ICANN new generic Top Level Domains logo

Google Wanted It, But ICANN Kills Dotless Domains Over Security Concerns

Google and others lobbied in favour of them. But in the end security concerns won out and ICANN has banned the use of dotless domains for new gTLDs.Last week the New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) resolved to ban dotless domains after considering the risks associated with them as presented in a report by the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) titled SSAC Report on Dotless Domains SAC053, a statement by the Internet Architecture Board and the Carve Report and considering the impracticality of mitigating these identified risks. The NGPC also considered the comments received from the community on this issue.With so many against it, it was difficult to see how ICANN could approve them.Google was one of the main gTLD applicants in favour of dotless domains, and wrote to the ICANN board expressing their support in April.Dotless domains consist of a single label (e.g. http://example as opposed to example.tld or mail@example as opposed to mail@example.tld) and there is an A/AAAA or MX records in the APEX of a TLD zone.Arguing against dotless domains, the SSAC Report on Dotless Domains “stated that dotless domains would not be universally reachable and the SSAC recommended strongly against their use. As a result, the SSAC recommended that the use of DNS resource records such as A, AAAA, and MX in the apex of a [TLD] should contractually prohibited where appropriate, and strongly discouraged in all cases.”The IAB used similarly strong language saying in their statement titled “Dotless Domains Considered Harmful” they “strongly [recommend] against considering, implementing, or deploying dotless domains.” As well, “the IAB believes that dotless domains are inherently harmful to Internet security.”The Carve report identified a number of issues against dotless domains including user confusion, highlighting the fact that dotless domain names have been primarily used on private networks for decades such as .home for routers. And .home is one of the more popular gTLD applications.