Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been at or near the front of the line when it comes to securing new domains that are handed out periodically by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). A few months ago, thre was an announcement that ICANN would start to hand out new domains like ‘book,” “.read,” “.search,” etc. (We wrote about this before.) Google was one of the companies at the front of the line to try to lay claim to at least some of these domains, with Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) also creating headlines with its push.
ICANN had opened up a long list of dozens of new domain names to continue expanding the Internet universe, and that has even included allowing single-letter or single-number Web addresses. Now, after feedback from a couple of committees that report to ICANN, the latest push – dotless domains – are being rejected and may be ultimately rejected by ICANN istelf.
The significance of this is unknown right now, but Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) was apparently on the front of the line to get the “http://search” domain name should that be approved by ICANN – to go along with the “.search” domain that Google has been pursuing for a while. However, after reviewing how the Internet works and in trying to ensure the “stability” of the Intenet, the recommendation by a couple of committees – including a task force of Internet engineers – is for ICANN to reject the use of what are called dotless domains.
The main reason? User confusion. Dotless domains, the committees reported, are designed more for intranet use within a limited network; users of the network intranet that type in a dotless domain would be directed to a branch of the closed network. They would not be expecting to be directed to the Internet by typing in the dotless domain. Plus, as dotless domains are considered unreliable at this point, the committees and task forces charged with reviewing and testing the recommendations of ICANN decided there was too much risk to allow these domains into the hands of companies like Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).
Without Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) in the domain – at least, there would be no room in the “http://search” domain, what possible purspoe might Google have with owning a dotless domain like this?
In a letter, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) said it “intends to operate a redirect service on the ‘dotless’ search domain that, combined with a simple technical standard will allow a consistent query interface across firms that provide search functionality, and will enable users to easily conduct searches with firms that provide the search functionality that they designate as their preference.”
What it seems to neglect to mention, however, is the ulterior motive – if a dotless domain about search were to exist, this would mean that everyone who wanted to conduct a search could go to that domain and find what? Not only opportunities to conduct a search using an engine of choice (maybe), but chances are good that the traffic to a dotless and generic domain would be exposed to … oh, we don’t know … advertising, perhaps?