Dippin (for new) dots

If you're like me, you could use a big bowl of ice cream about now, and you are tired of hearing dot-com this and dot-com that. Soon, you won'tn be hearing this crap anymore. Instead, it might be dot-crap.

The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has decided to expand the current list of top-level domains -- http://www.thestandard.com/article/display/0,1151,16268,00.html?nl=int

Those names -- .com (companies), .org (organizations), .gov (government), .edu (education) and .net (also used for companies) -- are the root levels of every Web site. Just after Magellan sailed around the world and developed a search engine, these five top-level domain names were produced. But with the growing number of people wanting Web sites, and the growing number of Web sites used by people, and the number of Web people growing sites -- it was time to make more names.

Of course, there's always someone opposed. The International Committee Assigned to Not Nearly Obliterate Tycoons (ICANNOT) wasn't one of those groups. With more name possibilities, there's a better chance of something getting screwed up. Colleges are extremely concerned about the new names -- http://chronicle.com/free/2000/07/2000070701t.htm.

Anyone can register a domain name that isn't taken at $70 for two years.

Some people, called cybersquatters, have tried to buy different names and resell them to large corporations for a hefty sum and tickets to a Tina Turner concert. But with the pending court hearings on the subject, reasonable prices seem to be the norm these days.

If you want to brush up on just what all this domain-name talk has to do, has to do with it, go to http://www.mpt.go.jp/policyreports/english/group/telecommunications/doma

innames/domainnames_index_e.html

. You'll also find a brief history about the Internet and how a few colonial settlers actually bought URLs from the Indians for a big bowl of Cookie Dough ice cream.

These new dot-things will be chosen for us -- unfortunately we won't be able to have the site www.ben.woods or even better, www.lineline.dot.

There's a chance .sucks could be reserved for Web sites criticizing businesses and politicians and .xxx would be reserved for, well, I'm not talking shirt sizes here. Overall, the new domain names could be easier to remember, or at least give companies something a little different.

If you want to see exactly what happened at the latest ICANN meetings, held July 15 in Yokohama, Japan, go to http://www.domainnotes.com/news/article/0,2160,3371_419691,00.html.

Actually, I have a better idea. Don't waste your time, I'll give you the general gist of the story: the group still needs more funding for the project, the members need to do a better job of preparing for the input of concerned domain-name users and the cafeteria should provide Magic Shell for everyone's ice cream.

So what does all this mean to you? Soon you could know more about just what site you'll be visiting by the URL. Personally, I'd like to see .news used for different information sites and .buy for online shopping.

ICANN will announce the new top-level names November 1. If you can't wait and must have a domain name NOW, visit http://www.domainnotes.com/ and use the site's domain name search feature and name wizard.

By the time you find a suitable name, though, it'll probably be necessary to purchase more names with different top-level domains. And after you finish that, your ice cream will most likely be melted.