Connections

Since the internet resembles a system of communication consisting of balsa wood boards rubber banded together with Elmer’s Glue-All, it comes as no surprise that some of the more popular domain names consist of address suffixes that are administered by mostly unknown third world countries. This could be a cause of alarm due to the fact that a system of communication depended on by a large fraction of the world’s population has as its basis a seemingly arbitrary addressing system.

I’m talking about the country code domains such as .sy, .ly, or .tv. These suffixes represent the countries Syria, Libya, and Tuvalu, respectively. By adding these letters to the end of a name, cute yet appropriate and memorable representations of companies are branded, such as art.sy, easi.ly, and nbc.tv. The problem with the system is the possibility that economic sanctions might be placed on some of the countries, such as Libya. When this happens, things can go terribly wrong. This is the balsa wood and rubber bands issue mentioned previously.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) grants the authority for each country to administer their own country codes. The nation of Tuvalu licensed their suffix .tv to Verisign in exchange for $10 million up front and $2.2 million annually. That annual fee makes up about 10% of the small island government’s total revenue. Tuvalu’s government has literally paved their streets with domain name money.

A small group of tiny islands known as British Indian Ocean Territory administers the .io address. The domain name has become popular as an acronym for input/output, or a visual pun on 1’s and 0’s. It isn’t clear where the registry money for the domain is going nor whom it benefits. Right now, the only people who live there are a couple thousand British and US military personnel. You can’t go there unless you’re serving in the military or sailing your own yacht.

On October 23, 2013, ICANN announced the “Dawn of a New Internet Era” with the first round of rollouts and delegation for over 1400 new top-level domains. These included a lot of no-brainers such as .beer, .bio, and .blog. So far, reception has been lukewarm, although there has been a significant amount of activity for the acquisition and potential resale of domain names such as heineken.beer, budweiser.beer, etc.

I think the trend in domain names will continue to utilize creative and memorable uses of domain name hacks for new and different services and products. After all, the resourcefulness of internet developers has become something of a trend for the internet itself. It’s like the Elmer’s Glue-All mentioned at the beginning of this post. Ideally, there will always be something innovative to be connected and attached.

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Chris Bird is a designer for print and web specializing in the development of marketing materials for a varied spectrum of clients. He currently resides in Santa Rosa, California. His music website is at www.studio1057.com and his painting and fine arts website is located at cbird167.weebly.com