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How Would You Redesign the TLD Hierarchy?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the sell-to-high-bidders-model-taken dept.

The Internet 265

First time accepted submitter at.drinian writes "Last week, we heard about the many applications for new top-level domains that have been put forth by various businesses and organizations. ICANN, of course, has come under heavy criticism for its process. If you didn't have the accumulated baggage of 30 years of DNS, how would you redesign things? .public and .private TLDs only? No TLD control? Country-level domains?"

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I wouldn't (3, Insightful)

xaoslaad (590527) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371383)

I wouldn't

Re:I wouldn't (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371445)

Indeed. The whole idea of a centralised DNS system is the problem because it introduces a single point of stupidity into the Internet, but I'm not sure what the solution is.

Re:I wouldn't (3, Funny)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371487)

torrent based DNS?

Re:I wouldn't (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371611)

more like multicast, heavily cached DNS.

A term you could google for is "namecoin"

Re:I wouldn't (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371859)

torrent + trust based. That way, will resolve differently for the shady Russian crowd vs. say the snobby French crowd (blatant stereotypes are for illustration).

Re:I wouldn't (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371493)

The P2Pdns could be a solution :

Re:I wouldn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371501)

...I'm not sure what the solution is.

Therefore no other solution.

Re:I wouldn't (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372137)

Therefore no other solution.

More like I haven't spent enough time to think of one.

A lot depends on whether the address has to be human-readable. For example, you could have an alternate system where sites are addressed by a public key hash, and you could ask numerous independent name-servers for any IP address signed by a key with that hash. But typing in 64-character hex strings to connect to Google or your bank would be troublesome, to say the least.

Re:I wouldn't (4, Insightful)

dmomo (256005) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371507)

I may be okay with this. Distributed stupidity could be a lot more troublesome.
It's much easier to keep your house in order if you only have to keep your eye on one drunken uncle at Christmas time.

Re:I wouldn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372183)

And what is Uncle Sam in the current model?

Re:I wouldn't (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371621)

The trouble is(unless you abandon this 'inter-network' nonsense entirely) you can either have a single point of stupidity with URLs that are at least unique, or you can have multiple points of stupidity, with URLs that need an additional field to specify which domain name hierarchy you are speaking relative to(ie. since could resolve in multiple different ways depending on the nameserver you talk to, you'd basically have to specify " bar)" to have a meaningful URL).

After all, there isn't anything stopping you from having your very own DNS system, on any scale(and, indeed, most decent-size internal DNS servers have a mixture of private hostnames and assorted lies about public hostnames, for various convenience and security purposes), except for the fact that being able to treat URLs as unique is pretty convenient...

If memory serves, there were a bunch of alt-root DNS outfits during the .com days that tried to get people to install their nameservers so that they could peddle various ghastly TLDs that hadn't made it through ICANN(Now ICANN is ready to rubber-stamp those same TLDs, progress!); but they never got enough adoption to be of much use.

Re:I wouldn't (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372005)

Or alternatively compress it a bit:

foo(DNS_ORG bar) ->

So you could have...,,

Now that sounds like a plan! :)

Re:I wouldn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371447)


Re:I wouldn't (2)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371627)

over in one. Exactly the problem. We've built up this system for multiple decades and now we're going to try to make it less functional?


Re:I wouldn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371731)

I would change one thing: TLDs would be purchasable by anybody. Expensive, but the cost goes to fund and maintain the root servers. Second level domains would be purchasable from anybody with a TLD who was willing to sell. As it stands, the limited (but proliferating) TLDs mean that a big company has to buy their domain name over and over and over again. Being able to buy a TLD means they buy it once, and they're done. Who cares about [] when you can just go to http://coke/ [coke] ?

Re:I wouldn't (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372059)

Right, but how to handle Apple the computer company versus Apple the record company in a fair way? (Not that today's method is very fair, of course, but for comparison sake.)

Re:I wouldn't (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371813)

If I could redesign the TLD hierarchy, I'd put U and I togeth... oh, wait, wrong question, sorry.

Re:I wouldn't (0)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371939)

And what's the deal with 'c' and 'k'?

Re:I wouldn't (0)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371957)

Nothing, has a problem where things are getting confusing, it is too big for its first intent.

I would do the following...
Get rid of .COM made to represent commercial entities. It got too popular so people get it for whatever.
Replace it with B2B and B2C Depending how they do business.

Replace .EDU with .EDH (Higher education), .EDC (For profit higher Education), .EDP (k-12 Private education) .EDG (K-12 Public (government) education) .EDV (Vocational/Certificate Education) .ORG with .ORH (Not for Profit Health and Human Services) .ORI (Not for profit Information Service slashdot.ORI) .ORP (Pollitical groups), .ORO (Other services) .GOV ( is fairly US centris, I would break them up by countries so for the United States we would have the following. FUS (Federal Government, .SUS (State Government), CUS (County/City Government), MUS (Military US)

Re:I wouldn't (5, Insightful)

garbut (1990152) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372235)

I'd say .edu, .gov and .mil need to be moved under .us to be fair or else every country would have to have the same battery of tld's.

Re:I wouldn't (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372011)

Hmm, I'd add 'alt' and 'comp', change the display order of the domain parts from (e.g.,) to, and we'd be mostly done.

How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371417)

Very Carefully.

Duh. (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371469)

AOL Keywords, obviously.

Not AOL Keywords, Facebook names (1)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371617)

Get with the times. Facebook is the new AOL.

