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New gTLD Applicants Donuts, Uniregistry & .Green Tells ICANN To Keep Dotless Domains An Option



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New gTLD Applicants Donuts, Uniregistry & .Green Tells ICANN To Keep Dotless Domains An Option

Post by Alex on Thu 04 Oct 2012, 6:47 am

By Michael Berkens on 23rd September 2012

You may have missed the ICANN comment period currently open on the topic of dotless domains.

While there are not a lot of comments submitted on the subject, new gTLD applicants Donuts, Inc., Frank Schilling’s Uniregistry and .Green have posted comments saying they would like to see Dotless Domain names remain an option on the table.

So what are Dotless Domains and why did ICANN open up a comment period on the issue?

Dotless domains are domains that consist of a single label (e.g. http://example as opposed to example.tld or mail@example as opposed to mail@example.tld).

So Dotless Domains would work without any existing TLD extension, not .com not .net nor any new gTLD extension like .Web or .NYC

In Feburary the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) published a report on Dotless Domains concluding that “dotless domains would not be universally reachable and the SSAC recommended strongly against their use. ”

On 23 June 2012, the ICANN Board adopted a resolution tasking ICANN to consult with the relevant communities regarding implementation of the recommendations in the SSAC report.

When it comes to new gTLD’sm the Applicant Guidebook essentially prohibits the use of dotless domains.

You might ask why is the issue of dotless domains even on the table?

Well as the SSAC report points out, the main issue of a highly technical issue are that web browsers have continuously blended the navigation bar with the search bar and complete incomplete navigation requests sending surfers who do not fully type in URL’s into the brower somewhere.

People often leave off the www. when directly navigation to a URL and many other even leave off the extension.

Here is what the report had to say about it:

“”When a user enters a web address into a Web browser the Web browser will check whether the domain name in the web address is complete or valid. One common algorithm checks whether the domain has two or more labels separated at least by one dot. The dotless domain in this case would not be considered a complete domain, since it is a single label without the dot.

The browser may take the following additional actions to guess the user’s intent:

a) Prefix the domain name in the uniform resource locator (URL) (e.g. example in the URL http://example/) with “www”, or add a popular domain name suffix such as “.com” or “.co.uk” before querying the DNS. Thus the actual domain name used in the DNS query would be www.example.com or www.example.co.uk.
b) If search path is configured (see 3.3), appends the dotless domain with the search path and do the name lookup.
c) Passes the domain name (“example” in this case) to a search engine. The result of the search is displayed.
d) Queries the DNS directly for the dotless domain.
Depending on operating system, browser and user configuration, users may encounter any of the scenarios, or combinations of the scenarios above. Other than case cited above, there is no guarantee that users would be able to visit the dotless domain queried.”

As for the comments posted to ICANN three new gTLD operators have weighted in on dotless domains and all of them want ICANN to reject the findings of the SSAC report and keep dotless domains on the table.

Bret Fausett writing for Frank Schilling’s Uniregistry says in part:

“While Uniregistry has no plans to implement “dotless domains,” it does foresee a future where applications, protocols and, most importantly, Internet users expect dotless domains to work in many of the ways that second-level domains do now. We do not know whether this evolution will take place over the next year or the next ten years, but when it does, TLD registries should be able to support change equally with ccTLD operators and without having to re-negotiate their contracts.”

“We believe that SSAC-053, as other SSAC advisories, is an advisory for certain community best practices. We believe that virtually all TLD
operators will follow its advice in the immediate and near-term future. ”

“Its advice should not become binding policy, however, written into some, but not all, registry contracts.”

In order words Uniregistry doesn’t want to use dotless domains right now or in the forseeable future but wants the option on the table and not to be barred in their eventual contract with ICANN to operate the new gTLD’s it is awarded.

In the same camp is another new gTLD applicant Donuts, Inc which applied for the largest number of new gTLD;s:

Richard Tindal the COO Donuts Inc urges ICANN to take no action on the SSAC report in it’s comment to ICANN on dotless domains:

Donuts believes a categorical prohibition of DNS resource records (such as A and AAAA) in a TLD’s zone apex is unnecessary, and accordingly, no changes to the Applicant Guidebook or new gTLD registry agreement are warranted.
Donuts respectfully suggests SSAC’s advice is misdirected, and that:
  • there is little technical basis for SAC 053’s conclusions
  • the report might be viewed as addressing an arcane technicalissue, but in fact the subject involves potential registry servicesthat deserve and require other inputs.
  • ICANN’s RSEP function is the appropriate mechanism forevaluation of registry service proposals such as dotlessdomains.
  • The new gTLD registry agreement contains clear andmandatory provisions for stability and security reviews of any request for dotless TLD functionality.The report provides no measurement of the stated costs of dotless domains, nor does it examine their potential benefits. An RSEP procedure would allow both to occur.EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
    The primary argument made by SAC 053 is that some applications (notably some browsers) will not treat a dotless domain in a uniform manner, resulting in varying user experience. However, the report fails to address the following relevant factors:1. The varying treatment of dotless domains by applications and operating systems is due to those applications making assumptions on user intent. If some applications and systems aren’t using the DNS to resolve domain names, however, they should be—as that is the DNS standard. Dotless domain names are in fact domain names.
DNS resource records enabling dotless domain functionality exist in some 16 ccTLDs and do not appear to have caused stability and security problems as a result.
There would be no sudden or profound changes in user experience as a result of dotless domains.
The impact on stability and security varies from TLD string to TLD string. Some have more significant implications than others.
There may be important benefits (in terms of navigation, branding, security, stability and trust) to consumers and registries from dotless domains.
This same “some software is implemented in a non-standard way” argument could have been made to prohibit the introduction of TLDs longer than three characters, such as .info, or IDN TLDs. They were introduced anyway and do not contribute to instability.
The new gTLD Guidebook and Registry Agreement already provide for a thorough review of any registry proposal for dotless functionality in a TLD.
The community developed a consensus policy on how matters like this should be handled—the RSEP process. Implementation of a contractual prohibition on dotless domains via this SSAC report (and comments on it) is not following that consensus policy. Such an approach would undermine the ICANN model of policy development.
The DNS standards provide for dotless domains and have done so for some time. The majority of concerns identified in the report are attributed to some applications or operating systems that do not properly recognize the precedence of the DNS standard.

