Berners-Lee Opposes .mobi (and Others Too)
Date: Thursday May 20 2004, @07:08PM
Topic: sTLDs hoping to enter legacy root

Tim Berners-Lee, supported by the W3C Technical Advisory Group, argues that new TLDs -- and especially .mobi -- should not be created: New Top Level Domains Considered Harmful.

At some level of abstraction, it's surely right that using TLDs for search is far from optimal. But we live in a world where there are TLDs of all sorts, and Mr. Berners-Lee fails to discuss the costs of locking in first-mover advantages, and wrongly stacks the deck by excessive concern with the protecting the expectations of people who bought .com domains for big bucks.

The paper seems somewhat innocent of both standard branding practice and especially of ICANN's history, although it's hard to tell if that's genuine ignorance or posing above the fray. For example, the paper is based on the false assertion that if a company has it has a real need for example.tld. Many companies thought that at first, but there have been signs they are growing out of it. In any case, this isn't how trademarks work in the real world, where co-existence is common and there's no reason to think TLDs will or should work that way -- espeically if they are created in sufficiently large numbers to break any expectation of uniformity accross TLDs. I'm also dubious of the assertion -- one for which almost no evidence is offered -- that when a new TLD is created, "The cost of confusion, and of extra name registrations, is high". Oh yeah? Got data? The one datum offered is almost laughable -- the cost is not to users but to the TLD registrants! Berners-Lee argues that if you introduce more TLDs, the lucky first-movers will suffer: "Is it fair to reduce the value of these domains which have been acquired at great cost by their owners?" To which the answer is "YES! IT IS FAIR if they lose their monopoly rents!"

That said, there may be more virtue to the specific critique of .mobi -- maybe. If we are to be in the silly world where a Board of primarily techies is going to make social policy choices about fundamentally non-technical social and economic choices that would be better made by the market, maybe this is a choice to avoid for now.

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by GeorgeK on Friday May 21 2004, @09:21AM (#13631)
User #3191 Info |
For example, the paper is based on the false assertion that if a company has it has a real need for example.tld.

Ironically, ICANNWatch has the .com, .net AND .org all locked up. :)

I agree with Tim that .mobi would be a poor choice of a new TLD, especially due to the "device independence" section of the document.

Of all the proposed sTLDs, I think only .tel and .post have any strength (although, the implementation of them are still open to debate). I'd vote against all the rest as simply being too ugly and causing namespace pollution.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
by jimrutt on Wednesday May 26 2004, @01:19PM (#13644)
User #3264 Info

while the argument against .mobi has some merit, the more general attack on generic TLDs is considerably off base.

Only a handful of "famous marks" have the need to purchase the various gTLDs (and many of them already register many of the CCs where they can, dwarfing the issue of a few more gTLDs). Of course the costs associated would be negligible for players of that scale.

For the vast preponderance of the millions of domain name holders: private individuals, proto-companies, and small companies additional gTLDs provides a real opportunity for companies and people to get the exact name they want, which is often much more important than the TLD. For examples I have personally registered "" (heh heh!), and one of my small portfolio companies uses, irrespective that someone else has

That more gTLDs puts a miniscule tax (tell 'em to use godaddy, as I do these days!) on a few "famous marks" seems to me much less important than letting 10s of millions of individuals and small businesses and organizations get their best name.

I'm frankly surprised that TBL has swallowed the party line of the big boys at the expense of the real users of the Net.

===================== been there, done that
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Re:Note the .COM.COM
by dtobias ( on Friday May 21 2004, @06:02AM (#13629)
User #2967 Info |
Existing registrants are grandfathered, including "COM.COM" and "UK.COM".
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Re:Yet Another .ORG Debate, 99% of the People Igno
by dtobias ( on Friday May 21 2004, @06:09AM (#13630)
User #2967 Info |
Yeah, sure... the ACLU [], Christian Coalition [], American Cancer Society [], and Harry Potter fan site The Leaky Cauldron [] are all part of the same group of unsavory characters because of the .org in their Internet addresses.
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