The News Ė 03/02/01
Use Your Phone Number As A Web Address
Now hereís a bright idea for wireless users: Verisign (which
now owns Network Solutions, the domain registrar) is beta testing a new
service called Webnum. You can sign up to have your telephone number turned
into a pointer to your Web site. This makes it easier for wireless Internet
users. To access your site, users donít need to laboriously peck in the
whole address on their keypads. Just cruise to the www.webnum.net Web site, enter the phone
number, including country code (1 for US phone numbers) without dashes,
press OK, and your phone browser goes right to the site.
You can try it now on your wireless phone by typing in my
phone number, 19525251584. Note: if you use your computer to go to the
Webnum site, it wonít work.
Right now, during the beta period, Verisign is not
charging for this service. But you can be sure they will charge once itís
This scheme reminds me of the Internet Keywords offered by RealNames. This effort, which is
supported by the major search engines, allows you to designate a key word or
words that send users to your site. For example, I tried to register Internet
Strategy as a keyword. Unfortunately, RealNames doesnít accept generic
registrations. They would have accepted StratVantage, but I figure, if you
need to use a search engine to find me, and you know my company name, the
site will probably turn up anyway.
Anyway, despite being a pretty cool idea and despite support
by the search engines, MSN, and AOL, RealNames havenít really caught on. I
wonder how well Webnums will be accepted.
Verisign to (Eventually) Give Up .net and .org
In other domain name news, Verisign has agreed with ICANN, the
quasi-governmental domain name authority, to give up itís monopoly on the
.net and .org suffixes (AKA gTLDs, or generic Top Level Domains). VeriSign
will operate the .org registry only through December 2002, and the .net
registry through Jan 1, 2006. The companyís rights to the .com registry
will expire in November 2007.
This new agreement modifies a previous agreement with ICANN
that had Verisign spinning off its registry business by May of this year.
ICANN stated that competition in the popular .com registry business had
become so intense so fast that they didnít feel that Verisign had an unfair
advantage any more.
With ICANN planning on having registrars registering several
new gTLDS, such as .firm, .biz, .info, and .name, real soon now, there will
be plenty of domain name competition. It could also get pretty confusing
for businesses, what with new gTLDs and soon, new choices for registering
.net and .org. †
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