Re:Not AOL Keywords, Facebook names (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371895)

close, but not quite. i think aol users back in its day were a tad smarter than the typical facebook sheep of today.

and hopefully it (facebook) will sink into irrelevance just as fast.

Re:Not AOL Keywords, Facebook names (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371983)

close, but not quite. i think aol users back in its day were a tad smarter than [...]

And the award for "Phrase Most Likely To Be Laughed At Twenty Years Ago And Then Came True" goes to...

Seriously- only National TLDs (1)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372255)

Unicode URLs + HTTP v1.2 + 10 year limitation on URL length (ascii URL length limits; allow for transition period.)

Each nation gets a full-name TLD and a long list of aliases in every language including short variations. I will not expect the world to type a nation TLD in a foreign language. Also, it is case insensitive.

Actually, since complications are being ignored, I'd make DNS use @TLD which just means that new URLs would stand out from old ones and email checks will have to grow up. If you want to own screw.canada you'll have to get Canadian approval while now you could do The USA would do something stupid (via ICANN) so we'd have in the best case and domain.anything-for-10-grand.usa.

Nothing that works good can get around government control freaks so just give up on that ever being used by MOST people who are more concerned with performance. Covert systems are just off topic. Now, Iran could make .evil be .usa because they control their internet in their nation already.

Re:Seriously- only National TLDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372465)

Just out of curiosity, how would you handle countries whose sovereignty is disputed? Sure, big China could redirect .tibet to ::, and the ROC could redirect .china to their own stuff if they felt like it, but how would you handle the kooks who want to set up a republic in their basement called 'banking' or 'secure' ? Or would you go by a centralized model where the UN has to recognize you before you get a TLD or something?

Get rid of .xxx (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371477)

Get rid of .xxx.

By subject matter (2)

NoleusMaximus (1436983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371485)

Along the lines of the international card catalog library system with a maximum of three or four cross-references. This way a search could be something approximating exhaustive. Presently there are millions of hits on narrow searches and most of them reference JC Penneys.

No TLDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371489)

Wipe em out. Everyone registers everything top level, boom, done.

Re:No TLDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371559)

Yes. One string, full text (spaces!), unicode, 256 byte limit or whatever. Type whatever the hell you want.

Re:No TLDs (0)

TigerTime (626140) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371721)

absolutely agree with this. And while they're at it, get rid of the "www" default nomenclature.

Re:No TLDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371801)

As long as you don't get rid of subdomains, I'd by happy with this.

I like to split my site up into subdomains based on content: points directly to so either works.

Re:No TLDs (2)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371849)

absolutely agree with this. And while they're at it, get rid of the "www" default nomenclature.

That has nothing to do with tld. As a website admin I can point you to _. or www. or or whatever I want. You typed it in so you need to do the unlearning, not the root.

And this proves the heart of the problem. Users, webmasters, designers, and even web architects can't convince themselves to get rid of www. so how can you expect the whole world to drop .com for .web?

Re:No TLDs (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372459)

Simple: enforce it, ignore those who pout, 3 years later you're done. Kinda like nobody had problems from typing nothing whatsoever to typing "www" or "com" when that was required to visit a website.

But you're right when it comes to www, it is the responsibility of webmasters to get rid of it [] .

Users, webmasters, designers, and even web architects can't convince themselves to get rid of www

The latter interests me: I'd love to read clueful arguments *for* the www prefix. Never saw any so far, and plenty of sites seem to have no use for it. And I don't just meant URL shorteners*.

It's like an appendix, like dead code... sure, you can leave useless stuff there, and everything still works fine. But you can also *remove* that appendix, shave your eyebrows, cut off your ears and become the fastest swimmer the world has ever seen! Just saying.

* you know, the ones that are supposed to be "more readable" for everyone and their dog's grandma, where the www prefix never even was considered? Weird, huh.

Re:No TLDs (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372519)

I've always supported both. Easy to set up on the DNS server, as it is just a list there, and I believe different prefixes can be directed to different ports, as well (and you can redirect at the router, so it is a way to proxy).

I still don't really like TLDs... they should be optional and then ditch .com and make it the default, but that is what most browsers do already, so if you just type slashdot into your browser, you go to, which redirects to

Re:No TLDs (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371723)

Wipe em out. Everyone registers everything top level, boom, done.

How bout reverse-reverse DNS where you get no name at all just a ip address... the Mighty GOOG indexes, you bookmark, thats it.

Re:No TLDs (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372073)

Agreed. Pretty much any site of any size registers .com, .org, and .net. There's no meaning to the hierarchy anymore, so just flatten it. Instead of registering,, and, just register slashdot.

Or you could open up the top level domain registry, and register '.slashdot' as a TLD. The end result is the same.

.uninterested (1)

caffemacchiavelli (2583717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371531)

I don't really care one way or another. Sure, if you make me live in a technological enclave of IT geniuses, we might discuss the intellectual beauty of different ways of classifying and sorting domains, but in the "real world"...just leave it alone and let people register and if that's what they want to do.

Country codes + Namecoin (3, Interesting)

1s44c (552956) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371533)

One TLD for each country to do what they like with plus something like NameCoin but with way higher costs for registering domains under some anarchy TLD.
Throw in a TLD for companies over some big size and another for non-profits over a certain size.

The top level should be managed by some international body and be operationally independently of all governments.

Each country should run a DNS service for the top level which should be globally accessible.

