They’re Building A New DNS Mousetrap (But It’s Not Better)

The domain name system (DNS) was built by geeks for geeks. It was never intended to be all that user friendly — and, for many people, it’s not. That’s one reason why search engines have come in handy — because they function as a more usable front-end to the DNS. I can’t count how many times I enter a company name into Google instead of trying to guesstimate its URL in my browser window.

So what’s the solution?

A few years back we saw RealNames launch a workaround to the DNS in which companies could register their company name and all the Web user needed to do was input the company name. RealNames imploded in 2002 but I believe the technology is still being supported by somebody; I just typed a few brand names into my Safari browser (BMW, Coke, Apple) and was taken immediately to their corporate sites.

Today, I came across a press release from a company that is trying to do basically what RealNames did, only it appears to be a lot less usable. UnifiedRoot is developing a parallel DNS that would allow you to register a domain that completely bypasses the DNS we know and love, as illustrated below:

unifiedroot.jpg

I don’t see the value of this system. Large companies are going to register every country domain they need for IP reasons alone, so it can’t be a cost issue. I could be missing something here, but so far it doesn’t seem much easier than relying on Google.

What I think UnifiedRoot missed is the huge untapped potential for serving domains in non-Latin scripts, like Arabic, Cyrillic, and Chinese. The current solutions in this area are little more than hacks, and although the folks at ICANN are working on a long-term solution, they’ve been working on it for half a decade and still have a ways to go. It has to do with the immense complexity of migrating the DNS to Unicode and the numerous potential security issues that would result.

So while I’m glad to see UnifiedRoot taking a shot at building a better DNS, they’re not there yet.

(Visited 5 times, 1 visits today)

Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.

2 thoughts on “They’re Building A New DNS Mousetrap (But It’s Not Better)”

  1. There must be a simple solution. Google could run a subset of its tools which when you search on a company name, returns only what looks like a main index page, either because the URL is very simple or it has no subpages in it (such as http://www.mycompany.com and not http://www.mycompany.com/thisisadirectory/thisisapage.html) and filters out things it knows not to be home pages, like ebay results or anything else of that type. There would have to be some intelligence behind it, but they seem to do this already… a bit like the I’m feeling luck button I guess…

    Then, browsers add a field for connecting to real sites, so when you type a company name, it either connects you to the most obvious one, or gives you a couple of choices.

    A simple Google, focused on corporate sites.

    Just a quick idea, haven’t given much thought on any complications…

Comments are closed.