The president of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has declared his support for the creation of new range of members-only Internet domains, in a bid to curb “cyber squatting”.
Stuart Lynn says that by making some of the new top level domains such as .biz or .info into members-only domains, there would be less opportunity for unscrupulous organisations to acquire them for dubious activities.
Typically, those organisations would buy a well-known domain name either for running or promoting porn sites or for “cyber squatting”, buying domain names and asking for large sums of money to hand them over. Non-commercial organisations such as schools and museums already enjoy members-only domains.
ICANN approved seven new unrestricted domain names in November 2000 in response to concerns that desirable suffixes such as .com and .net were becoming increasingly scarce.
However, the new domains soon ran into trouble. Afilias, a group of domain-name sellers in charge of the .info suffix, found itself bombarded by individuals with false trademarks attempting to buy up popular domains such as www.finance.info. Almost a quarter of all .info domains sold may have been acquired using false data, say analysts.
Lynn believes that, by forcing candidates to prove they will be using the new domains for their “announced purpose”, there will be less opportunity for that kind of behaviour.