TCP/IP version 6 is designed to allow squidillions (that’s the official measure mind you) of Internet addresses. Designed for scalability one of it’s features is to allow every conceivable device that wants to be connected, to be in fact connected. Numbers scale perfectly, need more room, sure no worries, we’re now 2 to 128 (squidillions) instead of 2 to 32 and now every one and thing can have it’s own static IP address and NAT falls by the wayside.
What’s obvious here is that human memory isn’t infinitely scalable so we don’t remember these things and prefer to not be slaves to the machines. This may of course change in the next 100 years and I go on the record now to endorse and welcome our new machine overlords. In the meantime, if we’re still loosing thinks like our keys, wedding rings, and yes, physical money in the 21st century then the humans aren’t the ones going to do the changing in the short term. So what’s the answer, words, a 5000 yr old tradition.
Have you ever played 20 questions? It’s possible under this simple game with a complete stranger with 20 questions, in most cases less, via simple yes and no answers to identify a common element. In fact it’s such an easy thing that computers are trying to get into the action. Mapping words, English predominantly, to numbers obviously is unscalable. There are inherent limitations when you remove context and on top of this we have a rigid hierarchy to which you have to adhere to. Ultimately governmental regulation means that humans with ideals and their machinations define what constitutes valid and invalid names. There have been attempts at alternative more liberal registries but support from vendors is somewhat inevitably lacking.
When I was researching my domain these regulations and then sub regulations in individual countries mean that on top of an inherently unscalable concept, restrictions like trademark law and local government restrictions meant that the limited pool has given rise to what I’m terming the lolcat Internet phenomenon.
If you’ve interested the rules are here : http://icanhascheezburger.com/how-to-makes-lol-pix/
I ended up with .com and may buy the .net to round these things out. I’m in Australia so buying the .com.au which would have been more appropriate but the rules conspire against it. It’s also much more expensive than .net and .com. The rules basically mean if I wanted a .com.au I would have needed to satisfy some quite restrictive rules. EG an ABN [Australian Business Number], Registered business name that maps to the domain … For more info see : http://www.domainnameregistration.com.au/rules.htm
I may start a business on this domain for some software ideas I have so a .com.au would have been appropriate. Under Australian rules I need to have all the above things just to even consider registering a name. An ABN is relatively easy to get (I do in fact already have one and yes I’m late with my BAS) and can be had online without having to talk to anyone. The remaining things start to require certain structures and other people, cosigners, company secretaries, trademarks, more registration; basically the establishment of a business. In this way the Australian system in my opinion acts to squash innovation and makes the .com.au artificially scarce hence more expensive. This tends to mean that the .com is the most appropriate and pretty much a catch all. I’d be interested to find out if this acted to quash startup establishment in Oz compared to somewhere more lenient like the US.
So what do we do while we wait for the singularity and numbers gain the supremacy they deserve? Well not much and as long as these things remain in bureaucracy evolved from the last century, .com and .net are about it really and we celebrate the LOLCat Internet.
The reason I write this of course is that I’ve decided to add my voice to the maelstrom and picking a domain that was both meaningful to me and hopefully readers was a tad trickier than expected. I ended up using http://instantdomainsearch.com/ which was invaluable.