ICANN's next decision: Deleting the dot from new domains?

"Dotless" top-level domains accessed by going to "http://news" or "http://music" are likely to be off-limits for technical reasons. ICANN is accepting comments through Sunday.

Amazon.com is bidding for these top level domains.
Amazon.com is bidding for these top level domains. Illustration by James Martin/CNET

The Internet's next big land grab , which prompted Amazon.com to apply for the .music top-level domain and Google to bid for .cloud, is likely to come with a few limits.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is accepting comments through Sunday on whether it should ban applicants from using forthcoming top-level names -- thousands have been requested -- as single-word "dotless" domains.

Translated, that means Amazon.com could use http://amazon.music but not the single-word dotless http://music alternative.

An ICANN report (PDF) from earlier this year says the group's staff "recommends strongly against their use" and suggests that dotless domains be "contractually prohibited where appropriate and strongly discouraged in all cases."

The authors say that's because dotless domains can break applications like Web browsers and protocols like SMTP, the Internet's workhorse method of delivering e-mail. They could also create incompatibilities with intranets, which use dotless domains for internal Web sites for employees.

You can submit comments to ICANN here.

About the author

Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.


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