Re:Country codes + Namecoin (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371809)

I like it... can I be one of the TLD Internet Diplomats who get diplomatic Immunity for operating outside of all country borders?

Re:Country codes + Namecoin (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372365)

I like it... can I be one of the TLD Internet Diplomats who get diplomatic Immunity for operating outside of all country borders?

Nobody gets diplomatic immunity, everything is done by clear and fair procedures, nobody makes a profit and everything is made public.

They're pointless anyway (5, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371547)

I would drop the whole TLD concept in a heartbeat. It just adds one more thing to remember that means very little anymore, and opens people up to confusion (wait, is a porn site!?!).

Seriously, what does it accomplish? The categories are so broad that they're nearly useless as an organizing tool, especially since many companies buy up the "lesser" TLDs for their domain just to prevent confusion. People don't organize domain names in a hierarchy like they did with Usenet groups, so appending a category label to each seems rather silly.

Country code TLDs are a symptom, not a feature. They come about because local governments want to exert their own control over some aspect of the internet, but really the whole point of the internet is to transcend borders and unite people in a single global network, even if that is a threat to entrenched interests.

Re:They're pointless anyway (3, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371681)

Seriously, what does it accomplish? ... People don't organize domain names in a hierarchy like they did with Usenet groups,...

We did, in the old days. Back in 91 when I first got on the net, the original goal was caching with a secondary of segregating traffic.

The hope is that 99% of traffic to .us would be from inside .us therefore limiting expensive high latency international traffic. Doesn't map so well with massive multinational corp traffic to .com

In the ancient days of "no commercial traffic on the ARPA-net" anything .com over the ARPA was verboten.

Re:They're pointless anyway (3, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372047)

Doesn't map so well with massive multinational corp traffic to .com

And now we have the joy of 'the cloud', where that site may be running on a server in Kazhakstan today and Canada tomorrow.

I don't even know where my own web site is. Last traceroute I tried it was somewhere in Europe even though I pay a US company for hosting.

Re:They're pointless anyway (2)

hedronist (233240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371687)

I snorted coffee through my nose when I saw: I read the internet for the articles.

Re:They're pointless anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372181)

Amen to that.

Why do I have to remember if I wanted to go to or .org or .dog? This is why I (and many others, I suppose) use Google to get around.
Maybe dropping TLD altogether is a tough one, but feels like a better option to me.

Re:They're pointless anyway (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372233)

I would drop the whole TLD concept in a heartbeat...Seriously, what does it accomplish?

An actual architecture that's scalable and supports a redundant design? (As opposed to a bunch of kids saying "screw this, *I* could do something better", and then finding out that, y'know, you've gotta pick a design that you can actually make work.)

Sigh. I knew this was the sort of idiotic comment that'd crop up when this came up. Slashdot question - "how would you do x y z". Cue hundreds of armchair architects who know bugger all about the topic in question but are nonetheless blindingly certain they can do it better in an afternoon from their parents' basement than all the experts with decades of expertise who labored for years to design something that had a modicum of thought behind it.

Hint - think "use cases". Try them sometime, you might be surprised at how well that boring old theory stuff works.

Re:They're pointless anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372407)

ccTLDs *do* make sense. It's a way of organizing information. Many companies are in fact local. Nobody outside of the UK has heard of 90% of the companies operating within the UK, and doesn't do business with them.

Reverse the order. (5, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371549)

My OCD says it should be http://org.slashdot.ask/story [slashdot.ask] ...

Or is that not what you meant?

Re:Reverse the order. (1) (1102617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371925)

First, reverse the order, I totally agree, to go from general to specific all the way in the URI.
Then, do whatever you want with TLDs, ccTLDs, etc.

Re:Reverse the order. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371961)

YES! It seems really stupid to go left to right getting more general for the domain part, and then continuing left to right gets more specific.

.authority (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371553)

cc's are for restrictions inside countries. Eveything else should get there own without any silly .com ending.
Also no cost other than upkeep.

DNS exists to get around a problem (4, Interesting)

Teunis (678244) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371571)

That is : the problem of finding a device (say: server, virtual server, coffee maker, whatever) without having to enter an arbitrary number of digits.
DNS is essentially context-free and centralized.

I would make an OS a lot less dependent on DNS actually functioning, require such a service to be secure (but oh, how to manage the keys?) and make it easier to plug in local address books of references, and easier to transfer such between computers. (perhaps something like zeroconf)

The counter trick is how to keep this from being hijacked to any great degree. Minimize harm.

Redesign (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371593)

Expunge all "field of interest" TLDs like .com, .gov, .net, .pr0n, and all the recent spammy TLDs
TLD by legal jurisdiction the domain is registered under. Country codes only, I suppose.
Underneath the country codes its fair game for each NIC.
I would "strongly encourage" the country NICs to not screw around with social engineering goals.

I would suspect you'd end up with multi-national corps registering a zillion domains in each country they buy or sell. So what. Cost of doing business.

I would only have a couple non-UN recognized as country domain names, for example, ".un" seems like a nice place to put the UN and maybe root DNS operators should have a .root TLD solely to host their own coordination related stuff.

Re:Redesign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372003)

Sort of like the X.500 directory namespace that didn't go anywhere.

Mentioned elsewhere - DNS was designed so you didn't have to remember arbitrary numbers to get to places. The original functionality of DNS has long been taken over by search engines and bookmark lists (generally first found via search engines or someone sending you a link).

