Sunday, December 16, 2001

New names coming for Web sites




By Rhonda Abrams
Gannett News Service

        Are you frustrated trying to find just the right name for your Web site? You now have two new options: .info and .biz. But should you use them?

        A bit of background: The Internet naming system is based on Top Level Domains, which are indicated by suffixes and are meant to indicate the type of Web site. The first ones were .com (commercial), .org (organization), .net (network), .edu (education), .gov (government) and .mil (military).

        Because the Internet was originally designed to enable military and government communication systems to survive a nuclear attack — not as the place to conduct everyday business — no one ever imagined we'd run out of .com names. To respond to this need, the Internet's governing body authorized additional top level domains. Two of these are now available:

        • .info, for any purpose

        • .biz, to indicate the site is a business.

        Coming soon are two others:

        • .name, to be used for an individual's Web site. All sites will follow a required pattern of first name.lastname.name.

        • .pro for specific professions.

        Just because these new suffixes are now available, it doesn't mean you should rush out and get one. It will take time before customers or other users become familiar with these new extensions.

What you can't do

        What won't you be able to find with these new top level domains?

        • Very popular names. If you thought you missed out on your chance to get flowers.com or shop.com, you've also missed out on your opportunity to get flowers.biz or shop.biz. These types of generic names were preregistered by those who already have highly valuable Web sites and want to protect them or by cyber-squatters who hope they'll be able to sell them.

        • Trademarked names. Don't think you're going to be able to own mcdonalds.biz or nike.info. The trademark holder can keep you from using it.
       

Possible uses

        What are these new suffixes good for?

        • A straightforward but uncommon name. If you want a name that was already taken as a .com site, you may be able to find it with a .biz or .info suffix.

        • A name you'll use with only a few people. If you can easily teach people your correct address, you shouldn't have a problem.

        • A name a competitor might use. If you're afraid your competitor might use the .biz or .info variation of your company's Internet address, you might want to snap it up first.

        • A name you've got a lot of money to promote. If you've got a huge advertising budget, you can get customers to remember just about anything.

        If you're trying to decide whether or not to register a new name, here's my advice:

        • If you can find a reasonable .com name, use it. Customers are used to .com addresses.

        • If you have a few extra dollars, go ahead and register a .biz or .info name. Verisign (www.netsol.com/en—US/) is running a special ($45 for two years registration) on these new suffixes.

        Only time will tell whether we'll all get used to checking domain suffixes.

       Write Rhonda Abrams at 555 Bryant St, No. 180, Palo Alto, CA 94301.
       

       



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