They've go to be kidding. ICANN's much anticipated additions to the generic top-level domain (gTLD) like dot-com, dot-org, and dot-net were announced today and the choices are bizarre.
These are supposed to be global domains, designed to ease the stress on the dwindling supply of viable domain names.
Two of the seven, dot-biz (for certified businesses) and dot-pro (for doctors, lawyers, and other professionals) seem to provide a genuine alternative to dot-com. A third, dot-info is passable addition, but the sponsor's first choice of dot-web would have been much better.
As mentioned, part of the reason for expanding the gTLDs was to make more opportunities for people to get their own domain name. With that in mind, dot-name makes sense...at first.
Think about it, though: there have been lawsuits over everything from etoys.com to madonna.com, and now there will be unique domain names for people's personal names? Dot-com disagreements could at least be settled with trademark law, but how in the world is the rightful owner of joe.smith.name going to be determined?
All the sponsor, Global Name Registry Ltd., says on the matter is it will "implement the tried and tested Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy" and that "All Registrants will be required to certify their bona fide interest in registering a domain name for personal use and they may be required to produce evidence of this interest in the event of a dispute."
ICANN's choices only get better from here.
There's an entire gTLD given over to museums (dot-museum). I never knew there was so much demand by museums for unique domain names, but apparently Louvre was so desperate it had to register a domain name in a whole other country—France.
Another baffling one is dot-aero, for use by the aerospace industry. Sponsored by the Societi Internationale de Tilicommunications Aironautiques. What reason could ICANN have for devoting an entire domain to just one industry? Surely, there must be more demand for dot-health or dot-shop than dot-aero.
I'm saving my favourite for last, though.
The National Cooperative Business Association won dot-coop from ICANN. I must admit I had no idea what this one was for until I dug down into the official proposal. Even then, the only thing that stuck out was .co-op was preferred over .coop. If the latter was chosen, the sponsor wrote in the proposal:
....we want to ensure appropriate pronunciation through communications should .coop become the preferred designation, i.e., not to be pronounced as in "chicken coop".
(By the way, dot-coop is for "for co-operatives across all industries of co-operatives in all countries")
While these domains aren't officially approved yet (they must still get approval from the U.S.'s National Telecommunications and Information Administration), they certainly don't inspire confidence in the ICANN's future choices.