2 thoughts on “The Transition, In Two Headlines”

  1. I agree, John — and it’s interesting to note that ICANN is now in the process of once and for all sealing off the “open” space Internet.

    Esther Dyson, a very knowledgeable whom I am very proud to consider a colleague (even though she argued against the proposition that Google violates its “Don’t Be Evil” motto — see http://gaggle.info/post/115/a-tale-of-3-audiences-google-violates-its-dont-be-evil-motto — but I guess she did so entirely as “academic exercise” ;)… Esther has long been an adamant and steadfast advocate for the privatization of the domain name system — and now it appears to be happening… “finally“?

    I think the question of whether it’s “too late” or “too early” is moot. For all practical purposes, the “traditional” publishing industry never had the equivalent of generic domains available at little or no cost. The generic TLDs will from now on be known as the “open spaces” that were created during the first days of the Internet (actually — in this case: the world-wide web) for the “little man” (and the “little woman”). Never — never — during the era of print was it possible to open a global publishing house anywhere on Earth for the measly annual rent of a small meal (and note that each TLD has enough space for an immensely vast number of domains — about 1 googol, to be exact).

    In the future, the rest of the Internet will henceforth be developed by privately held publishing houses and enterprises. Basically, the rest of the DNS will essentially be trademarked — essentially it will be “governed” by the “owners” of the respective trademarks / brand names. ICANN, therefore, is now in the process of becoming PTO 2.0 — and/or (perhaps) both it and WIPO together will govern “Dot 2.0” (“Dot” is the name I use to refer to the “language of the Internet’s “Domain Name System” — aka “DNS”).

    So while it is true that we will in the coming years experience a resurgence of the publishing industry governed by private enterprises, I agree with Esther that it would wrong to prevent private development of online publishing altogether. The (somewhat academic) question (well, at least “somewhat” academic to those of us who will not live long enough to see a “somewhat” conclusive answer) is: what will become more widely accepted? I think one of the prime examples will be the “online supermarkets” (such as Ebay or Alibaba) — will they trademark their own space and then force users to follow it’s own “global” rules, or will such multinational corporations accommodate users in each of the countries they operate in according to the laws of that country?

    Note, BTW, that such differences in TLDs already exist among TLDs today — which is why Ebay.DE is so successful (i.e., because the German government affords users far more security — in other words “transparent” and “democratic” government — than other governments).

Leave a Reply