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Spare a thought for the newer TLDs

ICANN has been releasing new top level domain names for the last five years. So why are they treated with such distrust from web and mail apps alike?

Case in point, last summer, several registrants of .coop domains got in touch saying that all of a sudden their emails were being rejected as spam. It turns out that the latest update for their spam filter included a rule stating that all email addresses ending in .coop were invalid and should therefore be classed as spam and not released to the net. Initial attempts to phone the makers of said spam filter were met by staff on their not-so-helpful-desk who confirmed that said rule was correct. Being the technical manager for the .coop TLD registry, that was a tad irksome, and the next update for that filter removed the rule with apologies from the vendor.

The thing is though, why did this happen at all? Surely internet application developers pay attention to this kind of thing? It’s not like there are so many new TLDs released that they can’t keep up or at the very least train their helpdesk staff appropriately so mistakes like this aren’t made to begin with?

Is it a case of fear, uncertainty or doubt for anything newer than .com or.co.uk? Or just ill education? Take another example: the Co-operative bank in the UK still uses www.co-operativebank.co.uk [http://www.co-operativebank.co.uk/] as their main web address, which is fine. They also own www.co-operativebank.coop [http://www.co-operativebank.coop/] as well, but it’s a dead end; it doesn’t even redirect to the .co.uk site. Why? FUD? Judging by the fact it tells you that a .coop email address is invalid while you try and create an online account with them, maybe it’s doubt.

I’m ranting too much here, but my point remains. If you are writing applications that might be affected by the creation of new TLDs, try and add some flexibility into them. To take a case mentioned earlier, owners of .info, .aero, .name, .coop, .jobs, .museum, and .travel domains for instance would be greatly obliged if your email filter didn’t dismiss those email addresses ending in a sequence of more than three letters by default. Likewise, all web administrators should know how to add a header for an alternate domain name to a site that already exists.

It seems ironic that in an environment that publicly continues to evolve, some are unwilling, uncertain or simply don’t know what to do when one of the foundations of that environment offers new opportunities. Too busy looking forward to see behind? I sense a job switch to 3+ letter TLD publicity guru ahead.

Posted on August 31, 2006   #Geek Stuff  

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