Making better domain names

Since the Internet was made available to the public around 1995, millions of domain names have been registered. Here are few thoughts on how domain names can be improved:

Why does everyone insist on writing domain names all in the same case? This only makes them harder to read. Domain names aren’t case sensitive; both and will get you to the same place. Much like the German language that concatenates (combines) individual words into single words, the Internet requires domain names have only letters and numbers, no spaces or punctuation. Even with this limitation, simply adding proper case inside a domain name makes it much easier to read.

Compare the following example; which form is easier to read?

There is actually a precedent for writing domain names in the style of mixed case (upper/lower case) and its called “EBNF” or Extended Backus-Naur Form. This style was proposed by Swedish programmer and Pascal language inventor Niklaus Wirth.

Another idea that is frequently overlooked is the use of hyphens/dashes in domain names. While many popular domain names are already registered, the same domain name with hyphens can be readily available. Here’s an example of how dashes can produce a new domain name:

In addition to descriptive names, we recommend registering the business phone number as a domain name. For example, we have registered the following domain name:

In a world where anyone can buy a domain name, its likely that a large phone company will eventually register all phone numbers as domain names. As of 2011, there are 76 million domain names registered in the USA, with another 25 million names registered outside the US. If all US phone numbers were registered, it would add another 762 million domain names to the Internet.

Another useless tradition that should be retired is the use of saying or writing “WWW” in front of a domain name. While there was a time when most web servers would only recognize a web-site with the triple-W pre-pended to the domain name, web servers now widely recognize domain names without the triple W prefix.

Also, saying triple W in front of a name that ends with a top level domain suffix (.COM, .ORG, etc.) is duplicitous. Since everyone understands that is a domain because it includes the .COM ending, its really not necessary to say: Let’s all agree to retire the WWW from print and speech and just say the domain name and suffix.

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One Response to Making better domain names

  1. Mike L says:

    There are over 762 million phone numbers in the United States alone. is registering every phone number in the US as a domain name, using the .us TLD extension. We have 50 million numbers registered, and are adding 60,000 every day.

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