“.com” used to mean that you were a “commercial” entity – rather than belonging to one of the other top level domain categories – but now it’s just a meaningless four-letter suffix that everyone puts into their browser’s address bar without thinking about it.

I think we should think about it, and in particular should reconsider the idea that “I have to get this domain in .com otherwise my site will fail!”

nimblemachines.com, for instance, is not a commercial presence. (Not yet, anyway. Bwahaha!) I knew I wanted to get some ideas online, and I wanted the “option” to have a “businesslike” presence if in some unknown future this site became an income-generating undertaking.

I registered it long enough ago (2001) that there were lots of choices in .com. As of 2009 September, according to these domain name counts, there are over 80 million .com domains registered. Finding a good, short, cute, catchy name is getting harder and harder. (Not that I claim that nimblemachines.com is any of these. ;-)

In 2009 May I wanted to register another domain. The name I chose wasn’t available in .com, and I didn’t want a .net or .org domain, so I started doing some reading about the “new” top level domains that were being introduced. I settled on .info, even though it was hardly new – it’s been around since 2001.

After reading this history of .info I was

I was just reading a bit about alternative DNS roots, and came across two interesting documents, one written before the .info Sunrise period – about why it was a bad idea – and one written after – analysing Sunrise trademark applications and concluding that, sure enough, it had been a bad idea.

It makes we want to become the alternative root activist I almost became back in 2000 when I first discovered these ideas.

Unlike all the other top level domains – esp the “legacy” ones (.com .net .org .edu .gov .mil) – .info has always been:

The original TLDs were invented here in the US and have always been uncomfortably US-centric. Since country code TLDs existed back then – they were part of the original Domain Name System specification – why weren’t the other domains (.com and friends) “hanging off of” .us the way they do in, say, Australia? (.com.au, and .edu.au, for instance)

The answer? Because we said so. Because we invented it, and got to make up the rules of the game. I don’t agree with this, but it’s the way it is.

.info levels the playing field in a way.

And with “only” five or so million names registered, there is lots of room to find yours.