Why I believe 1 and 2 character domains should be allowed in .INFO

I posted this to the ICANN comments. If you feel strongly one way or another about 1-2 character domains being released in .INFO, I encourage you to comment as well. Here is a link to the information on how to participate (deadline March 20, 2010).

I have been pleased to see the trend of the relaxation of restrictions, at the second level, of 1 and 2 character domains.

Afilias’ proposal to allocate 1 and 2 character .info domains looks prudent and responsible. The use of RFP / Proposal and other careful allocation plans that they have identified seem smart and well thought. I believe they should be allowed to do this.

Additionally, these domains can add benefit to the community through their use and responsible allocation, as presented.

Here are three reasons to allow 1 and 2 character domains to be released:

1] Six other gTLDs have had these restrictions lifted and have since began allocation of the names.
The TLDs are .BIZ, .CAT, .COOP, .MOBI,. NAME, and .PRO. There is no reason that .INFO should not be treated equally, given the method with which they intend to responsibly allocate these names.

Actually it is 7 but the .JOBS request wasn’t something I counted.

Essentially, though, ICANN has previously approved requests from 7 other gTLD registries related to 1-2 character domain names:

2] Restriction of single character domains in gTLDs in general is a concept worth evolving from.

The act of restricting single characters is a dated concept that was put in place as a placeholder, so that these would be available to horizontally expand the namespace at one point and do registrations at the third level in the gTLDS.

This plan and action never practically occurred. I understand the conceived plan was to have registrations happen under a.com, b.com, j.net at the third level to help move past the need to add new TLDs as quickly. Though a good concept in principle, the plan came after some legacy allocations had already happened of single character domains in com, net, and org (CNO).

Attempting such horizonal expansion would not be possible in an elegant manner with a portion of the single character domains allocated in CNO. Clawing these back from registrants to attempt horizontal expansion of the namespace is something that would be
sharply unwise. And thus the plan stalled. And this was many years ago.

We since have 2 (and god willing soon more) rounds releasing new TLDs.

Between the premise of the restrictions and why they were made and the introduction of new TLDs, the restriction on single character SLD is no longer practically justified.

While I respect that there was good intentions and a smart idea behind the ‘why’ of reserving these at the first level such restrictions would be made, it seems a fair time to let go of this restriction now that over a decade has passed without the plan being re-visited, and there have been solutions to the ‘problem’ it was intended to solve that have rendered this restriction worth a revisit.

3] The 2 character limit seems to be in place for ccTLD / ISO 3166-1 list(s)

This is a concept that is wise at the root level. With a four character TLD, there is very little if any likelihood that .INFO, 2 character names whois be confused with a ccTLD. For example, it seems to me unlikely that ie.info would be mistaken for a .ie domain name.

With respect to 2 character restrictions, these seem to also be a legacy restriction that is worth revisiting to determine if it is appropriate in general in new TLDs, but given that Afilias has identified a fairly responsible manner of allocation, the restriction seems to be worth eliminating in .info.

I see no reason not to approve lifting the 1-2 character restrictions, and I encourage the board to allow the release of these names.