Earlier today I clicked a link to a presentation about planned changes in DNS policy [backup] at ICANN. The presentation was made by Johan Ihrén at Autonomica, (they provide
i.root-servers.net. Netnod/Autonomica criticise the new TLD policy (which was decided on in June 2008?) rather intensely – though they are even a bit too restrictive for my taste. But I suppose you can’t be too harsh on a public presentation. The presentation also links statements from Microsoft, Lego, Verizon, The Danish government, NTIA, The Vatican, The GAC, More NTIA and also DOJ and notes that there are several others.
The new policy means that anyone with enough cash can register a top level domain name. Up until now, top level domains have been rather restricted. 2-letter country codes, certain special domains like .net, .com and .org are the most common. Then there have been recent additions with .name, .info, .museum and even one I hadn’t heard about until yesterday: .coop.
There are several good arguments in Johan Ihréns presentation, I recommend you to read it. I’m a proponent of simplicity and methods which won’t confuse people. Having a flat namespace for DNS complicates both these ideals. Having every international company run around wanting their own name as a top level domain name will be worse than just getting one of the few .com/.net addresses – or national ones for that matter. See the slide for “How to Treat an Addict“.
Also, what happens if it turns out to be a bad idea to deregulate the DNS – which everyone who’s not employed in marketing seems to think? How do you roll back to the old policy, when the domain name system already has been trashed? That’ll be harder to do cleanly than simply lure the ICANN board into the new system with $185,000 USD application fees…