New Top Level Domains Considered Harmful (and stupid)

ICANN did it again, they approved two new top-level domains (TLDs) that no one actually wants or needs. The new TLDs this time around are .jobs and .mobi. These, especially the first, rival .museum and .coop in sheer stupidity. Amazingly, both passed the vote 10-0. There were two abstentions, one of whom was Joi Ito, who was recently appointed to the board.

Much like the last round of new TLDs, these new ones are both web-specific. The first, .jobs, is meant for job-related web sites, while .mobi is meant for web sites containing information meant to be viewed on handheld, or mobile, devices. A couple of the more obvious problems with this are:
  1. Top-level domains are meant to describe the network that uses them, not the content of a web site that happens to live on that domain. The web is only one part of the internet.
  2. Regarding .mobi specifically, the entire point of the web is that it is not platform- or device-specific. It shouldn’t matter what kind of device you’re viewing a web site on, a properly designed site should work fine on anything from a large desktop monitor to a PDA to a screen reader used by the blind.
Regarding that last point, Tim Berners-Lee, who invented HTTP and the web back in the early 1990s, has a bit to say in an article titled New Top Level Domains Considered Harmful, which was written when .mobi was first proposed earlier this year.

I don’t even know where to begin about .jobs. I don’t understand the thinking that the relatively few web sites dedicated to job-hunting somehow warrant their own top-level domain. I’m sure will be registered, but it will just redirect you to, their established name and site. Likewise, ibm.jobs1 will be picked up by IBM, but it will just redirect to their existing employment information at or whatever they have currently. In other words, the only people who will actually benefit from this are the people who get paid to register .jobs domains.

1. I first wrote but decided to head off the Steve.Jobs jokes before they started.


kscaldef says: is certainly not the worst possibility here. Someone is going to make a big chunk of money off and