I'd relegate DNS to local naming only. Forget having a root system tying everything together. You want to publish things, use something more human friendly like google. Create a nonsensical set of shortcuts for names, like tinyurl does for those few things you might need to "seed' a computer with. Eliminates DNS as a point of contention entirely. So the namespace for "domains" starts at some random 6 digit value (say 142742) and each "domain" is "the next number available". Want a domain, here it is: 127834218. Ha! I've a six digit one you newb! URLs would look like http://886742/somepage.phpEventID%3D19516552%26UID%3D48177317%26Host%3D280c10b2320233d%26FrameSet%3D2%26PW%3DNMGMNjY1ZThi and we'd all not care about names to drive computers to do things.

Re:Redesign (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372119)

Not that I don't like your idea, but it's one step closer to easy spoofing. At least I know what to expect with

Re:Redesign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372479)

" At least I know what to expect with" -- no, you don't. It's whoever was first to register that name. It is *probably* a company called Citibank, and it might even be the one you're thinking of, but that is by no means assured., on the other hand, I was sure would be right, as the Japanese apply rules. And it is...

As few as possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371641)

More possibilities just makes it harder to remember, and makes it easier to do phishing attacks. I'd go for country codes + one international TLD (.int). No .com, .org, .net, .info, ... - those are just confusing. Country codes make sense for local organizations and businesses, but the other ones just add confusion and make it easier for phishers.

Well, hindsight 20/20 (2)

guruevi (827432) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371643)

But how things worked in the beginning worked very well, every country gets a TLD and multinational organizations (commercial, non-profit etc.) also get their TLD and it worked well because that were the capabilities of the day.

If you could completely overhaul it, I would keep the current TLD's for backwards compatibility and then add a range of local TLD's (.local, .lan, ...) and some simple "custom" TLD (.custom) which browsers could implement to auto-append on any non-TLD'ed and non-local domain. Let someone else worry about the .custom subdomains. This would clean things up on the root resolvers and move the problem to someone who is interested in expanding the TLD space.

On the other hand, I would also keep the servers free from outside influence by having a distributed root system and a requirement/mechanism for any resolver to regularly check whether your closest resolver is being truthful to you. If they're not being truthful (eg. ICE or DHS meddling with the records), that IP loses points on the distributed trust list and administrators could configure what trust level they will accept (larger ISP's may want a high threshold of trust while smaller systems that can't afford or don't have enough traffic to warrant the multiple checks keep it lower).

Put all current domains under (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371647)

except for current ccTLDs, not allow any new TLDs, and let each country sort out their own domains

reversed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371653)

I would have written the domain name the other way around.
In fact, this was done in the UK for a while.

No TLDs At All (3, Insightful)

mentil (1748130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371655)

I'd rather type in www.blah or ftp.blah instead of having to remember if it's, etc.
The TLD indicating if the site is commercial, organization or a network stopped being accurate once they allowed anyone to get .net, .org or .com domains.
Country-code TLDs have been subverted, with sites like using other country's TLDs than the country they're based out of. .gov/.edu seem to still have integrity, yet it's generally obvious what such an institution is given its name.

The main reason for TLDs to exist is so that different organizations around the world can manage their own little slice of the DNS system. Considering how much this is being abused (or about to be) with governments mandating DNS blocks, this suggests a peer-to-peer solution would be superior, or something managed by a central authority not beholden to any government which has the health of the internet as its primary concern (like the EFF).

We debated this some years back (4, Interesting)

davecb (6526) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371685)

One of the best approaches was to create a TLD for each of the major categories one can get a trademark in. For example, airlines, shipping lines, etc. Then one could have Olympic.Airlines, Olympic.Shipping and so on, without the current problems of the Olympic Organizing Committee getting all the "Olympic"s in the world.

One of my papers on the subject was D. Collier-Brown, On Experimental Top Level Domains, Rev 0, Internet Draft, draft-collier-brown-itld-exper-00.txt, Sept 1996, which may still be findable. Much of the other work seems to have been expunged...

Numerous approaches were debated by the international ad-hoc committee on domain names, but the most profitable to the registrars "won", leading to the current mess. In retrospect, we needed a stringently fair, non-commercial process to make the decision.


Follow the lead of long URLs (2)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371691) This of course would use the .husband TLD, parent to the .her subdomain.

Re:Follow the lead of long URLs (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371907)

This of course would use the .husband TLD, parent to the .her subdomain.

Sounds... kinky?

Same way Twitter did (5, Interesting)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371695)

Some say appending ".com" denotes that it's a web address. Well, Twitter solved similar problems with just one character rather than four: @ for people, # for tags. If we could rewrite history and didn't need to distinguish between government and non-government sites (due to the Internet having grown out of the government), domain names should have adopted a similar magical special character.

Re:Same way Twitter did (1)

blitzkrieg3 (995849) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372369)

That's a bogus argument. You could achieve the same thing by saying "Vist us at http://slashdot/ [slashdot] ", or "On the web at 'slashdot'".

Your (3, Funny)

dakkon1024 (691790) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371733)

.mom What else do you need?

Hmmm..... (1)

gigaherz (2653757) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371747)

Major tier domains (expensive, requiring proof of organization/trademark):
<name>.<culture> (in cases where one country coudl have more than one culture with specific languages, etc)
(certain names mult be disallowed when they collide with lower-tier codes and reserved words)

Middle tier domains (affordable, requiring proof of organization existence and that it's valid for the class):
(where <class> could be 'co', 'org', etc.)

