July 15, 2013, 12:13 PM — Google's chances of obtaining the "http://search" domain name are shrinking after several committees affiliated with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently warned that dotless domain names could be harmful to the Internet.
Over the weekend, Subramanian Moonesamy, one of the participants in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) issued his opinion in a memo about dotless domains, saying, among other things, that application protocols may have trouble processing them. The memo can be discussed among the broader IETF membership, spokesman Greg Wood said Monday, adding that he couldn't immediately comment on the official IETF opinion in this matter. Earlier in the week, the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) issued its own warning about dotless domain names.
Google has shown interest in the dotless "http://search" domain in a letter sent to the ICANN board in April, in which it requested permission to expand its application for ".search" to run that generic top-level domain (gTLD) as a dotless domain. The letter was sent by the Charleston Road Registry, which Google owns.
"Google intends to operate a redirect service on the 'dotless' .search domain (http://search/) that, combined with a simple technical standard will allow a consistent query interface across firms that provide search functionality, and will enable users to easily conduct searches with firms that provide the search functionality that they designate as their preference," Google said in the letter.
However, if domains like this were to be used, they would not work as intended by Top Level Domain (TLD) operators in the vast majority of cases, the IAB said in an advisory published last week in which it strongly discouraged the use of these domain types.
In a standard system setup as recommended by the IETF, dotless domain names could be used as shortcuts to hosts within a local administration, the IAB said. They could be used, for example, for an intranet zone.
Users do not expect to be referred to the Internet when they enter a dotless domain, the IAB added.
Because dotless domains will not behave consistently they are potentially confusing for Internet users and can erode the stability of the global DNS, the IAB said.