Words by c.z.robertson

Thoughts on Domain Names

1999-11-06 02:00:00 UTC

A few days ago I read something by Dan Bricklin (the inventor of VisiCalc) about trademarks and domain names. I was thinking about it last night and I was struck by a very interesting thought. Domain names are a fundamentally broken concept. If you have a directory on your hard disk called, say, /TowerRecords there is nothing that requires you to store only Tower Records related content in it. You could put anything you like in that directory, be it favourite recipes, pictures of your cat, or whatever. Handing over control of names to a single body (or a small number of bodies) is a stupid idea, because each user's preferred resolution of a naming conflict will be different. For example, some people would like the word McDonalds to refer to the fast food chain, someone else might want it to refer to their friends Mr and Mrs McDonald. Why not have a system for domain names in which anyone can choose which words refer to which IP addresses? This could be done with a system of various local and public directory services. It appears that someone else has already had pretty much the same thoughts.