Personal domains (cheaper, requiring valid ID):

Sub-domains of those could be sold by their owners, and certain major domains should be banned. the global namespace should be managed by a non-profit international organization, country namespaces shoudl be managed by the respective governments.

Works fine as it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371765)

Don't see a problem with DNS as it is.

What the fuck happened to slashdot? Half the comments here don't seem to understand how DNS works.

My modest proposal (3, Interesting)

metamatic (202216) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371767)

1. Make domain name registrations non-transferable. That would eliminate the parasites who squat on domains.

2. Make a rule that if you have a domain in one TLD, you can't have the same domain in another TLD. That would eliminate corporate squatting of every single variation of a common word or phrase that they want to own.

Re:My modest proposal (2)

geekboybt (866398) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372217)

1. What prevents the squatter from maintaining control of the domain and "renting" it to someone else?

2. So if I want to use my company's .com for our publicly accessible services and our .net for networking infrastructure, I can't? But if I want and, I'm okay? Seems like an arbitrary restriction that's trivial to get around, but still annoying.

Switcharoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371787)

I would make it by country code only. And, reverse the order:

Use .country-code for almost everything (3, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371817)

I would have a few "international" domains like the existing .int, .eu, and .un, and a country-like domains for organizations that already had country-codes issued to them by the U.N. or a similar organization.

I would then deprecate all other top-level domains like .com, .org, .mil, .edu, etc. and the like, with a decade-long timetable before they are removed. Current registrations would get a free "," "," etc. registration during the transition period. After the transition period, .org, .com, etc. would become invalid and the United States would be free to impose the same restrictions on "legacy",, etc. domains as it imposes on "non-legacy" domains in the same namespace. For example, a year from now it might require that non-legacy domains in .us have a bona fide real-world presence in the United States or its possessions, but it could not impose this on "legacy" domains during the transition period.

It would be up to other countries as to how to govern their own namespaces.

Re:Use .country-code for almost everything (2)

davidwr (791652) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371913)

You may be wondering why I would suggest this:

It would remove the global politics from name registration. The questions of "who gets to control TLDs,: "who gets to control .COM," etc. will be gone, replaced by local/national politics within the various countries' respective CC-type TLDs.

I forgot to mention, .int, .eu, .un, etc. domains would be restricted to official or NGO-type services. Under this system, they could not host privately-controlled domains like To the extend that they do now, those would also have to be transitioned off with a long transition/grace period.

From an implementor's point of view... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371847)

I've done a lot of DNS server work at the code/protocol level, and a lot of serious thinking about the DNS over the years. My take is basically this:

1) The traditional generic TLDs (com/net/org) make a certain amount of sense, especially in the modern world for multi-national interests. Arguably we should be more strict about policies for net (network operators and infrastructure, not random companies) and org (actual non-profit organizations).

2) The ccTLDs also make a ton of sense, keep those.

3) The DNS is meant to be hierarchical. Not just in terms of server lookup hierarchy, but in the sense of informational hierarchy for humans to understand. It's like Area Codes and Country Codes, it has to make sense. .pizza and .pepsi completely break the hierarchy, they're horrible sins committed in the name of the DNS cabal making a quick buck. A lot of people should be tossed in jail for this stupid idea.

4) The protocol and RFCs need serious re-work. I won't repeat all the analysis others have done over the years, except perhaps to point you at DJB's DNS rants, most of which are valid. CNAMEs, the way PTR was handled, the ridiculously stupid compression scheme - all examples of shoddy design, at least in hindsight. All of the early RFCs and implementors also made the huge mistake of muddling up what should be very separate concepts: First there's the 3-way mixup of: DNS the conceptual distributed database, DNS the protocol, and DNS file formats that are private to server implementations. Then there's also the grand mixup of server roles: local non-recursive cache, recursive cache for a network of private clients, public recursive caches and forwarders, and finally true authoritative servers. It was the fact that BIND was the de-facto implementation and routinely mixed all of these roles by default that lead to the mess, and lead to tons of security problems over the years.

5) Security. DNSSEC, which sadly has a lot of traction now, is a complete joke. A proposal more akin to DJB's DNSCurve would be *much* better. The problem with DNSCurve was that it required really ugly NS-record hostnames in order to seamlessly integrate with the existing broken DNS design as smoothly as possible. A proposal combining DNSCurve's actual security mechanisms with simple KEY records would suffice, but needs backing form the DNS Cabal in the IETF, which are already deeply monetarily entrenched in selling DNSSEC to enterprises and governments.

It's really not hard at all to design a replacement for DNS that's better in every way. I've done it at least 20 times lying in bed dreaming, and a few times in practice with real code just for fun. The problem is that the current system is entrenched and nobody's willing to take on the job of getting everyone switched over to a new system, if it's even possible. You'd need to support both protocols in everything for a period of a decade or two, and nobody wants to because the current system just barely continues to function and offers some really clunky, faulty security in the latest update.

