And you thought .com, .org and .net were hard to remember?

A common mistake noobies make is to assume that every web site address ends with .com. This presents a problem for many not-for-profit organizations that are correctly using the .org domain suffix. Worse yet, there are scores of individuals who make a living off buying mistaken web site addresses just so noobies think they are on the right web site when they in fact, they are not.

This reminds me a bit of telephones and 800 numbers. Once the majority of the 800 numbers were depleted, the telephone companies introduced 888, 877 and 866 toll-free prefixes. Of course, many of the telephone noobies were so used to 800 numbers that they ignored the 888, 877 or 866 prefix and just blindly dialed 800 instead.

Get ready for custom domains

Why am I bringing all of this up? Because the Internet Corporation for Assigned Name and Numbers, otherwise known as ICANN, has just announced that they are going to allow custom top-level domain (TLD) names. In other words, they are opening up the domain world to domain suffixes of anything you want.

So instead of just the relatively small handful of domain suffixes we have now such as .com, .org, .net, .gov, .biz (there are more but I don’t want to list them all), soon there could be .yahoo, .microsoft, .google, .ebay and millions more. And you thought remembering the current ones was difficult!

For deep pockets only

There is an upside to this announcement, however. The minimum amount someone, or more likely a corporation, will have to pay for one of these custom domains is $100,000.00. If ICANN decides to do sell the custom domain suffixes auction-style, the price tag could get infinitely larger.

At first, I thought this was going to be a giant mess with no real practical applications except to create a ton of new domain names that are hard to remember. But after a recent trip to the movie theater, a preview I watched changed my opinion.

Every time a movie is released by a movie studio, some person’s job is to come up with a .com web site address (domain) for the movie. Due to the shortage of good .com domain names, they have learned to get creative with these by prefixing the web site address with The or suffixing it with Movie as in

Practical uses

Now imagine instead if Warner Bros. owned .wb or MGM owned .mgm and never had to worry about unique .com names again. They could create unlimited web site addresses such as www.SonOfHarryPotter.wb or www.RockyXII.mgm. Not only do these web site addresses clearly tell you the name of the movie, they also clearly indicate the movie studio producing the movie. I can only imagine this is a huge marketing bump for the movie studios.

I guess time will tell how this is perceived by the consumers that are forced to remember all of these new names. But don’t bother worrying about it yet. These changes aren’t expected until at least April, 2009. This should leave me plenty of time to start saving up for the .noobie domain!