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If Only Mike Knew

In the year 2000, Mike wanted "d.com" for his company website. After all, if you sneaked around these so called "reserved domains” long enough, you might be puzzled to see...say this at "x.com" or this at "z.com" or perhaps this at "q.com". As mysterious as this is, you can imagine Mike's disappointment after receiving the following email from Louis Touton on Sun, 04 Jun 2000:

Dear Mike,

Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to your inquiry regarding "d.com".

The IANA obtained the registration for d.com and most other single-character names under .com in 1993 (the prior reference to 1992 was in error) to implement its policy designed to enhance the extensibilty of the domain-name space. Since then, these names have been continuously under registration by the IANA. The IANA has received many inquiries from people seeking to register these names. As required by the existing policy, the IANA advises those inquiring that these names are already registered to the IANA and reserved for infrastructure purposes to help ensure stable operation of the Internet. The IANA has uniformly turned down all offers by third parties to purchase the right to register these names.

Four of the single-character names under .com were registered by other parties before the IANA entered its registration of these names. The registrations of these names have been (and are) grandfathered for the time being. Recently some of these registrations have been transferred from one third party to another. Those transfers are consistent with the grandfathering policy.

Having assumed the responsibility for operating the IANA, and for overall technical management of the Internet, ICANN is following the same policies for the operation of the IANA as were followed by Dr. Postel and his colleagues at the Information Sciences Institute. ICANN's charter and bylaws, together with its obligations under its various agreements with the United States Government, establish consensus-based procedures for modification of existing policies, fostering participation by affected parties. Until the policy is changed by the established procedures, ICANN is required to continue its registration of the single-letter .com domain names for the benefit of the Internet community.

While one can understand your company's desire to adopt a catchy name such as "d," trademark it, and use "d.com" as its domain name, giving up these domain names to private parties would, as reflected in existing policy, restrict the IANA's ability to fulfill its responsibility to ensure a stable, extensible domain-name system.

Best regards,

Louis Touton
ICANN Vice President

Let us now all fast forward to September 2003 and examine the above statements (for instance the second paragraph of the letter) once more...and, what the heck, we'll throw in a magnifying glass as well.

"As required by the existing policy, the IANA advises those inquiring that these names are already registered to the IANA and reserved for infrastructure purposes to help ensure stable operation of the Internet. The IANA has uniformly turned down all offers by third parties to purchase the right to register these names."

Now while we still have our magnifying glass in hand, let us go ahead and re-read the closing paragraph one more time:

"While one can understand your company's desire to adopt a catchy name such as "d," trademark it, and use "d.com" as its domain name, giving up these domain names to private parties would, as reflected in existing policy, restrict the IANA's ability to fulfill its responsibility to ensure a stable, extensible domain-name system."

And at this point all we'd like to say is:

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

We'll take a vowel please.

Note To Future Reader: If you happen to be reading this in, say year 2050, on a dirty old laser printed paper under a broken old monitor and perhaps suffering from a not so "stable, extensible domain-name system", know that in September 2003, all the English alphabets listed above pointed to a commercial site or a funky page that was trusted to make a good old company millions of dollars...Yes we know...that's exactly what we said.

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