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Firm wants to rid Net of suffixes

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Firm wants to rid Net of suffixes

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Dutch technology company has breathed life into a project to rid the Internet of suffixes such as .com, and instead offer single names which can be countries, company names or fantasy words.

Such a system, which enables countries, individuals and firms to have a Web address which consists of a single name, offers flexibility and is language and character independent.

"The plan is to offer names in any character set," said Erik Seeboldt, managing director of Amsterdam-based UnifiedRoot.

UnifiedRoot offers practically unlimited numbers of suffixes, unlike the short list of suffixes currently in use. Its offer is different from other "alternative root" providers such as New.net which offers to register names in front of a small range of new suffixes, such as .club and .law.

"We've already had thousands of registrations in a single day," said Seeboldt after the official opening of his 100-strong company which has installed 13 Internet domain name system (DNS) root servers on four continents.

Critics argue alternative root companies such as UnifiedRoot introduce ambiguity because they bring a new set of traffic rules to the Web which are, certainly in the beginning, only recognized by a limited number of computers around the world.

"The existence of alternate roots, and the possibility of new ones, provides a useful competitive check on ICANN," said Jon Weinberg, a member of ICANNwatch which keeps a critical eye on ICANN.

ICANN is overseen by the U.S. Department of Commerce and operates the root servers of the Internet which guide all Web traffic. The organization also determines which top-level domains are recognized by those root servers.

At the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society earlier this month, many countries said they wanted to take part in the governance of ICANN. But the United States would not give up control.

UnifiedRoot plans to take advantage of unhappiness about ICANN by offering geographic locations for free to countries, regions and cities.

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It won't catch on... *begs* please don't let it catch on....

UnifiedRoot has already clinched deals with most ISPs in Turkey. ISP Tiscali is also a UnifiedRoot client.

If alternative root companies want their TLDs recognized by computers around the world, they need to circumvent ICANN by pointing every single Internet computer around the world to their own root servers -- which contain a copy of ICANN's root server plus the addition of own-made TLDs.

A quicker way to change the settings in individual computers is by closing deals with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) which can change the settings for all their subscribers.

. . .welcome to the New (World Wide Web) Order  :evil6:

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basically it doesn't matter if it atches on or not. since they will mirror the icann names there should be no impact at all on the usual format. their servers would basically create a shitload of new tlds that are not recognized by icann.

for example, i want to register the domain name resopalrabotnick i would register it with them, they would then create the tld resopalrabotnick on their system. anyone that gets lookups from that system will be able to find it. it's not a good thing in the respect that it creates more anarchy on the web, but otherwise i don't see why it would hurt anything, as long as they keep existing tlds excluded from the list. this will be a way for countries that want their own tld to register it as a domain and then administer their own subdomains to that to give out domains.

for example botswana wants the tld .bots, they register the domain bots with the service and then set up their own administration and name server for the subdomains they hand out. (ford.bots for the local ford dealers.) the only problem with that is that while that circumvents the sometimes sluggish approval process for official tlds it effectively eliminates any chance of them ever getting that tld officially assigned. and when the service goes bankrupt or disappears otherwise, all the new domains go with it.

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Although Internet domain names may be getting longer or more complex as Web sites creatively squeeze into the crowded ".com" address space, most single-letter names like "a.com" and "b.com" remain unused. That may soon change as the Internet's key oversight agency considers lifting restrictions on the simplest of names.

In response to requests by companies seeking to extend their brands, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will chart a course for single-letter Web addresses as early as this weekend, when the ICANN board meets in Vancouver, British Columbia. Those names could start to appear next year.

But the transition won't be easy

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