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Wouldn’t it be great to own a domain name that’s also a popular word?

Domain Name List Is Dwindling
By Declan McCullagh
Source
Date: 14th April 1999

Wouldn’t it be great to own a domain name that’s also a popular word? Your site could be an instant classic like amazon.com or broadcast.com. Or sex.com or news.com.

Well, forget it. You don’t stand a chance. Start-ups, squatters, and speculators already have bought up all the Internet’s prime real estate.

A Wired News investigation found that the .com versions of nearly all popular words have been taken. Of 25,500 standard dictionary words we checked, only 1,760 were free.

And those were hardly winners. Who really wants to pay good money for maggoty.com or gluttonous.com? No smart entrepreneur has yet decided to lug around encumbrance.com or puzzle out what should go up at eigenfunction.com.

The result: The once-fierce pace of domain name registration is slowing. In the last month, only about 100 new dictionary-word .com domains have been snatched up.

The domains added to InterNIC’s database since 20 March include agitate.com, horrify.com, measle.com, soggy.com, shorten.com, cravat.com, impudent.com, and satiric.com.

Making the search for a good .com more difficult are free email services using common words. Time-Warner’s Pathfinder site offers free and fee-based email addresses at dozens of domains, from iname.com and doctor.com to resourceful.com and priest.com.

The investigation also revealed some glitches in the domain name database maintained by Network Solutions. It lists alive.com as available for purchase, but the Web site is still accessible — and has been since October 1995. Network Solutions did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Recently critics have begun attacking the company even more bitterly than usual, claiming its government-granted monopoly on .com, .net, and .org make it unresponsive to customers. On Monday, the Aberdeen Group, an analysis group, published a damning report after Network Solutions yanked its domain name.

Some frustrated Web-site owners have been forced to be inventive. Instead of matrix.com or thematrix.com, the producers of the eponymous movie picked whatisthematrix.com.

Tom Edwards, founder of an Internet broadcast company, said finding a good name took a while. “We were looking for something that was trademark-free and available,” he said. “Even a year and a half ago, it was tough then. I can’t imagine what it’s like now.”

“We had a list of about a thousand different names we went through,” he said. “There were quite a few that we were interested in and were taken.” He ultimately decided on thesync.com.

For years some Internet experts — and some profiteers — have demanded more top-level domains, such as .biz and .inc, to supplement .com. Nothing happened at the time, but the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently took the first steps to make that happen.

Last month ICANN finalized the structure of its “Domain Name Supporting Organization.” Some participants believe that decisions on how many new top-level domains there will be and which ones to add will be made by the end of the summer.

In the meantime, we’ll have to be inventive. For instance, perfidy.com is taken, but you can still get perfidious.com — that is, if you want it.

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