For example, the report discusses a common browser algorithm that determines whether the domain in the address bar has two or more labels separated by at least one dot.

This browser, the report states, would conclude that a dotless string was not a domain, and hence would not resolve that address bar entry to the site specified by the A-record for that domain. Rather, the report states, the browser would treat the entry as a search term — as if the label had been entered into a search engine box rather than a browser address bar.

This is, by and large, incorrect.

Browsers do not use the dotless nature of the string to determine if the user intended a search.

Let’s say a user typed ‘SATURN’ into a browser address bar. If the browser first interpreted this as a search term (due to SATURN not containing dots), and therefore performed a search before checking the DNS, the browser would always do a search first and never attempt to resolve it or recognize it as a local network resource.

However, search happens last. As browsers do recognize local network resources (if set up as such) the browser cannot be using the dotless nature of the string to first determine whether a search should be performed. Some browsers may make this “it’s a search” determination later, but none do it first. Logically, search must be last in the order. Therefore, browsers do not need to—and thus do not— use the dotless nature of the string to determine whether or not to do a search.

The introduction of a dotless domain for a TLD will not have a sudden or immediate impact on user experiences, as: (1) applications that continue to resolve dotless strings inconsistently will provide users with the same experience they do now; and (2) applications and operating systems that resolve in a manner consistent with the standard will return an IP address (for TLDs that have an A-record) rather than an error message — which actually will be an enhanced user experience and more likely what the user intended.

In general, the effects of dotless domains are likely to vary significantly from TLD to TLD. For example, in the context of the LAN issue discussed above, a dotless TLD named ‘HOME’, a common hostname for local devices and search suffixes, is likely to have more impact on LANs than a dotless domain named ‘AMERICANFAMILY’.
The report has made no assessment of the potential benefits of dotless domains, and such an assessment must precede any across- the-board ban. Dotless domains have the potential to benefit user experience in terms of faster and more intuitive addressing and navigating as standards are established and embraced.
The benefits of dotless domains may vary from TLD to TLD. In particular, brand TLDs will strongly benefit.

A brand TLD with dotless functionality benefits from improved trust, stability and security coming from DNS resolution at a higher level in the DNS hierarchy.

A user typing the brand’s TLD into a browser (without dots) would be directed to a site of the brand’s choosing, rather than to a variety of “search-related” sites, or sites imposed by a potentially nefariously installed plug-in (both occurring later in the name resolution order of operations).

A blanket contractual ban on dotless domains is not appropriate at this time. SAC 053 does not provide sufficient argument to justify such a ban—in particular, it does not attempt to measure the potential negative consequences of dotless domains, address variations in such impact between differing TLDs, address or attempt to measure the benefits of dotless TLDs, or recognize the existing, strong protections in the new TLD Guidebook (the RSEP procedure).
The Board should take no action as a result of SAC 053.”"
Tim Switzer COO/ CFO of DotGreen Community Inc. which applied for the new gTLD .Green had a short statement on dotless domains:
“”In response to the SSAC report on dotless TLDs, it would seem to be premature and unnecessary at this point to invoke an “across the board” ban on dotless TLDs.

“The New gTLD Guidebook, via the RSEP in the Registry Agreement, allows individual registries to submit a specific request for a dotless TLD and in this established process, the request would be thoroughly vetted for security and stability issues by a panel of technical experts. ”

“It would not be prudent to make a change at this time to the New gTLD Guidebook and Registry Agreement given the advanced stage of the New gTLD process.”

If you would like to make a comment to ICANN on dotless domains you have until October 14th, 2012.

Source: The Domains


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Re: New gTLD Applicants Donuts, Uniregistry & .Green Tells ICANN To Keep Dotless Domains An Option

Post by Expert on Sat 20 Oct 2012, 6:46 am

Doesn’t make it more sense to assume a domain name without extension should represent a .com domain, because .com is the only domain extension that has significance?
Nowadays nobody needs to enter http:// or www. anymore.
In case .com is absent, the browser should redirect to it anyway.
In case the user wants to open any other extension, he can just add it like today.

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Re: New gTLD Applicants Donuts, Uniregistry & .Green Tells ICANN To Keep Dotless Domains An Option

Post by mikeseaton on Sat 20 Oct 2012, 1:55 pm

Expert wrote:...because .com is the only domain extension that has significance?
I must admit I'm beginning to look at the .com domains I have for sale in a more affectionate light !

It's looking more and more likely that the effect of the 1000+ new gTLDs being launched soon is going to result in a very confusing and scattered marketplace.

Just as with financial situations, where in times of uncertainty investors large and small flock to buy Gold, it may well turn out that .COM becomes the only really safe haven for domain investors, software developers and power users.


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Re: New gTLD Applicants Donuts, Uniregistry & .Green Tells ICANN To Keep Dotless Domains An Option

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