Alternative To Domains

The evidence that there is a problem with DomainNames? is the existence of sites such as and

AndrewMcMeikan: Here is my proposal

An alternative to DomainNames? is going back to numbers. Telephone works well with numbers, pretty much all over the world. At the beginning, the telephone system used Names too, if you are younger then 60, just ask granny ;-) When the telephone system grew, it was switched to numbers. The big advantage of numbers, they are used in more countries and languages than ASCII text. Thus, more people could get along with a single address system. We would get rid of most of the disputes. OK some will remain.

Some people claim, it is easier to memorize names than numbers. Every browser has a bookmark file where everybody is free to connect any name or word to the number one wants to memorize (e.g., = parents or 555.666.77.8 = Bookstore Amazon).

Switching to numbers looks weird at the beginning. But it would work, as we already have directories like the white and yellow pages, we have directories, search engines, meta search engines, etc.

Dial 1-800-FLOWERS

But that only works if there is a number-to-letter convention.

In fact, I think phone numbers should be replaced by letters. Phone numbers are technical details of the phone systems, and as such, the users should not have to worry about them. -- OleAndersen

Domain names are a valuable LayerOfIndirection. I can change which machine - which IP - a service is on, and by updating its DNS records, the rest of the world barely notices.

Agreed. We switched to a new area code last year, the second time since I've lived in San Diego. (714 -> 619 -> 858) Additionally I'll be moving in a few months, and so far each time I've moved I've had to get a new home number. It's lame.

The problem is more general than just domains. For example, a (very incomplete) web directory lists three different people with my exact same name in New York State alone. With lower connectivity, this wasn't a problem as a person looking for me specifically was unlikely to run into the others. The greater connectivity of people today (largely due to the internet) reveals the problem with degeneracy in human naming conventions, creating the same kind of conflict as with domain names. With over 6 billion people, each person could replace their name with a ten-digit number, but that's no fun. I have no idea what a good solution would be, but adding more names to people (like adding more top-level domains) seems unlikely to be popular or effective. -- AndyPierce (one of the many)

It should be illegal to give anyone a name that's already assigned. This might require the invention of new names, and it would upset some people, but it would not only solve the problem you mention but also eliminate the scourge of waves of people named after pop stars and prominent sportspeople. What more could one ask? -- GarethMcCaughan (one of the few, with tongue firmly inserted in cheek)

There are already some things that can help disambiguate: nicknames, geographical titles, and earned or chosen sobriquets.

But Internet hosts are already identified by numbers. You're free to use the IP address of any host you wish to access, if you want. No one is forcing you to use "" -- you can use the numeric IP address instead.

But it is also possible to host multiple web servers on a single IP address, and the web server looks in the header to determine which site is being requested, so not perfect for some small volume hosted sites who use this IP saving feature.

It is also possible to set up your own NameServer, and implement your own mapping of names->numbers. So if you want WikiWiki to reside under:
where the top-level domain .int means "interesting", just edit your /etc/hosts (or equivalent if not on *nix) and go along. Set up your own NameServer and convince others to look up names in your NameServer first. Decide for yourself who earns the domain -- StephanHouben
forget for the moment that ".int" is already a valid TLD reserved for international treaty organizations (e.g.

This is extraordinarily easy, and in fact could be transparent to the end user. All it would require is getting ISPs to set their name resolvers to do lookups on the alternative NameServers. Since most people who connect to the Internet use their ISP's NameServers to resolve names, most end users wouldn't have to do anything to enjoy the new domains.

For sanity, there would have to be some rule that prevented the same TLDs from appearing in these alternative name spaces. And ISPs likely wouldn't appreciate if everyone with a business model came to them asking to be included in the list of alternative NameServers. -- JohnPassaniti

Very true and this is why the alternative root servers are not getting much use (aside form ICANN strong arm tactics), collisions are already occurring (.biz) and will only get worse in the future. The only way to avoid collisions is to all agree to the one UniversalNameSpace, that will only happen if it is a lot fairer than it is now. FirstComeFirstServed? seems the only way to do that and forget about TradeMarks and other IntellectualProperty rights in that space. There are several possibilities layering over the top of the net now (FreeNet, MojoNation, etc..) perhaps once something like this solves the problem we won't care about DomainNameDisputes? as the DomainName will become unimportant when the data is distributed across multiple hosts. Then it will be some other type of dispute (key name?) but hopefully a fair policy will relegate that out the way. -- AndrewMcMeikan

But it would be near impossible to convince big ISPs to adopt which would mean that we would be leaving out all the AOL use...oh, hmmmm. -- GregWiley?

Use certificate FingerPrint?s. This allows a site to change its ip freely, because the DNS system can easily confirm that the requestor is who they say they are.

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