It’s Dot Com

Nov 20, 2008, 12:22 pm by Paul Stiverson

One of my pet-peeves is systemic disorganization1, I prefer for there to be a specific place where every individual thing (or class of things) belongs2. This idiosyncrasy makes me both love and hate the internet—originally there were bins for each type of website: commercial sites, business sites, informative sites, educational sites, sites for organizations, &c. The practice of organizing sites by top-level domain has unfortunately fallen out of practice, and, as a result, the internet has become a mess.

For the most part this isn’t a big deal, but in my romantic view of the internet I see sites organized by fully useful URLs. Rather than “aggielandhelpwanted.com” you could navigate to “aggieland.jobs”, and instead of “producerscooperative.com” you could use “producers.coop”. The best example of somebody using top-level domains correctly that comes to mind is aggieland menus (.info), which—oddly enough—provides information.

I have been able to pinpoint the root of the problem: stupid people; but more pointedly: stupid web designers (or web designers who were unwilling to tell their clients no). As Artemy Lebedev illustrates, the customer rarely knows what the hell they are talking about or what they want, so it is up to the designer (in this case the web designer) to step up and say, “You don’t really want ‘coopertravelagency.com’, you want ‘cooper.travel’”. However, it is rare that the web designer has the balls to tell their customer that they are wrong (for fear of losing business), and rarer still that they have the insight to separate what the customer says they want, from what the customer needs.

I would like to see a return to deliberate categorization of sites, and strict adherence to URL meanings; unfortunately it isn’t feasible to prevent people from abusing the internet. I propose that ICANN adopt a few new top-level domains (like .art for artists, musicians, and the like; and .gen for general shit), start enforcing restriction on new domain registration to categorize them effectively, and disallow the renewal of domains that currently don’t fit in their TLD.

Notes:

  1. Anybody who has seen my room knows that localized disorganization doesn’t bother me so much.
  2. For instance, rather than keeping a jar for all coins I keep a jar for each denomination of coin.

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3 Comments

faith Says:

Nov 20, 2008

your icann link doesn't work, mr. trying-to-reorganize-the-internet. (=

zach Says:

Nov 23, 2008

Wouldn't it be hard to remember a bunch of .xxxx names for different sites? I know that .com will work for almost any website I want to go to, but whose URL I'm just guessing.

Paul Stiverson Says:

Nov 23, 2008

Well, there would still be a set number of top-levels, probably just a few more than there are now, people wouldn’t be able to just make them up at random.

I also don’t think that adding them would make URLs harder to remember because the URL would be more meaningful and descriptive. Rather than having the useless .com at the end it could be a code that is actually indicative of what you will find on the site.

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