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ICANN Bans Dotless Domains

Any new top level domain approved for the Internet will have to be more than just a single label.

ICANN’s new gTLD program committee (NGPC) has decided to ban the use of “dotless domains”. TLD operators that had planned to use their new suffix as a keyword, i.e. just the string and nothing else, will now have to reconsider.

Many experts, including ICANN’s own technical advisory body SSAC (Security and Stability Advisory Committee), had warned that the use of dotless domains might pose a risk to the technical stability of the Internet. In addition, groups like the user representative body ALAC (At Large Advisory Committee) had pushed for dotless domains to be banned. With pressure mounting against dotless domains, Internet giants such as Yahoo! and Microsoft, and .COM operator Verisign, also weighed in.

The NGPC was left with little choice but to heed this advice and forbid the use of dotless domains outright, even though they were already severely restricted by the current new gTLD program rules).

By Stéphane Van Gelder, Consultant

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