AOL keywords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371861)

TLDs have failed. I'm AC now, but have voiced this opinion for quite some time on slashdot with mixed response. "Normal" people do not know what they are. TLDs basically don't exist. Try: or or to go to,, or .com means nothing, but most people think that is the internet thing at the end of the 1st or 2nd part of whatever a URL is. I work with computers at a .org and other computer people here think that is the same as

The new TLDs add nothing to the mix. Most are discredited by users and/or completely unknown. . museum, .name, .biz, .mobi, and .info are simply cheap domains that people buy, but then ditch because nobody knows how to use them. In fact, I did not even know .mobi went live until reading this post. .mobi was under scrutiny of the W3 because it was the first TLD to specifically try to break device independence on the web and at the same time muddy the water with TLDs into another new and failed direction.

Now that the .ly, .fm, .tf, .to, .me and similar former country TLDs are in the mix now, what do the country TLDs even mean anymore? I used to contend that those were the only meaningful TLDs, but now they mean nothing as well now.

I respect the geeky namespace hierarchy that TLDs were intended to originally create. But they are not a hierarchy and have just become something after a . that is randomly applied like a gmail email account can arbitrarily add or remove .'s to their email addresses.

We only need 7 TLDs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371869)

We only need 7 TLDs, we just need to reorganize the web into them accordingly.

One TLD for each of the 7 sins, Greed, Lust, Envy, Pride, etc. Everything fits so nicely.

Re:We only need 7 TLDs (1)

a90Tj2P7 (1533853) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372105)

That'd never work - people and companies would have to focus on one.

Before we do any of that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40371927)

A redesigned DNS protocol. The current DNS protocol is a clunky POS that is showing its age.

I would change the order of domains and sub domain (4, Interesting)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40371945)

I would change the order of domains and sub domains in the url.


It just makes more sense. every other part of the URL is in order order of greatest to least significance. If the url was written with an IP address, the entire thing would be in order of greatest to least significance.

Yes, I know that this is not the question asked. But its what I would do.

Re:I would change the order of domains and sub dom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372229)

Shouldn't the protocol be after port for that to be true, i.e. tld.domain.subdomain:port//protocol://rootfolder/subfolder/document ?

Re:I would change the order of domains and sub dom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372249)

Solving the wrong problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372049)

The problem isn't the domain name system itself but rather how do go from the name of a particular entity to its domain name.

In the fullness of time, the domain name should go the way of the IP address and be a detail that becomes important only to geeks.

No scale (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372099)

There's no scalability in the current system. Any one entity can balkanize the internet by tampering with their root servers.

Here's what I suggest, it's expensive, and sounds looney, but it solves the problem:

1 . Put the "root" DNS server on the moon (and thus out of the reach of anyone going to tamper with it without anyone noticing.)
2. All the geosynchronous GPS/glasnost birds are capable of receiving payload data from the 'root' server as they pass by.
3. All devices capable of receiving GPS/glasnost signals recieve their regular GPS data plus a payload that gives them a list of authorative DNS and e911 servers for their timezone/state/country/city/whatever. Devices not capable of receiving GPS data will receive it from DHCP.
4. When a machine makes a request to a two-word domain, eg "official" and "microsoft", it will query the authorative DNS server to tell them the closest geographical server. When machines are registered with the authoriative DNS servers, they are registered with both their IPv4/IPv6 and their Geographic location (eg local, or remote)
5. If a machine is local, then the shortest geographical route is taken to establish a connection. If a machine is remote, then it's handed off to the authorative DNS server that 'is local' to get the shortest route.

So what you have here is similar to this (or omission of .local is the same as .local if there are not two .'s) local to where you live. So if Microsoft has a CDN node in your local area, you get the content served from the CDN node, and not remote server., is the non-CDN node.

This version of the DNS system is what I call three-word-system. The first two words are"subject-subject", the last word gets rid of the problem of TLDs, by eliminating all of them. You get stuff like this then: = your local dominos = the main website with a list of all dominos.

Nobody "owns" the first two words, rather they are registered based on geographic locality. So nobody gets just "pizza". If you happen to type just one word, you'd get a disambiguation type of page where the local DNS operator lists the closest *.pizza.local domains. Local jurisdictions have jurisdiction over the .local that covers their area. If people want to not deal with their local DNS operator they're free to change their 'local' to another jurisdiction.

Pretty much the idea of reinventing the DNS requires making it more complicated and integrating Geographic location into it. Forget everything else I mentioned above. The grand failure of DNS right now is that CDN's send me to slow nodes because "Canada is Toronto" or "Google is California" when neither of these are particularly good choices. We can fix it, if we abstract DNS in a way that there are no 'root' nodes to deal with. Right now the DNS system just makes Verisign and registars money hand over fist for doing essentially nothing. This should be moved to the locality. If there is no .local then automatically hit the .remote which behaves like the existing DNS system.

My plan: domainname.purpose.language (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372121)

- I would start by removing all country codes - it's the internet, nationality isn't hugely relevant.

- Then add TLDs for each LANGUAGE. Knowing which language a site is in is more useful than where it is, especially with the growing number of non-English websites.

- For each of these, have somewhere between 5 and 10 subdivisions by purpose - no ultra-generic ones. Perhaps .shop (sales websites), .info (tourist , .com (online communities), .news , .xxx, .util (search engines etc) and so on would be suitable. Better names/categories could be found. The categories should be the same for all languages, but named differently so they make sense for the langage in use.

- When someone obtains an address, they get it for all languages. (so if I had google.util.en, I'd also have google.[however .util translates].de, and all other languages]. They must prove that their site fits into the category(ies) in use, so no-one can use .util for a sales-only website.

- To avoid 'buy-every-category-in-case-someone-else-does', no more than one person/company can use the same address. If I have google.util.[lang], no-one else can have[lang], even if it's not in use.

