Is ICANN insane? (or brilliant)
It used to be that .com, .net and .org was all we had (and really needed) for Top Level Domains (Tlds). The plan now being floated at ICANN is to open up the TLD system - WIDE OPEN - such that anything could be a a TLD.
Under the proposed plan we could see TLDs like .internetnews for example (no .com required). It won't quite be a full wild west where any schmo will have a TLD, ICANN will charge $ and need to approve the TLD, but it does change the basic dynamic that the Internet TLD system has operated under since the creation of the Internet itself.
"The potential here is huge. It represents a whole new way for people to express themselves on the Net," said Dr Paul Twomey, President and CEO of ICANN in a statement. "It's a massive increase in the 'real estate' of the Internet."
In some ways it's maddness, in my opinion.
Having an unlimited number of TLDs could lead to massive and widespread consumer confusion - after all most people are still stuck on adding .com to everything. By moving from the relatively simple and controlled nature of having a relatively finite number of TLDs to an unlimited one may also make the process of figuring what to own and buy for domain owners insanely confusing and expensive.
Then again, breaking free of the current TLD shackles could be a stroke of pure genius. Why do we need to always have to rely on .com anyways? Wouldn't it make sense just to go to food.McDonalds instead?
BUT let's be real here. Though there are other TLDs beyond .com, .com remains dominant in terms of domains registered and mindshare. Shifting to a wide open TLD system might challenge that over time but it certainly won't happen instantly.