The Importance of the Dot:
ICANN Says No to Dotless Domains

Robyn Norgan
Aug 21, 2013

As you may know, every website address includes a dot. When you go to register a domain name, you can't just register one word or a few words together and be done with it. Instead, you have these things called domain extensions to deal with; the most popular of which is .COM.

There are many domain extensions to choose from, and last year the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees the global Internet system, decided to add even more to the list. After receiving over 1900 applications for new domain extensions, they've been sifting through all of them and deciding which ones to move forward with actually releasing to the public. Several domain extensions have already received the green light from ICANN, but it was recently announced that Google's request for so-called "dotless" domains did not.

So what does this mean? It means that Google won't be able to offer users a domain like http://search to bring up the search engine of their choice. According to ICANN, the use of dotless domains can have "security and stability risks." Security and stability is certainly important, but I think in the long run this can be overcome, which could mean that the issue of dotless domains will be revisited again. Either way, I still think the biggest obstacle to any new domain extension or even dotless domain is the general pulic's lack of understanding of the importance of the dot.

The dot sort of gets lost in the domain name, doesn't it? The reality is that many people don't really think about whether a domain is a .COM or a .NET or even a .CO.UK. In fact, part of the reason .COM has remained so popular is due to this lack of understanding. For years domain investors made their money off of type in traffic from people who assumed the website they were looking for was on a .COM. This obviously made .COM very valuable, and today .COM boasts over 110 million registrations with the next most popular domain extension, .NET, at just 15 million.

I'm not sure people would have understood the idea of a dotless domain. It would have definitely been interesting to see Google's marketing plan for these domains. In a way, having Google market these dotless domains may have resulted in people taking more notice of the dot, which actually would have been a good thing for the whole industry. Even with their request for dotless domains shot down, Google still has more skin in the game as they also applied for several domain extensions including .LOL, .DOCS, and even .GOOGLE. Hopefully, the fact that large well-known companies like Google have applied for new domain extensions will mean that eventually the general public will start to take more notice of not only the dot itself, but what's to the right of the dot.

Circles may be pointless, but dots aren't!
Math Shapes Pun - Pointless Circle, But Important Dot - No Dotless Domains

Main gif courtesy of, which features puzzles, riddles, and brain teasers like this color illusion. Follow the movement of the rotating pink dot with your eyes and the dots will remain only one color, pink. But if you stare at the black + in the center, the moving dot will turn green. Did it work for you? Tell us in the comments or let us know what you think about the idea of dotless domains.

Post by Robyn Norgan