Domain names are what allow internet users to easily navigate without having to remember IP addresses. Instead of typing in a long number, you type in a name that is usually much easier to remember. Domain names are generally referred to by their TLDs (top-level domains) with the most common being .com, .net and .org among others. The name to the left of the TLD is considered a second-level domain with the levels going as high as third, fourth and so on.
In the Beginning
Domains first surfaced back in 1985, starting with only six. The popularity of today’s internet and World Wide Web has lead to several types of domains, many of which are still intended to identify certain entities and make it easy for users to find specific content. When introduced by the World Wide Web, both .com and .org where intended for different purposes. .com was intended to represent commercial entities while .org was to be used by organizations. The second-level domain was meant to identify a specific entity or business with the third-level usually specifying the location of the host server. The high demand of .com resulted in a number of non-commercial entities seeking to own website addresses under this TLD.
Domain names have been a hot commodity for sometime and are widely abused. Cyber squatting is one such exploit which describes someone trying to generate traffic to their site by leveraging the name of a well known company. While laws have been set in place to protect prominent internet companies, another ploy known as reverse domain hijacking emerged and brought forth a slew of new problems. Reverse domain hijacking refers to a company or individual claiming a domain as their own trademark when someone else actually has legal rights to it. Despite the internet’s growth and the phenomenon behind domain names, there is still no one organization designated to govern this huge system.
Because domain names have been around for years, many of the good ones are no longer available. This has caused many people to resort to complicated names or those that don’t necessarily suit their business. It has also lead some to register unique domains by taking the name of any existing third-level domain and adding different symbols to mimic popular companies. This is a strategy often employed by scam artists and malicious code writers looking to compromise visitors.
Domain names are widely available these days, typically sold by companies known as registrars and even web hosting providers. The price for a domain varies from company to company but the cost is significantly cheaper than past times. Well known domain registrars such as GoDaddy may sale domains at anywhere from $5 to $10 per year while a web hosting company might offer a free domain and registration for purchasing a monthly plan.
With so many companies offering service, buying a domain is easy, though you may not always get the name you want. If you have something clever it mind, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to secure it now before its no longer on the market.