.com, .org, .net, etc.

Who decides? What, basically, is the difference?

.com stands for commercial
.org stands for non profit organization
.net I think stands for Interanet (a company’s network that is connected to the internet)

you forgot
.mil military sites
.gov government (non military) sites
.edu collages and other schools

who decides? well no one realy but internic.net keeps track of them so that there are no duplicates. hope this is of some help.

Teeming millions to the rescue. You were just ready to pounce on that one, weren’t you? Many thanks for info.

Isn’t it Intranet not Interanet?

It is intranet, but generally speaking, intranets are not exposed to the outside world, so the company can have a completely arbitrary naming scheme for their internal nodes. The internal nodes where I work are somename.division.company.com, but it doesn’t have to be anything so stuctured, so long as the internal DNS servers can translate a name into the numeric IP address. The only time the InterNIC would get involved is when you need name resolution for the Internet at large.

Someday we’ll look back on this, laugh nervously, and change the subject…

The domain .net was intended for sites having something to do with maintenance or operation of the Internet.

There are also country domains, two-letter abbreviations like .ca (Canada, of course) and .fi (Finland).

Until recently, domain names were controlled by the US government through an agency called the InterNIC. That was privatized a while back, and now there are several ‘Domain Name Services’ (always spelled ‘DNS’) out there.

Try your local library for one of the many histories of the Internet. Interesting story!

Bob the Random Expert
“If we don’t have the answer, we’ll make one up.”

Just to clarify something, you all are saying no one really controls the domains. For example if I wanted Mark.Com but it was taken I could register for Mark.Org (if it was avail) even though I was running a for profit organization. Is this right? Could I take an edu,gov, or mil too (if the above is correct)?

Also why don’t they just put out a
.xxx(for adult only)
site so that way it would be easy to limit children’s access. I am assuming it would be a lot easier to block out a whole domain than a bunch of sites. And since they all “claim” they don’t want people under 18 looking at them the owners of those sites shouldn’t have a problem.

Yes, this is true. As a matter of fact, Network Solutions (the private company contracted by the NSF to do domain registration as a part of InterNIC) actually indirectly encourages this sort of behavior. If you use their web interface to begin registration of, oh say, blahblah.com, they encourage you to register blahblah.org and blahblah.net at the same time.

Nope. InterNIC controls .edu, but they actually do check on these to make sure that they are going to real educational institutions.

.gov and .mil are not controlled by InterNIC at all. They are controlled by purely internal government agencies.

This idea has been tossed around, and it might happen. One thing that you need to keep in mind tho is that when the common InterNIC top-level domains (com org net edu) were adopted, the Internet was still primarily controlled and used in the United States. Since then, much work has been going on to develop a centralized international organization to control domain and address allocation. It might be an inapt time for InterNIC to decide to add new top-level domains unilaterally right now. They could though.

Well, InterNIC still exists as the organization responsible for com, net, org and edu. InterNIC was created by the NSF, but most of the execution of the duties of InterNIC have been contracted to the private company Network Solutions.

At the moment there aren’t any companies competing with Network Solutions, but their will be. InterNIC itself is intended to eventually defer to a fledgling international organization called ICANN, which will eventually control domain registration and address assignment for the entire world.

I should clarify that last statement. This doesn’t mean that everyone in the world will be connecting to an ICANN website to register their domain. ICANN will have the top authority, but I’m sure that most of the work will be delegated to various organizations around world. Most likely InterNIC will go on largely as it does now under the authorization of ICANN.

rjk said:

Hailing from Canada myself, I have, of course, been in contact with many of those sites. But I don’t recall having seen any “.us” for some strange reason. Probably just didn’t strike me.

Again, many thanks to the Dopers for info so far, and that to come.

There’s been several proposals for adding new top-level domains, including .xxx for porn, .store for online stores, .nom for personal web sites…

There’s very few .us sites because, very early in the web’s history, .com became the de facto standard for commercial entities (so much so that IE and Netscape both had features where one typed a word in the location bar, and the browser assumed you meant word.com). The .us has became an internet ghetto, basically, signifying that you weren’t on the net early enough to grab the equivalent .com or .org.

Each US state has a webpage with a “.us” at the end.
e.g. http://www.state.ny.us/

Oh, I can’t wait until we can trademark our web site names too.

The .us domain is not administered by InterNIC either. It is run out of USC in Marina del Rey, CA.

I think there are two reasons for the lack of popularity of “.us”. The first reason is just as hansel said. The InterNIC domains had a lot of momementum in the early days. The second reason is that .us has a strict geography based hierarchy. For example, if The Straight Dope was under .us, it would look something like


“.us” hasn’t whored itself out like the country of Tonga did (with “.to”), so we don’t see domains like “visit.us” and “yay.for.us”. Not that I blame Tonga. They are a small country, and it has probably been a valuable financial opportunity for them.

I assume that the registration procedure for a .us domain is similar to what it is in canada, where the domain you may have(.ca, sk.ca, regina.sk.ca) is dependent on the level (federal, provincial, or municipal) at which you’re a legal entity. Getting .ca requires being incorporated, for profit or not, at the federal level; get .sk.ca (Saskatchewan, Canada) requires a legal existence at the provincial level. The municipal level may be had by all.

That’s a WAG about the U.S., but it’s the way it is in Canada.

Undead, you missed Tuvalu, .tv, which I think did the same sort of thing. I remember it mentioned in Wired (IIRC) quite a while back. Do a search at www.wired.com if you want to see the full story.

Bob the Random Expert
“If we don’t have the answer, we’ll make one up.”

Wow! Those are expensive! $1000 startup + $500/yr! Still it seems to me that TV show promoters would jump on that. I wonder why I haven’t run across any actual sites so far. Hmm.

Interesting that Tuvalu is very close to Tonga! :slight_smile:

Re what hansel said about .ca and .us—

Yes, I think it is much along those lines, but a little bit more strict. I don’t think that even a national company can escape choosing a local hierarchy under “.us”. Perhaps the “.us” folks feel comfortable being this strict because they know that most real US commercial naming will be under “.com”.