Thu, Dec 07, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letter: Of Klensin and Web domains

By Richard Haigh

I feel that I must reply to Mr. Klensin's comments about Internet domains ("How engineers tamed the Internet's Tower of Babel," Nov. 25, page 9).

He commented that the .com domain has somehow "sneaked through" on the Internet and that its registration has been "prohibited all along."

Both comments are surprising and wholly incorrect, as the registration of .com was made entirely within the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN's) own guidelines.

Furthermore, .com has existed as a Web domain for several years, so I don't understand why he would now want to imply that something unsavory has either quickly, or recently, occurred.

His final comment, that the domain name is a "communications nightmare," is quite untrue and nothing short of scare-mongering.

The Internet has a long and interesting history of unusual domains. To illustrate this fact, let me give an example. In 1993, when the Internet was still in its infancy, just three single-letter .com domain names were registered:, and Shortly afterward, however, ICANN became concerned that single-letter .com names might undermine the infrastructure of the Internet, so they quickly decided that the remaining twenty three letters of the alphabet could not be registered.

As the Internet developed, however, it became clear that ICANN's fears were unfounded and now, and are owned by large American companies.

According to recent reports, ICANN is now considering selling the remaining twenty three single-letter domains, contrary to Klensin and his somewhat bizarre statements.

Richard Haigh

United Kingdom

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