On November 16, 2000, the board of directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, (ICANN) announced its selection of the new Top Level Domains (TLDs).
What is ICANN
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was created in October 1998 by a coalition of Internet communities. This coalition comprised of businesses, technical, academic, and user communities. ICANN is being given the responsibilities for a set of technical functions that were till then being performed by IANA and other groups under contract of the US Government.
ICANN is responsible for coordination in the assignment of the identifiers that are required to be globally unique for the Internet to function. These identifiers are “Internet domain names”, “protocol parameter and port numbers” and “Internet Protocol address numbers”. In addition to this, ICANN also coordinates the stable operation of the Internet’s root server system.
The Domain Name System (DNS)
Every site on the Internet has a unique number identifying it. This number is the IP address of the site and is required to access any site. The most common representation of this IP number is the dotted quad number of the format xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx. By knowing this IP number of any site, it is possible to reach the site. However, considering that there are millions of web sites on the Internet, remembering this IP number is not very easy.
To overcome this problem, a naming convention was devised where specialized servers called Domain Names System (DNS) were used to convert registered names, called Domain Names such as www.pawaia.com, into their corresponding IP numbers. This eliminated the need to remember difficult IP numbers but rather just remember easy names. The DNS server keeps track of the name and its corresponding IP number.
The domain name system uses a hierarchical naming scheme known as domain names and is similar to a tree. Each computer on the Internet is called a node. At the root of the DNS tree is a special node with a null label. The name of each node (except root) has to be up to 63 characters. The domain name of any node in the tree is the list of labels, starting at that node, working up to the root, using a period (“dot”) to separate the labels (individual sections of a name might represent sites or a group, but the domain system simply calls each section a label ).
The old Top Level Domains (TLDs)
In the above example of the domain name (www.pawaia.com), the name contains three labels “www”, “pawaia” and “com”. Any suffix of a domain is also called a domain. So for the above example, the lowest domain is www.pawaia.com. The next level domain is pawaia.com and the highest level or the top level domain is com.
Every computer on the Internet must have a unique domain name, but the same label can be used at different points in the name.
The top-level domains are divided into three areas:
arpa is a special domain used for address-to-name mapping
The seven 3-character domain names [generic (organizational) domains]. .com used by commercial organizations .edu used by educational institutions .gov used by government institutions .mil used by military groups .net used by major network support centers .org used by organizations other than those above .int used by international organizations
The 2-character domains are based on the country codes. These are called the country (the geographical) domains such as .uk, .ca, .in.
Why is there a need for new TLDs
As the reach and usage of the Internet has grown, so has the number of people and organization wanting to have a presence on the web. This meant that more and more domain names were being registered. Accordingly the number of domains being registered rose to nearly 11,000,000 in the first half of 2000. [Source: http://www.dotcom.com/facts/quickstats.html]
With such huge demands, we are now running out of names in the available TLDs. In order to allow more names to be registered, new TLDs were required and these have now been announced.
The new Top Level Domains are .aero to be used by the Air-transport industry. This was applied for by Societe Internationale de Telecommunications Aeronautiques SC, (SITA) .biz to be used by Businesses. This was applied for by JVTeam, LLC (now known as NeuLevel) .coop to be used by Cooperatives. This was applied for by National Cooperative Business Association, (NCBA) .info to be used by the Unrestricted use. This was applied for by Afilias, LLC .museum to be used by the Museums. This was applied for by Museum Domain Management Association, (MDMA) .name to be used by the For registration by individuals. This was applied for by Global Name Registry, LTD .pro to be used by the Accountants, lawyers, and physicians. This was applied for by RegistryPro, LTD
Registration of these domains should be available soon. Some registering organizations have already started announcing pre-registering of domains in the new TLDs. However, according to ICANN, no one has been authorized to pre-register the domain names in the new TLDs and any efforts by persons to pre-register will be at their own risk and there is no assurance that they will be assigned the new names.
These new TLDs should again allow people to register names that they had missed earlier but it can be safely said that these names would not remain available for long once the registration of these TLDs starts.
The most popular TLD at present is the .com TLD and will probably continue to be so even when the new TLDs are made available. What remains to be seen is if any of these new TLDs will be able to gain as much popularity as the .com domain.
Puneet Pawaia is a software developer and also the
web-master of Puneet Pawaia’s India Internet Resource
(http://www.pawaia.com) A site listing Indian ISPs,
CyberCafes in India, Hosting providers in India, Indian