Everyone can be a Star (Updated November 2, 2019)
Examples (November 2, 2019)
Questions and Answers (December 4, 2019)
For Developers (November 2, 2019)

Multiplexed Internet Domain Names

How and Why

Multiplexed domain names introduce a hierarchy within second level names.  This extra level supports multiple use of 'the same' name without ambiguity.  Examples could include name.com, name*1.com, name*2.com, etc.

Improvement is needed most in the legacy .com TLD and country code TLDs, but could be applied equally to all Top Level Domains.

Problems solved by multiplexed names include:

- Anyone can get any name they have a right to, under any TLD. This respects the reality that most names, and even trademarks, aren't unique.

- No one can buy and warehouse a domain name to prevent it from being used, or to extract an unreasonable price.  Name speculation, which raises prices by restricting access to names, becomes less profitable.

- The large number of parked names should decrease (and become generally available).

- Domain names would return to their originally intended use as addresses.

- 'Premium' domains would be determined by the value of the content they present, not by the character string of their name.

- The confusing proliferation of additional ngTLDs could be avoided.

- While it makes most name ownership disputes superfluous, names you 'have a right to' may be restricted depending on jurisdiction or location (country code or geographic TLDs) or type of business.  Examples include .bank, which was always intended to be restrictive, as well as .brand TLDs.

- The technology is transparent and without negative impact on the familiar, existing system.  Prototype multiplexed names have been tested live on the Internet and work within the current domain name system.

- They provide a platform for further development.

- They level the Internet playing field for everyone.

- Multiplexed names offer a potent business opportunity to improve the Internet by opening it for additional 'normal' users.

Domain names work when normal users are willing to type them as address or follow them as links.

Modern browsers that combine the address line and a search function already support the idea of multiplexed names.

Domain names were introduced in 1983.  The only major improvement since then was the introduction of Internationalized Domain Names that support characters and scripts outside standard ASCII English.  Internationalized Domain Names were introduced in 2003!

ICANN's new generic Top Level Domains are not an improvement, they don't support normal users.  When US Department of Commerce created ICANN their primary concern was:   "... widespread dissatisfaction about the absence of competition in domain name registration."

Commerce never mentioned customer benefit or user demand.  ICANN was built on supply side push - Internet users were never asked if they wanted thousands of new Top Level Domains.  The results show they didn't.

The DoC also runs the US Patent and Trademark Office.  They could have said: "compete by inventing a better system" but instead ICANN was founded and populated by groups that supported launching new TLDs.

More than 1900 ngTLD applications were submitted and over 1200 new TLDs have been delegated (made active) since October, 2013, but users don't want them. They don't solve user problems.

The legacy .com TLD continues to grow.  The number of registered .com names is now more than 145 million (http://research.domaintools.com/statistics/tld-counts/) and continues to grow.

The 266 county code TLDs together account for another 158.7 million registrations.

How have ICANN's 1,200+ new generic Top Level Domains worked out?  Not very well.

- The total number of ngTLD registrations peaked at over 29.4 million in April, 2017; dramatic growth during October and November has finally pushed the count to 29.77  million (https://ntldstats.com/tld).  The assembly of ngTLDs has grown by 400,000 names in 2 years and 8 months.  Legacy .com has grown by 16.7 million names between April 1, 2017 and December 1 this year.

- Only the top 13 ngTLDs - of 1200 - register more than half a million names each, and the top 10 account for 61.5% of all ngTLD registrations!

- Top ngTLDs can gain or lose thousands of registrations in a day - gains are based on intensive marketing and losses on non-renewals.

- Failing to see value materialize, numerous organizations have withdrawn their ngTLD applications. 

Unfortunately most domain names aren't actually used.  The last count by ntldstats.com showed 72% of ngTLD registrations don't provide unique content - they are parked, redirect, or suffer from HTTP errors.

If ngTLDs don't resolve domain name problems, what does ICANN propose to do?   They're talking about opening yet another round of ngTLD applications!

Isn't it a better idea to provide users with what they want, instead of what ngTLD merchants want them to want?

The Internet Domain Name System was never designed to provide universal naming, and that caused a number of problems now so ingrained that most people accepted them as inevitable. Things as common as domain name disputes, name warehousing and auctions, and the drive to market unwanted new TLDs are consequences of the system not being designed to provide universal naming.

The basic problem: most people, companies and trademark holders can't use their own name under their preferred Top Level Domain.

The DNS is a technical system written to a technical specification.  Problems can be resolved by extending the specification.  This was done when Internationalized Domain Names made it possible to use 'foreign' characters and scripts in domain names.

Since the domain name system is hierarchical, multiplexed names add a hierarchical level within second level names.  It's like adding street numbers to street names within a city.  This makes the name space under any Top Level Domain virtually unlimited.

We need a new token character to identify/generate a hierarchy.  We suggest the asterisk (*) as a token, together with a number.

Compare it to the accepted character that designates email addresses - MaratSade.fr could be seen as a domain name, but write it Mar@Sade.fr and you recognize it instantly as an email address.  The same can apply to domain names, where the asterisk is a character indicating multiple use of the same name.

Technically, names are registered in a set format and translated by a simple edge application to include the multiplexing token. This is similar to, but not the same as, the system used to generate foreign characters and scripts in Internationalized Domain Names.

Aren't domain names ICANN's responsibility?  Can't you just add numbers, or edit the software already used to translate foreign characters?
See the answer to those and other relevant questions under: Questions and Answers  (Updated May 1, 2019).

Multiplexed domain names are a technical step toward Universalized Domain Names.  Multiplexed names nested with Internationalized Names make Universalized names available to anyone, anywhere, in any language or script, under their country code, legacy, or preferred new generic TLD.

Is Internet access a human right?  In that case registering your own name, under your preferred TLD, is also your right.  Otherwise you argue that a privileged minority should enjoy name ownership to the exclusion of the majority.

Registering your own domain name isn't a problem when Everyone can be a Star. (Updated May 1, 2019)

Multiplexed names are not offered as a supported product; we want to demonstrate how the Internet domain name system can evolve to eliminate unnecessary naming restrictions and provide relevant names for everyone.

The combined URL address line/search field in modern browsers already supports the multiplexed name concept.

Multiplexed domain names as tested follow all applicable Internet standards, but the translation format used in our tests is not standardized.

Last updated December 1, 2019

W. Kenneth Ryan