the top-level domain string they seek." Clearly, we should round up a group of volunteers to compile a list of companies and their confusing "dot" extensions to aid in this effort. For example, Adobe has been promoting the use of ".pdf", Microsoft has been promoting the use of ".doc", and so on. These file types, which are accessible through browser address bars have generated enough confusion already.

    Finally, I hope that ICANN has the good sense to recognize that users may also simply type IP addresses into browser address bars, which could lead a consumer to believe that there are top-level domains such as .123 and .255. Obviously, ICANN needs to immediately require people to stop using IP addresses which end in a dot followed by three numbers.

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  • proposal for ICANN to regulate permissible file names on computers
  • The ICANN IDN Committee strongly recommends against the introduction of Internet keyword services that utilize the period, or dot ("."), as the separator between the different name segments.
    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    We're the Dot in .Stupid | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 7 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: We're the Dot in .Stupid
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Saturday February 16 2002, @01:54PM (#4899)
    User #2810 Info
    Yes, I thought ICANN's latest modest proposal was a real knee.slapper. Unfortunately there is prior art in this area and the earlier attempt actually had a trademark on the punctuation, how ICANN missed duplicating that aspect of the satire with all their hangers on is a real poser.

    Still, it is heartening to know that from one meeting to the next ICANN can seamless integrate its topics du jour and go from protecting us from murderous terrorists to fearlessly confronting the latest scourge: dotsquatters.

    In answer to Bret Fausett's query, one might want to check out walid.com, and their patent. This joke could be improved somewhat if ICANN winds up hoisted on its own IPetard. Will write on the more serious side of this when I stop laughing. So many angles to fit on the end of a pin prick. -g

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    This is Silly
    by bwfinch on Thursday February 21 2002, @11:00AM (#4996)
    User #3224 Info
    The post that is, not ICANN's recommendation.

    I'm not trying to troll here, but c'mon. Where's the editorial integrity? If you give the recommendation in question even the most cursory of reviews you'll see that it's recommending that Internet keywords not use "dot" separators.

    If you don't know the difference between an Internet keyword service and a filename in a URL then you aren't qualified to comment on the recommendation.

    If you do know the difference, then you should be able to tell that the recommendation is a sound one that will avoid conflicts between existing keyname services and possible future extensions to the DNS.

    I can't imagine that the editors of ICANN Watch couldn't make this obvious distinction and thus I am left to believe that either

  • The link to the ICANN recommendation wasn't read at all and the story was posted simply because it bashed ICANN, without bothering to make even the most cursory checks as to its accuracy.
  • or

  • The link was checked, but the story was posted anyway, regardless of the fact that it misrepresented the ICANN recommendation and fostered misinformation.

  • Frankly, I think ICANN Watch's readership deserves an explanation.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Monday February 18 2002, @07:09AM (#4937)
    User #2810 Info
    How do you figure that? They don't mention .web at all.

    It will be mentioned eventually. ICANN's claim of manifest dotstiny doesn't define keywords. It says that a keyword matching *.* is potentially encroaching on their territory. Right now that seems like a position that will further sink xtns.net. But what is the practical difference to consumers between an xtns dotted keyword and an alt root plugin which resolves *.web? Not much. In a future gTLD application round I can see competitors to IOD for .web (Afilias? Tucows? Konrad Plankenstein?) pointing this out.

    ICANN's position is either poorly thought out or devious. Standard ICANN operating procedure, most everything they do is either incompetent or corrupt. -g

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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