My previous post on domain squatting got plenty of attention, and plenty of comments, both positive and negative. Interestingly, the majority of commenters (public and private) who didn't like what I had to say admitted that they were in the business of domain squatting/parking. Huh.
Yesterday, I finally got a response that I'd been waiting for. Just below an argument that domain squatting apparently provides sustenance for needy families, Gary commented:
I'm putting $7,000 a year into the internet for renewal fees. Am I helping out the internet and helping to create jobs. Yes. Am I hurting the internet. No. We can create new extensions and billions of new names if we wanted to, with money that people like I am pouring into the internet with renewals. If you don't get a .com, there are hundreds of other extensions and hundreds more planned for.
Hundreds of TLDs? If you count country TLDs, perhaps, but universally available TLDs? Hardly. For the vast majority of people out there, there's only one: .com
This is ICANNs fault, of course. Rather than act on approving new TLDs in the nineties -- before .com because synonymous with the Internet -- they waited, and waited, and waited. This made .com the only "real" TLD out there. Even .org and .net are marginalized under the public perception of .com. The other relatively new TLDs, like .info, .biz, and so forth are certainly available, but to many people they're suspect. I've had many non-technical people ask me if a .biz or .info site was a malware or virus-laden website simply because it wasn't under .com. They just don't understand that there's more than .com out there.
Even sites like craigslist.org have craigslist.com registered and redirected. When given a domain name (even if it's shown with .org, .net, .info, whatever) most people will append .com.
Let's face it -- .com is it if you want a marketable domain. It shouldn't be that way, but it is.