ICANN—the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers—is finally starting to roll out some new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) after announcing their intentions a few years back. With only 22 gTLDs currently, the 1,400 new domain suffixes might finally spell the end of .com’s dominance.
Do you own a .com domain? If so, the U.S. government can seize it at any time. The same applies to .net, org. .biz, and other top-level domains (TLDs), and it doesn't matter where you live. You could reside half way around the world. You could be hiding out in Vanuatu, an island nation in the South Pacific ocean that you probably never heard of, and the U.S. government could still take control of your .com website.
VeriSign manages the .com domain (amongst others), but it doesn’t really OWN it. There’s a whole host of ICANN regulations in the way that keeps VeriSign from being able to take down any website it wants, anytime it wants. It’s looking for relief for some of those restraints in an appeal to ICANN that is first and foremost about responding to governmental takedown requests – at least on the surface – but contains slippery verbiage that could cause headaches for website owners around the world.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency believes it has the authority to shut down any and all .com and .net websites that run afoul of copyright law, even if the site's servers are hosted overseas. Erik Barnett, the agency's assistant deputy director, told the U.K.'s Guardian that ICE will seek to shut down overseas sites it believes are breaking U.S. copyright law and attempt to extradite website owners. Has ICE found a legal loophole?
Everybody can relax, the .com era isn't over, not that GoDaddy could end it by itself anyway. Even so, when GoDaddy switched its default choice for new registrants from .com to .co, some saw it as a sign that the .com well had officially dried up.
With over 90 million .com destinations littering the Web, it's definitely tougher than ever coming up with an awesome domain name that isn't already taken. This is where .co comes into play, and with GoDaddy providing around half of all domain registrations, switching to .co as the new default option could be viewed as a huge win for the 'alternative' domain extension.
And it was, for all of 24 hours, DomainNameWire reports. The switch to .co as the default choice turned out to be one of GoDaddy's many tests. By the end of the weekend, GoDaddy had switched back to .com, although .co now sits directly below as the No. 2 option.