Want to register something.new? You can, but there’s a catch.An Austin company has launched something like an “alternative root” for domain names.
Authenticated Reality is launched “The New Internet“, a service that allows people to register any domain name they want on both the left and right side of the dot.
The catch is that these domain names will only work for people that use the company’s software when they browse the web.
Alternative domain name structures are not new. A well-known example is new.net, a company that offered alternative top level domain name endings and required users to use a browser plugin to access them.
The only way to make an alternative root work is to gets tens of millions (hundreds?) to use the software. Companies have previously tried to strike deals with ISPs to hijack the DNS in this way, but the reality is the domain name system as we know it works quite well.
Only once there’s critical mass does it make sense for site operators to register these domains. And then, the alternative root has to convince people to type these domain names into their browsers rather than just use search.
Authenticated Reality says that it will not censor domains, and suggests that ICANN has done so with Dotgay LLC’s application to run .gay. (In reality, ICANN has no issue with there being a .gay. It’s Dotgay LLC that has held up the extension from being offered by challenging the other applicants. Ironically, Dotgay LLC wants to censor what can be hosted on .gay.)
People can register a domain name in the system that match their existing domain.
They can also register existing domains owned by others that are parked. Chris Ciabarra, co-founder of Authenticated Reality, told Domain Name Wire that these domains can be activated on The New Internet and the buyers can resell them, splitting profits with Authenticated Reality.
Of course, having one domain name resolve to different sites depending on your browser will cause more confusion, whereas Authenticated Reality’s stated goal is to bring authentication to the internet.
The other big hook of The New Internet is that everyone will be authenticated. The company believes that a lack of authentication is a big issue with the internet today, pointing to fake news as an example.
People that use the company’s browsing software can comment on any website, and their identity will be fully public.
It’s a clever idea, but I question if people are willing to jump through the rather invasive steps to be authenticated. The company apparently has a slick, fast authentication scheme, but it requires scanning your driver’s license. If anything, it seems that internet users are asking for more privacy these days, not less. Hence the hoopla in the past couple days about Congress voting to roll back protections against ISPs selling your browsing data.
I think Authenticated Reality has some cool ideas, and its verification technology sounds neat. But its idea for alternative domain names is misguided.