Security Experts Urge Against Dotless Domains, New gTLD Applicants in Favour

Dotless domains may have been rejected as an option by ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) and other security experts, but there are some urging ICANN to not dismiss the idea.In their report, the SSAC recommends:
“Dotless domains will not be universally reachable and the SSAC recommends strongly against their use. As a result, the SSAC also recommends that the use of DNS resource records such as A, AAAA, and MX in the apex of a Top-Level Domain (TLD) be contractually prohibited where appropriate and strongly discouraged in all cases.”However others disagree.In a submission from, Nic Steinbach says “For example, it is true that currently web browsers have trouble recognizing dotless domains. However, if the status quo changes and dotless domains became prevalent, it is not only likely but probable that web browsers and other online applications will adapt.”Steinbach also says “Finally and most importantly, there is no solid justification for ICANN enacting or enforcing this regulation. … If the only problem is that the address and email sometimes won’t work, why does ICANN need to become involved with additional formal regulations? A free and open Internet will sort this problem one way or the other. Technology and public knowledge/use will catch up to dotless domains. Or they won’t and the use of dotless domains will not be prevalent. Either way, it is not appropriate for ICANN to decide these types of policies and take away any freedoms of choice and innovation. Doing so based on a report that is inconclusive and fails to even consider how the landscape might change is irresponsible, inappropriate and a step down a dangerous road away that leads away from a free and open Internet.”Randy Bush says in other short submission that “dotless domains are used and useful now in the apps and protocols where they work. the correct solution is to fix the apps and protocols.”Security expert Dan Kaminsky though argues against their introduction saying “in no uncertain terms, dotless domains cannot be expected to function, as their ‘namespace’ is already occupied. They are already unstable; this condition will increase, not diminish.”Another urging ICANN not to dismiss the idea is Tim Switzer from the DotGreen Community. Switzer argues “it would seem to be premature and unnecessary at this point to invoke an “across the board” ban on dotless TLDs.”And someone in the middle, Michele Neylon of Ireland’s Blacknight Solutions, commends the SSAC report and “agree[s] strongly with their conclusions.”Neylon says he “cannot see any advantage to internet users in the introduction of “dotless” domains. All I can see is confusion, which will benefit nobody.”And then “as [a] hosting provider I am very conscious of the importance people place on their email – in many cases more than their websites. Dotless domains would cause a lot of headaches, as they wouldn’t work with SMTP etc., at present, and form validation would be further complicated with the removal of such a clear ‘label’.”