Made in the USA: The World Wide Web

ByABC News
June 5, 2006, 3:39 PM

June 5, 2006 — -- "Made in the USA" is the tag the World Wide Web has worn since its inception, through U.S.-centric domain names like .com and .gov. So why isn't the Internet reflecting our technically saavy global world by adding a new generation of domain-names? Is Washington worried about losing its control of the Web?

As the World Wide Web evolves, many expect the use of top-level domain names (the codes at the end of Web addresses used as identifiers) to expand the way it organizes and catalogs topics, eventually even broadening to include other languages with different alphabets.

However, in the most recent round of domain-name applications, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) gave a pass only to a handful of names: .jobs, .mobi, .aero and .travel. Other more edgy, more international names were rejected. Among those: .xxx, .post, .asia and .mail. ICANN also gave a no-go to about half of the newly proposed generation of top-level domain names.

The argument for creating a new generation of domain names is that it will make the Web easier to navigate. Currently, there are 18 top-level domains that have gained ICANN's approval. One of those is .travel -- a new top-level name servicing the global travel and tourism community -- which earned the official top-level domain stamp of approval in May 2005.

Tralliance Corp. operates the .travel domain. It took Tralliance $50,000 just to apply for the top-level domain through ICANN and five years of Tralliance's attention to the project to gain the approval.

As far as Tralliance is concerned, waiting for ICANN to approve .travel was well worth the wait. The domain name has registered tens of thousands of names to the site, primarily tied to provinces in Canada.

Ron Andruff of Tralliance said the Internet should allow more top-level domains into the World Wide Web and do it at a faster rate.

"Google is the first to admit it can only catalog 5 percent of the Internet," he said.

It may be that there's more of an upside than a downside when it comes to allowing new names into the market.

"It's the logical expansion of the Internet," he said. "Cataloging will take you more efficiently and rapidly to the information you need."