GIS MONITOR, Nov 30, 2000


ICANN Nixes .geo Top-level Domain
Did You Know…? Dot Com Trivia
.tv Domain Sold
ASPs Not Selling
Change in the Air at “Traditional” GIS Conferences
Yahoo! Must Respect Country Laws
Points Of Interest


Seven new top-level domains (TLDs) were granted November 16 by ICANN, the Internet’s naming authority: While .biz, .info., .name, .museum, .pro, .aero, .coop were among the TLDs chosen to help alleviate the .com congestion, .geo was quite conspicuous by its absence. Reports from the meeting expressed surprise at .geo's absence, especially since ICANN had a very positive reaction to .geo upon its introduction.

"The most surprising omission from the Board's group was the .geo domain name, which would've created a huge Web-accessible database of businesses and monuments based on location." -Eric Lai, Reuters

"Among those that didn't make the cut were .iii, in part because it was unpronounceable; .kids and .health, to avoid content control; and .geo, because its sponsors had ties with two other proposals in the semifinal round of nine."

"But some of the rejected applicants simply planned to try again later. ``We're kind of disappointed, but we understand,'' said Michael J. Summers, whose location-based .geo proposal was rejected. ``At least we got very broad visibility.''" -Anick Jesdanun, AP Internet Writer

"The controversial .geo proposal from SRI International was among them, but concerns about the TLD's ability to grow -- and whether it was the only way to geographically organize the Web -- got it knocked off the list." -Ben Charny, ZDNet News

Broad visibility? Controversial? .geo spawned little debate since so few people knew about it. As reported here in the GIS Monitor, the Open GIS Consortium did not even have time to evaluate it effectively. Some of the organizations suggested as beneficiaries in the proposal had not even heard of the proposal when contacted during the public comment timeframe. Nevertheless, the geospatial community did benefit from the question of location on the net was brought forward in a serious and well thought out manner. Even though this iteration may not have been successful, it will serve as a key building block for future attempts.

By adding extensions that are really more of the same, ICANN proved to be quite conservative.


-Since 1999 .com has grown 105%, .net 90% and .org 29%. -Country domains grow rapidly, too: .jp has grown 56%, .ca 49%. -It took 15 months to register the first 100 domains (3/15/85-7/10/86) -The first ten registered addresses included: #1,, #2, (now GTE) -Seven of the first 10 domains were given to universities including MIT and Berkeley. -The tenth domain registered was, owned by Thinking Machines. Thinking Machines is now owned by Oracle and is now part of Oracle’s Promise, their educational initiative for schools. -Only 66% of all Web addresses registered are associated with a live Web site.


Tuvalu, the small country with the “.tv” top-level domain sold its rights to that domain to, a California startup, earlier this year. will pay Tuvalu $4 million per year over the next 12 years. A recent ad compares .com to .tv this way: .com is represented by a cartoon-like thunderstorm lightening bolt. .tv has a picture of a real “bolt” flashing in the sky. The text: “A .tv web address tell the world you’re part of the new generation of richer more engaging online experiences…”

Domains are $50/year for a two year minimum and will increase 5% at the end of the prepaid time. .com and other TLDs are $35/year. 100,000 .tv domains were registered in the first 6 months, an Internet speed record. is still available as we got to press. Other countries, such as Tonga (.to), Niue (.nu), and Turkmenistan (.tm) hope for similar success, but so far, .tv promises to be the key for those hoping to use streaming for television-like content.


Though application service providers (ASPs) were once touted as the cash cows of many Internet start-ups, hosting full-fledged applications over the Web is not receiving widespread support. Autodesk has tried hosting both Actrix and AutoCAD, and Microsoft is testing the waters for its .Net initiative by making Internet-hosted Office available. So far as we can tell there have been few takers, and certainly no buzz, for any of these online offerings.

Few GIS companies have followed suit, perhaps knowing all the time that running full-fledged, “heavy” applications like MapInfo or ArcInfo over the Web would not be practical given current bandwidth, computing and infrastructure limitations. That, and an apparent insensitivity to data ownership may well have been big factors that prevented users from buying in and are foiling the best laid ASP plans of giants such as Autodesk and Microsoft.

Instead, GIS marketplace vendors wisely focused on two ASP visions. One set of applications is map serving. Any number of companies will host an organization’s site and publish maps or small applications. The second set includes more specialized services – geocoding and conversion, for example, which focus on one part of GIS data creation. These parallel the specialized CAD services offered by PlanetCAD and others targeting a single phase of the design process.

In September cMeRun entered an agreement with DeLorme to host its consumer level mapping products over the Web. The jury is still out on user buy-in. DeLorme’s were among 200 titles offered by cMeRun, which in recent months has found a new focus: hosting interactive games over the Web.


The GITA conference, held next year in San Diego March 4-7, has a new track this year, Municipal Perspective. The conference and trade show is slowly growing to include far more areas than just traditional “utilities” by focusing on enterprise thinking for GIS.

Meanwhile, the organizers of GIS2001, the 15th version of the Canadian GIS show, have sent a heads up that they have added a focus on location-based services to this year’s event. The “Location in a Wireless World Conference” has been created to bring together leaders from the geospatial technology and wireless industries to explore and discuss technology, implementation and opportunities of the promising new wireless location-based services industry.

The conference will be in Vancouver, Feb 19-22, 2001. If this anything like last year’s show, it’s worth the trip to hear down-to-earth presenters answer to attendees not afraid to ask tough questions.


On November 20 a French court ordered Yahoo! to keep French users from sites selling Nazi memorabilia. French law prohibits such sales in the country. The court seems to feel this type of filtering is possible. Three experts said that key words and IP addresses could keep 90% of traffic out. This ruling may pave the way for more use of geographic tracking on the Web. It also raises issues about Web businesses obligations to adhere to the jumble of country and local laws covering a variety of topics.


Avon, the company known for its ding-dong-local-in-your-home cosmetics has realized that these days no one is home! The solution: individual online sites for its representatives. It seems that if no one is home, geography does not matter.

FetchOmatic, a site whose mapping capability went online in July, is basically a search engine/portal pair, and it does in fact, fetch. A sleek layout and the ability to search on a city/state and optional zip code make it a decent geographical search engine for businesses. Maps are serviceable. Unfortunately, my few searches in Massachusetts, which did locate a variety of businesses, did not yield any targeted advertising. The banners read: “If your business is in Massachusetts then your ad could be seen right here!”

It turns out that many Internet messages moving between two nearby areas in Asia are being routed through the US. The US controls most of the peering points – places where networks exchange customer traffic. Asian “peering points”, some hosted by former monopolistic phone companies, are themselves ISPs. Prices for access are high and small ISPs would rather not put money into their competitor’s hands. Therefore, they take the long way - and route through the US.


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Adena Schutzberg
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