ICANN Meets Urgent Demand by Adding .Aero, .Coop, and .Museum Domains

MARINA DEL RAY, CAL. ( – In an historic vote Thursday, the agency that oversees the Internet address system chose seven new Top Level Domains to go with .com, .net, and .org – a decision based almost entirely on how weird the new domains were.

Led by Chairman Esther Dyson, board members for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) spent six hours debating and voting on the so-called generic TLDs, and in the end came up with .pro, .aero, .museum, .name, .biz, .info, and .coop., while ignoring popular proposals such as .web, .kids, and .xxx.

Six hours. For .coop.

How did they possibly manage it? The transcript follows. (Board member names have been replaced by numbers to avoid embarrassment.)

Dyson: OK everyone, today we finally vote on which new top level domains to add, and I want to get things moving, so let’s take a look at the first name – .coop.
BM #1: What, like for chickens?
BM #2: This is dumb. How many chicken farmers have Web sites?
BM #3: I think something more universal, like .farm. Not every farmer has chickens.
BM #5: I think some are allergic to the feathers.
Dyson: No, listen. Cooperatives, like co-ops. Credit unions, rural electric consortiums…
BM #4: The application says there are something like 750,000 of them. That’s a lot more than there are chicken farms.
BM #2: Yes, I say approve it, but for these credit unions, not the chicken farms.

Dyson: Next we have .pro. It’s for professionals.
BM #1: Define professionals.
BM #7: Doctors, lawyers, accountants…
BM #3: Wrestlers. I think they’re professionals. Like in WWF.
BM #2: But it’s fake. I don’t like that they could be included.
BM #6: Yes, I vote that wrestling should not be faked.
BM #8: What if we just say .pro can’t include any fake professions?
BM #3: Yes, that way we could exclude wrestling and journalism.
BM #1: All in favor?

Dyson: Here’s another interesting one, .museum.
BM #1: Seems kind of arbitrary, .museum. Why not have .ballet or .opera?
BM #5: Besides, what about .org? Isn’t that supposed to be for non-profits?
BM #9: No, that’s .com.
BM #4: I don’t know. Give me one good reason why we should approve this?
BM #3: Hey, no fair imposing new restrictions now. We haven’t needed a good reason before.
Dyson: All in favor of having no good reason?

Dyson: What about .web?
BM #1: That’s by far the most popular nomination.
BM #6: Yes, of all the TLDs, I think it’s the one people expect us to approve.
Dyson: So we’re all agreed?
BM #4: Yes, let’s scrap it.

Dyson: Next up, .name.
BM #8: This would be for people’s names, personal Web sites?
BM #2: I foresee major litigation issues. What if two people have the same name?
BM #5: Could fathers and sons sue each other?
BM #3: I think fathers should win. They had the name first. Eminent domain, so to speak.
Dyson: We’re not here to settle legal issues. We’re here to pick new TLDs.
BM #2: That’s easy for you to say. Your name’s Esther Dyson. I bet your father wasn’t named Esther Dyson.
BM #9: Look, I say we approve it. We’re looking for “generic” Top Level Domains, and .name is pretty generic.
BM #1: Ooo, good catch #9.

Dyson: And now we’re on to .biz. It’s for business. To compete with .com
BM #8: It’s really slang, this .biz.
BM#6: Why not .bus for business?
BM#2: Nah, sounds like bus companies.
BM #4: Well, the French won’t like .biz. Too American. I guess we could tell them it stands for bizarre.
BM #5: But why use American slang? Why not that universal language, Esperanto? How do you say ‘business’ in Esperanto?
BM #8: Komerci.
BM #3: That would make it… hmmm.. .kom! That has a nice ring to it.
BM #4: It does sound familiar. That’s an advantage.
BM #3: I move to approve .kom.

Dyson: Jesus. We can’t approve .kom. No one has submitted .kom, and anyway, it sounds like .com. It would be confusing.
BM #3: We’re not here to not be confusing.
BM #4: Yes, you’re changing our mandate again.
BM #3: Right. People have been demanding new TLDs for years, and all we come up with are domains for credit unions and museums.
Dyson: What’s your point?
BM #3: I have no point. That’s why I voted for .museum and .coop.
Dyson: But what about .biz?
BM #5: That was one of the originals, right? Along with .net and .org?
BM #7: Are we voting on those, too? I vote we get rid of .net. Just to screw with Microsoft and their .NET thing.
Dyson: No, .biz would be new. Let’s approve it.
BM #1: Why?
Dyson: It’s almost time for lunch.

Dyson: Next we have .aero
BM #6: OK, five points for style, but how many Aerosmith sites can there be, really?
BM #2: Uh-oh.
BM #8: What?
BM #2: Aerosmith’s lead singer. He’s got a very common name. I’ll bet that one winds up in court.
Dyson: Listen, it doesn’t stand for ‘Aerosmith.’ It stands for aeroplane.
BM #4: You’re saying ‘airplane’ kinda funny.
Dyson: It’s French. A French consortium proposed the .aero domain.
BM #3: Hey, no fair. They already have .bizarre.
BM #9: That’s .biz
Dyson: No, Aeroplane. It’s for the travel industry.
BM #1: Why just aeroplane? Why not .train or .bus?
BM #8: I thought we said we couldn’t do bus companies.
BM #7: I move to approve .aero
BM #8: I move to approve of bus companies!
BM #2: I second aero. That way Steven could use

Dyson: And lastly, we have .info.
BM #1: A domain just for infomercials?
Dyson: No, for information. It’s to compete with .com also.
BM #6: So companies are going to want, say, Gee, that’s catchy.
BM #4: I agree, I don’t think anyone will want to use this domain.
BM #8: Yes, I like it too. It meets our mandate of approving TLDs nobody wants.

Dyson: I’d like to thank you all for coming here today. If there’s no further business…
BM #9: We didn’t talk about .kids and .xxx, two TLDs everyone was clamoring for.
Dyson: Yes, we agreed not to consider those. People are concerned that kids will sneak onto .xxx, and that sex fiends will get onto .kids.
BM #9: I was thinking about that. What if we make the .kids domain for adult-only stuff, since that’s who really wants to go there, and we make .xxx for kids sites, since kids really want to go there.
Dyson: Good Lord, that would be entirely arbitrary and confusing.


BM #3: Our mandate!
Dyson: I’ll put it on the schedule.

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