I think that covers it.

Re:My plan: domainname.purpose.language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372209)

Further to Step 1, strip out all the current generic/insanely specific TLDs, too. They're confusing and pointless.

TLDs as they should have been: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372155)

As a description of the site type only. .org(anization), .bank, .museum, .store, .com, .mil, .web, . and so on.
No, there will be no country-code TLDs. At all. That is a subdomain use-case. Whoever decided on that should be actually shot. Now we will never recover.
Also, http://TLD.domain.subdomains. A TLD is the most important part for a reason. Small-endian can "&*@ right off.

If a site has a language-description for Nth level sub-domains, it can be applied automatically by detecting the browser settings.
So, you go to a website, http://store.domain/
Oh hey, what's that, you are English? Here you go, http://store.domain.en-en/ (or and so on)
No more messing around with stupid directory nonsense trying to get to the English site, trying to figure out if they used capitals, mixed case or lower, if they used the standard 2-tier method or just lumping all the languages and dialects in to one parent group. Or trying to figure out where the hell the Language section is on the site, and annoyingly find a Flag page that just assumes you speak one of the languages of many that is almost certainly in MOST countries ever! Countries aren't stuck to one language damn it! Stop using flags!

ALL these TLD zones will be enforced! Enforce 1-domain only for 1 site. No multiple domains, even typos, pointing to your main site.
Stupid people shouldn't be the reason for allowing such nonsense. If you typo and end up losing your account, YOUR DAMN FAULT.
If you have separate parts in your company, such as a search side or store side (google), yes, that is enough to warrant multiple TLDs. (note the difference)

Also, add in a few things for personal use, such as home servers and the like.
It is unenforced. TLD could be www. . Ah, the delicious confusion. But it makes sense since www of now is horrible and a free-for-all.
And it would stand for Was Worst WorldWideWeb.
If that "runs out" of space? www1., etc.

Never going to happen. Not until ICANN are dethroned.
Face it, the only way you will likely see this happen is the UN option. ICANN are corrupt now.
As many of you have already seen recently, there is a whole bunch of scare-tactics being used with the UN-controlled DNS.
Nobody will agree to any of those stupid censoring things even if they try to push them. The internet at large certainly won't!

This is easy. (3, Insightful)

jlv (5619) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372239)

.edu for educational organizations
.com for companies
.org for organizations
.gov for US Federal Gov't
.mil for US military
2-letter TLD using ISO country codes

A clone of Jon Postel to run it all.

Oh, and a firing squad for anyone who tries to add cruft like .info, .name, .pepsi, .microsoft, etc.

Re:This is easy. (1)

jlv (5619) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372251)

Oops, forget: .net for network infrastructure only ;)

No TLDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372253)

Once upon a time they were useful for determining whether the site you were contacting was an educational organization, a military site, or just a commercial entity. These days TLDs are just around for forcing companies to buy domains like Pepsi.zzz for $100,000, lest someone less morally inclined grab the domain and start selling Fifty Shades diarrhea bags to besmirch the name Pepsi. It no longer makes sense to have or Pepsi.zzz when it is all going to the same entity. Now that this has become a disgrace, it seems AOL had it right with keywords.

I say no TLDs at all, or give up the pretense of controlling this and just make it a free-for-all so people can get their .penis or .vag TLDs.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372269)

I'd keep it roughly the same. .com, .net, and .org would be freely registered as they are now.
Countries could still do what they want with their ccTLDs, although 3- second level TLDs would be reserved.
Newer gTLDs would have unremovable restrictions.

I'd allow regional TLDs such as .newyorkcity, .newyork, .seattle, .texas, etc., provided they are at least 4+ characters in length.
I don't know if .ny is taken (as in for New York state), but no, that wouldn't be allowed. All two character TLDs would still be county-restricted.
The second level would have 3- characters reserved. For example, gov.seattle, edu.seattle, meh.seattle, cat.seattle, i.seattle, hi.seattle, would all be reserved.

I'd keep control in the hands of the US Government. I think that's the closest country we get in terms of true freedom of speech, even if it has its problems.

The DNS server is the lookup table. It'd be fun to toy around with it a bit. If I look up, it points me to an IP address. I'd like to see a "dark net" for thirteen character TLDs. So google.justanexample would point to an IP address provided in a private DNS server table. microsoft.qwertyuiopasd would point to an IP address provided in a private DNS server table. That private DNS server would be something totally separate entered in to one's computer, and it would be an understanding that any thirteen character TLD length would use this private DNS server as opposed to the regular one. This way, if the main Internet is ever threatened, there'd be a decentralized one to fall back on without having to toggle back and forth in one's computer's settings and without worry that going to goes to a rogue one instead.
If TLD length is 13 characters, use dark DNS server.
If TLD length is NOT 13 characters, use regular DNS servers.
13 chracters should be long enough to avoid potential issues. I'd say six or seven, but then that'd be a problem with my regional TLD idea. The number 13 has a stigma with it, so hence that choice.

(Also: The whole IPv4 vs. IPv6 issue. I like IPv4 for the simplicity of being able to remember the number. IPv6 is what, 65536^8 ? Eight groups of very large numbers. It has no quick and easy way to say it out loud. I'd think there should have been a better way from the beginning without going overboard. Maybe 256^5 or 1024^4.)

