Short .net domain name idea off the table.
VeriSign has withdrawn its request to ICANN to allow it to release one and two character .net domain names.
The company asked ICANN back in August to let it auction off any one or two letter .net domain name that wasn’t already registered. Some one and two letter domains were registered prior to a restriction on the practice that was introduced for technical reasons.
A number of other registries have either already distributed these short domain names or have asked ICANN to let them. So why is VeriSign backing out? Here are three possible reasons:
1. VeriSign said it would use the proceeds to promote general awareness of .net. This is a plausible argument for new top level domain names such as .biz, but .net already has mindshare. Not to mention that VeriSign makes so much money off of running the .net registry that it wouldn’t need this extra money to promote it.
2. The company’s proposal had a controversial element that would never let these short domain names go through the deletion cycle; instead VeriSign would take them back and re-auction them.
3. More so than other TLDs, VeriSign is seen as a steward for .net and .com. It’s not the company’s duty to promote them. I also suspect that many view it as outside the company’s role to distribute and profit off these reserved domains. When the idea of releasing one character .com domains was floated five years ago, it was ICANN leading the charge. If nothing else, I’m sure ICANN would want a cut of the action. And if it took a cut, then people would argue that it was only allowing the domains to be auctioned because it would make money off of them.
I suspect the .net proposal was a trial balloon for VeriSign trying to release one and two character .com domains. You can push that idea off further into the future.