Structure: New Top Level Domains, Part 2
In 2002, the president of ICANN indicated that a second round of new TLDs might be upcoming, this time limited to sponsored TLDs, as this variety has apparently had the least problems of the different types of TLDs (though the actual complete evaluation which was supposed to occur regarding the "proof-of-concept" TLD launch has yet to be completed). Various groups have been agitating for them, including the travel industry for .travel and the mobile telephone industry for .mobile, .mob, or .m. Meanwhile, some people have noticed that a .root domain has mysteriously appeared in the root servers, containing exactly one second-level name: vrsn-end-of-zone-marker-dummy-record.root. Was this some kind of secret test? Nobody seemed to know for sure.
At any rate, an announcement in early 2004 showed the Internet public who the next group of eager applicants was:
It looks like .mobi is the mobile-phone domain under application -- makes me think of Moby Dick. And you've got two competing applications for .tel for telephone-related uses. (One of them seems to duplicate the concept of ENUM, already being implemented in a .arpa subdomain.) .mail relates to e-mail (an anti-spam scheme consisting of getting domain holders to register a corresponding subdomain of .mail like example.net.mail to be used by mail servers), while .post relates to "snail mail" (being a domain for postal-related entities). .asia seems to be a regional TLD; Europe already managed to get one (.eu) as a pseudo-country-code. Does .jobs really need its own TLD? When you're seeking jobs at a particular company, you can go to its normal corporate site and look for a "Jobs" link; would the existence of SomeCorp.jobs in place of or in addition to jobs.SomeCorp.com actually be much help? (Or is that TLD just being created to give a vanity address to Apple Computer co-founder steve.jobs?) .cat is not for online felines, but for the Catalan language and culture. I hear that the Caterpillar heavy-equipment company is cyberzerk about stopping all other uses of those three letters online, so will they sue whoever gets that TLD?
See the public comments on the ICANN site.
In October, 2004, it was announced that .post and .travel were moving forward toward likely approval. In December, .mobi and .jobs were added to this list. In 2005, .cat and .xxx were approved. The other applications are still in limbo (neither accepted or rejected), and some might resurface in the open-ended new TLD round of 2010.
.post -- for post offices and postal systems
The US Postal Service doesn't even use their current proper top level domain, .gov, preferring the improper .com. So how is anybody going to get post offices around the world to line up to use this new domain?
The proposed naming scheme is a bit complex, with some types of entities expected to register third-level names, while others get second-level names but they must end in a dash and a special code of some sort (e.g., country codes). So why not make those third-level domains instead of imposing a "faux-structure" via hyphens?
Unlike some of the others in this round, this one is still in limbo as of 2009.
.travel -- for travel-related entities
Will presumably be the same roaring success .aero is.
As of mid-2005, .travel had been added to the root, and was about to begin its startup phase. The launch completed, and some .travel sites occasionally turn up in tourism ads, but it still lacks a particularly high profile.
.mobi -- for mobile-phone-enabled sites
If sites made proper use of HTTP content-type negotiation, there wouldn't be a need for a separate address system for mobile sites. Also, many sites use naming conventions with subdomains, such as m.example.com. However, some .mobi sites are in use for their intended purpose. The evolution of phones like the iPhone into something close to full-functioned Internet terminals makes the need for separate mobile sites much less than it used to be, however.
.jobs -- for job-related sites
The way it's supposed to work is that a company registers its corresponding .jobs domain (e.g., ibm.jobs) for its personnel site aimed at those seeking employment with that company. This would be done more logically with a subdomain like jobs.ibm.com, but then the registries, registrars, and ICANN wouldn't make any money on it. On the other hand, companies don't seem to like to be logical with their job-site URLs, preferring Stupid Unnecessary Domain Names™ like [CompanyName]jobs.com; it's questionable whether it's any easier to persuade them to use a new .jobs domain than to use a logical subdomain of their existing domain.
As of mid-2005, .jobs has been added to the root, and it underwent its startup phase soon afterward.
Although this domain is supposedly just for job sites by company name rather than in generic categories, one of the few active sites soon after its start was at katrina.jobs, for job postings aimed at survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
.cat -- for sites related to the Catalan language and culture
.xxx -- for adult-entertainment sites
May be the most likely of this whole batch to get actual use if launched... online porn seems to take over a lot of the other new TLDs anyway. However, any thoughts of making use of this domain mandatory for adult entertainment would run into legal and constitutional problems, as well as the impossibility of defining "adult" sites in a manner that is agreeable to people worldwide of all political, religious, and moral persuasions.
This one, despite getting initial approval from ICANN, ran into political snags, as opposition has surfaced from every direction, from anti-porn crusaders to parts of the adult-entertainment industry itself, and the U.S. government, which still controls the root, came out against it. This made it uncertain that it would ever be implemented, and it has had a long saga. First it was preliminarily approved by ICANN, then the approval was withdrawn, then it engaged in a lengthy appeal process which ultimately reversed that decision and led to its approval. As of 2011, it has finally entered the root, with an official site actually in its own domain.
This page was first created 21 Mar 2004, and was last modified 29 May 2011.