Dump them (1, Interesting)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372287)

Just use the protocol and the path: www/google/adwords. With the right hinting and caching, it doesn't have to be any less efficient than the current system.

Choose anything but enforce the rules (2)

erice (13380) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372347)

No matter you choose to organize the name space, it won't actually be organized that way unless you enforce the rules. If that means that it costs $1000 to register a new name then so be it. This isn't something that should happen very often. Domain registration should be done with care and thought not processed in bulk.

To have a solution you must first define the prob (4, Interesting)

gavron (1300111) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372389)

This didn't start out long. I apologize that it is. If you're easily bored by history I would recommend
reading the first and last paragraphs :)

IP addresses being converted to names has existed for almost 40 years. It started as a file
(hosts.txt) that users all over the ARPANet could download nightly. Usually they all did so at
the same time (midnight, local time) and invariably DDN-NIC (the host with the FTP server
and the file) was overloaded.

In time, it became reasonable to decentralize it. DNS was formed. Paul Mockapetris and many
other intelligent people put great thought into it. DDN-NIC became NIC.DDN.MIL. BRL-AOS
becaome AOS.BRL.MIL and so on. DNS servers became ubiquitous, the DNS root servers
were great, and Rodney Mcdaniel ( and SRI International did a great
job running things.

In time, it became reasonable to decentralize _that_. Many root servers run by many independent
companies (like Paul Vixie's ISC) exist all over the world. The DNS hierarchy was detached from
the ARPAnet (except for pointer records... still all in .ARPA...) and country-codes were adopted.

Now I say 'adopted' because the process of creating a new TLD or gTLD or ccTLD isn't complex.
It's a line in a file. However, the process of getting said line APPROVED by the powers that be
is more complicated.

The ICANN Age:
ICANN was created to [whatever the reason, Karl Auerbach has shown they have clearly gone
outside their mandate and powers] and now they want money. How do you make money when
you're clearly chartered to do ONE THING? You figure out how to create more Blue Sky.

So here we are. The final part of the decentralization. Why final? Because in the beginning
we started with a one-level name: DDN-NIC. Then we went to the hierarchy "tree" model: And now, we are finally changing the hierarchy so the root of the tree is the
father to THOUSANDS of TLDs.

You can argue if it's good or bad. I just look at the history... and know the original problem...
and the reason for the solution... and the solution.

My Opinion:
A rooted tree with thousands of children each having thousands of children is an abomination.
I shudder to think that the DNS server (named or djdns or whatever you use) already use
a relatively "large" cache. The size of this cache at a minimum is a function of the structure
of the DNS tree. A 1000x1000 (TLD+SLD) tree already starts at a million entries. Each one
gets at least an SOA record, which is over half a kilobyte. Add in some NS records and maybe
some MXs and now you have 500MBytes+... just to initialize the cache. Icky poo.

I suppose the evil we know (ICANN) is better than the ITU running the Internet and adding
termination charges for packets. Settlement-free-peering, euro-jerks.

FYI I have sold domain names for profit. One previous poster suggests we "prevent" [prohibit?
criminalize?] domain name transfers. Please note that ARIN [another made up body but one
that adds a lot of value unlike ICANN] prohibits IP address transfers, loans, or sales, except
in specific cases of business mergers where the new entity can show it is worthy of the IP
address space. This has not IN ANY WAY diminished the sale, loan, or transfer of IP address
ranges. I regularly get offers for the space I'm responsible for. When there's a buyer and a
seller... there's a market. My point being -- to get back to domain names -- so long as there's
a buyer and a seller, domain names WILL transfer. The simplest example I can think of is to
register each domain name under a new LLC. Sure, it's $7 for the domain name and $20
for the LLC... but you can then sell the LLC to anyone without it being a domain name transfer.
There are other methods.

ICANN is an abomination and they've done nothing to help the Internet. In every "decision"
they've managed to enrich themselves without regard for what they do (.xxx, and now this.)

TO answer the question:
OP said "How would you redsign the TLD hierarchy"

First, TLDs are not a hierarchy. They are the children of the root of the DNS tree. They are one level,
hence Top-Level-Domain (TLD).

Nit having been picked I think the current system is great. ccTLDs all around, and .com/net/edu/mil/arpa
for the masses who have been around for a while. .biz? chuck it. .xxx? chuck it. .random-other-TLDs? chuck it.

If you have read this far I applaud your patience and perserverance :)

Tucson AZ US

The only way to resolve ownership disputes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372431)

is to have top-level domains that match to jurisdictions, i.e. countries. A country can set its own rules over who is eligible for, set its own arbitration procedures (e.g. two companies in different fields, with the same or similar names), and so on. This allows countries to to establish some trust -- backed by the courts, if they wish -- in web addresses. Or, if they wish, make it a free-for-all (e.g. Tuvalu, as far as I can tell).

If I visit, I am quite confident I will get a (the) company called Sony in Japan, because the Japanese government makes it so. This makes it a valuable 'street address'. I have no idea whether sony.absurd is owned by Sony, or someone absurd; it is value-less.

Simple solution (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#40372499)

Don't you just hate it when solutions are simple. Just get rid of all the root servers. Let anyone with enough DNS brains run their own root server. Let there be a free market for which root server is used. ISPs will provide a default root server to their customers, who can simply just change to another if they wish.

Oh, I hear a complaint already ... it will fragment the internet. But that's the whole idea. It keeps the UN and governments from taking over.

well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40372509)

I'd put U and I together

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