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Are .mail, .home and .corp safe to launch? Applicants think so

Kevin Murphy, August 28, 2016, 10:31:51 (UTC), Domain Tech

ICANN should lift the freeze on new gTLDs .mail, .home and .corp, despite fears they could cause widespread disruption, according to applicants.

Fifteen applicants for the strings wrote to ICANN last week to ask for a risk mitigation plan that would allow them to be delegated.

The three would-be gTLDs were put on hold indefinitely almost three years ago, after studies determined that they were at risk of causing far more “name collision” problems than other strings.

If they were to start resolving on the internet, the fear is they would lead to problems ranging from data leakage to systems simply stopping working properly.

Name collisions are something all new TLDs run the risk of creating, but .home, .corp and .mail are believed to be particularly risky due to the sheer number of private networks that use them as internal namespaces.

My own ISP, which has millions of subscribers, uses .home on its home hub devices, for example. Many companies use .corp and .mail on their LANs, due to longstanding advice from Microsoft and the IETF that it was safe to do so.

A 2013 study (pdf) showed that .home received almost 880 million DNS queries over a 48-hour period, while .corp received over 110 million.

That was vastly more than other non-existent TLDs.

For example, .prod (which some organizations use to mean “production”) got just 5.3 million queries over the same period, and when Google got .prod delegated two years it prompted an angry backlash from inconvenienced admins.

While .mail wasn’t quite on the same scale as the other two, third-party studies determined that it posed similar risks to .home and .corp.

All three were put on hold indefinitely. ICANN said it would ask the IETF to consider making them officially reserved strings.

Now the applicants, noting the lack of IETF movement to formally freeze the strings, want ICANN to work on a thawing plan.

“Rather than continued inaction, ICANN owes applicants for .HOME, .CORP, and .MAIL and the public a plan to mitigate any risks and a proper pathway forward for these TLDs,” the applicants told ICANN (pdf) last Wednesday.

A December 2015 study found that name collisions have occurred in new gTLDs, but that no truly serious problems have been caused.

That does not mean .home, .corp and .mail would be safe to delegate, however.

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Comments (6)

  1. Rubens Kuhl says:

    While .home and .corp are well characterised , .mail data doesn’t hold up. Most of the queries is not for something.mail but only for “mail”, a dotless query; so, the prohibition on dotless seems to mitigate .mail collision issues. The only thing that would need a closer look is how to implement controlled interruption with a wildcard that doesn’t cover the dotless version; this is not standard in DNS software but can be done. ICANN establishing financial penalties for violation of the dotless prohibition and fast triggering EBERO activation if dotless comes up
    would also be in order.

    For .home, the data suggests that is not only the UK largest ISP that is contributing queries; otherwise, working with BT could be a mitigation plan.

  2. Knock-knock ICANN :

    – .MAIL and .EMAIL ?
    – .HOMEs and .HOME ?

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      No String Confusion Objection was filed on .mail x .email; there were though in .home versus .homes, but Google ended up withdrawing it, allowing .homes to move forward.

    • Gaz says:

      ICANN made a mistake not grouping these similar and singular/plural domains together. It’s bound to cause some confusion and water down the number of sales per gtld.

      But, hey, ICANN gets more money.

  3. alexv says:

    I think all this is out of control… .home, .homes?? wtf?? .mail vs. .email?? seriously!, .card vs. .cards? .sale vs .sales? .this vs. .that…
    what;s wrong with these “baby boomers”?? you created a world of shit, now your creating an internet of shit…

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