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

    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    XTNS offers new gTLDs (sort of) | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 127 comments | Search Discussion
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    by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Wednesday September 05 2001, @01:11AM (#2218)
    User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/
    The speculators don't make a unified front, though, since there are a bunch of different camps of them, depending on what they're speculating in. You can find representatives of all of these on the message boards:

    1) The "Dot-Com is King" crowd: They've invested heavily in .com names, most of them really silly, but maybe they've managed to grab a few pretty nice ones too. Still, they have little prospect of actually selling any of them in the weak market of today, but they can still dream, thinking constantly of the fact that some idiot actually paid millions of bucks for business.com (just before the market crashed). They're using the weak market as a chance to increase their domain hoard by grabbing some of the many names that are expiring due to other speculators giving up or Internet companies going defunct. This group is vehemently against all other TLDs besides .com, whether existing, new, or alternative, and thinks that anybody putting anything up on the Internet, commercial or not, is going to need a .com name (or a dozen) if they want to be "serious" about it. Don't even think about using .org (even if you're noncommercial), or using subdomains logically. Mr. Speculator will gladly sell you a matched set of 200 domain names with a common theme, including some 64-character names packed with keywords to supposedly get you way up in search engines (though I suspect the same effect, if indeed it really exists, can be achieved by use of long subdomains... but no registrar or speculator would profit from that).

    2) The other-TLD booster: Somebody who came in too late to find any decent .com names, and isn't crazy enough to make up the really stupid ones that some of the Group 1 speculators like to hoard. Instead, they've gone to .org, .net, .cc, .ws, etc., where there are much better pickings available. Now they need to do battle with the "Dot-Com is King" crowd to convince others that these names actually have some value. The value, of course, is not in using them for the logical purposes for which they were intended -- there's not much profit in non-profit organizations, there aren't all that many network infrastructure providers, and the population of the Cocos Islands and Western Samoa is rather small. But if these speculators can convince users, or at least other speculators, that one or more of these TLDs is the "Next Big Thing" for e-commerce after the dot-com crash, maybe they can get a sucker... er, I mean, a savvy investor, to buy a name or three.

    3) The new-TLD sunrise speculator. Somebody who's trying to corner the market in the names of any new TLD that's being added. They'll throw tons of money at the registrars submitting multiple pre-registrations for all the names they think will be valuable, and will get mad if the sunrise rules favor somebody else, like the trademark lobby. They'll bend or break any rules if they think they can get away with it, but they'll gleefully turn in their fellow speculators for breaking the rules if it might help them get a place in line for the names they want. As long as they think they might luck out and get good names in the new TLDs, they'll tout how they're the next big hot thing and how all the old TLDs are just not "with it" any more. If they lose the sunrise lottery and fail to get any good names, they'll immediately move into either Camp 1 or Camp 2 above, and start denouncing new TLDs as stupid and pointless. Meanwhile, Camp 3 will join forces with Camps 1 and 2 in denouncing any new TLDs that don't offer very good speculation possibilities, such as ones with highly limited registration criteria (.aero, .museum), or ones that only let you register at the third level (.name, .pro). That these names might provide a useful namespace is irrelevant.

    4) The "Alternative" crowd. There are many subspecies of this, rallying around various alternative roots or namespaces, from new.net to XTNS. Some of them have strident claims about how their favorite system was actually the first to create a namespace containing some particular string of letters in it, and hence should have permanent intellectual property rights to that string of letters in all electronic namespaces. Thus, they expect that someday either
    (a) ICANN will finally see things their way and approve the alternate TLD, preserving its existing registrations, or (b) ICANN will be forced by the courts or the government to recognize them, or (c) the ISPs of the world will move en masse to use the alternate root instead of ICANN's, or (d) everybody in the world will use a browser with alternative namespace support in it, even if it's not really part of the Internet's naming system... and then the speculators can get rich off of the great names they've managed to grab in this space before the general public even realized it existed!

    The interesting thing is that people in all of these camps have sometimes treated me like I'm on their side... when I take strong positions for or against various things, they often coincide with one or another of these factions, though for different reasons. They can each come up with some very good points in their bashing of everybody and everything that opposes them. But their own side is pretty weak too.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Speculators by dtobias

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