Inventor of world wide web opposed to introduction of new TLDs.
In 2004, prior to the approval and release of the .mobi top level domain name, Tim Berners-Lee wrote a paper explaining the dangers of the introduction of new top level domain names. George Kirikos recently discovered the paper and summarized it in comments to ICANN for its new top level domain proposal. Kirikos’ summary and comments are below, but you can also read Berners-Lee’s entire paper here.
(The quotes are from Berners-Lee’s paper, the comments below them are by Kirikos.)
1) “The tree structure was an improvement over the previous flat space of host
names. It reduced the chaos, by allowing new names to be allocated in
sub-domains without recourse to a central registration system.”
A world of infinite top level domains goes backwords to a flat space, instead
of a tree structure, and would be a step backwards and not an improvement.
2) “There have been temptations for the registry companies to consider
themselves owners of unclaimed names.”
Indeed, ICANN seems to want to institutionalize this, through bad policy, by
auctioning entire gTLDs to the highest bidder.
3) “And because the DNS tree is so fundamental to the Internet applications
which build on top of it, any uncertainty about the future creates immediately
instability and harm.”
ICANN through its push to create massive numbers of new gTLDs over the
objections of the public causes instability and harm. ICANN is creating
uncertainty about the future.
4) “Our first instincts, then should be not to change the system with anything
but incremental and carefully thought-out changes. The addition of new
top-levels domains is a very disturbing influence. It carries great cost. It
should only be undertaken when there is a very clear benefit to the new domain.”
Instead of the above well considered incremental approach (even advocated by
the Department of Commerce, NTIA and DOJ) ICANN proposes a wild-west free for
5) “The chief effect of the introduction of the .biz and .info domains appears
to have been a cash influx for the domain name registries.”
That’s a diplomatic way of saying “these are failed gTLDs.” Only the registries
have received the main benefits.
6) “After an unstable period when the first come first served system was in
play and greedy squatters grabbed domains simply for speculation, it has now
It has now settled down implies stability.
7) “Introducing new TLDs has two effects.
The first effect is a little like printing more money. The value of one’s
original registration drops. At the same time, the cost of protecting one’s
brand goes up (from the cost of three domains to four, five, …).
The value of each domain name such as example.com also drops because of brand
dilution and public confusion. Even though most people largely ignore the last
segment of the name, when it is actually used to distinguish between different
owners, this increases the mental effort required to remember which company has
which top level domain. This makes the whole name space less usable.”
Couldn’t have said better myself.
8 ) “The second effect is that instability is brought on. There is a flurry of
activity to reserve domain names, a rush one cannot afford to miss in order to
protect one’s brand. There is a rash of attempts to steal well-known or
valuable domains. The whole process involves a lot of administration, a lot of
cost per month, a lot of business for those involved in the domain name
business itself, and a negative value to the community.”
ICANN’s mission is security and stability. Notice the massive instability they
are proposing violates their mission. This puts into question their continued
stewardship of the root.
9) “When the benefits of the new domain itself are small or negative (as we
discuss below), then one looks for incentive. The large amount of money that
has changed hands for domain names might lead a person to suspect that this was
Of course it’s the motivation. ICANN is driven by the desire for more
expansion, the desire to pay above-market salaries, the desire to engage in
world travel, etc. ICANN does not act like a non-profit.
10) “The root of the domain name system is a single public resource, by design.
Its control must be for and, indirectly, by the people as a whole. To give away
a large chunk of this to a private group would be simply a betrayal of the
public trust put in ICANN.”
There you have it — “a betrayal of the public trust.”