Glossary18th January 2008
The Internet is a worldwide computer network that transmits data using the Internet Protocol (IP). All computers on the network receive a unique numeric identifier, called an IP address. Since these numeric identifiers are difficult to remember for humans, the Internet designers have added the Domain Name System (DNS). The DNS translates names like “dotsport.info” into numeric values that computers handle better.
A domain is usually made of two or three elements, separated by a dot, which should be read right to left. For example, in www.dotsport.info
“info” is the top level domain, “dotsport” is the second level domain and “www” specifically refers to the computer which hosts this web page.
Country code top level domains
All countries in the world (and some other territorial entities, too) have a so-called ccTLD (country code Top Level Domain). It is a two letter code conforming to ISO 3166-1. There are currently 230 ccTLDs.
Generic Top Level Domains
Besides the country specific domain names, there are also so called generic TLDs. Some are rather closed and limited to a series of well identified actors, like the .gov for US government agencies or .edu for American higher education establishments. Others are open to anyone, like .com, .org, .info.
New Top Level Domains
ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is about to start a new round for adding new top level domains to the DNS. Each proposal, like the .sport proposal, will be examined on technical value. Once approved by ICANN, the domain name will be added to the DNS, and the sponsoring company (called “registry”) will be begin accepting registrations under the new TLD.
The process of adding new TLDs to the DNS is a long one, mostly because ICANN wants every party, be it industry, users or governments, to be able to comment and sometimes raise objections, like it did in the past with the “.XXX” domain name. We are confident that sport is seen as a positive value in all cultures and will not raise any objection on cultural or moral grounds.