Corrections or additions?
This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the October 18,
2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
A Website in Every Pot?
Every person on the earth could have a website with
their name on it, if all goes according to the Sarnoff Corporation’s
proposal. Sarnoff is pitching a plan to the powers-that-be to provide
the technology platform for every human being to have a domain name,
to use for a website or for a universal messaging system.
James Carnes, CEO of Sarnoff, says his company wants everyone to have
a domain so they can participate in the advantages of Internet access.
Sarnoff’s Shailendra Suman says that, if the plan gets approval from
the governing body ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Name and
Numbers), Sarnoff could provide the technical specifications for every
person to have a different "domain name," usable for all Web
connected devices. The suffix for these domain names, or URLs, would
be called "dot-I" (as in www.JohnDoe.iii or www.JohnDoe.i).
A number of other organizations are proposing innovative naming
to ICANN, and there is no guarantee that Sarnoff’s proposal will win.
But if it does, Sarnoff will launch yet another spinoff, called
(Domain Name System). The website, www.nextdns.com, is being put up
NextDNS would organize a people-centric Top-Level Domain (TLD) issuing
system with an open environment — device neutral, services
and technology neutral. "We create a platform and others will
come," Suman says. "A lot of new applications could be
It could create a whole new industry."
"We are not a vendor of devices, software, or access services
for the Internet, so we have no incentive to favor one mode of access
to dot-I over another," says Suman. "We also have a long
of forming or working with international industry coalitions. We have
helped create global standards in such enabling technology as MPEG-2
and MPEG-4 and were a leader in the Grand Alliance that created the
ATSC standard for HDTV."
A native of northern India, Suman has a bachelor of science from the
Behar Institute of Technology and a master’s degree and an MBA from
the University of Minnesota. He worked at Northern States Power and
PS&EG before coming to Sarnoff to be executive director eight months
ago. Eight Sarnoff employees are working on the project so far, he
says, but many business partners are also involved.
Suman says that some of the domain names might be given away free,
others might be sold for a fee. Free domain names and websites are
already provided by other companies, but these names must be attached
to another organization: JohnDoe@whatever.com. Otherwise, individuals
or businesses must go to a domain name provider, such as Network
to buy a top level domain name. Network Solutions started out
the suffixes for .com, .net, and .org, but additional suffixes are
available now from other TLD providers.
NextDNS is in competition at ICANN with other TLD sellers, but Suman
says that the Sarnoff price structure is 1/10 of what Network
has proposed. Says Suman, "There are 30 million businesses but
1/2 billion potential Internet users, so the cost of the system will
be very little. We are looking to give a lot of domain names away
What happens when there is more than one John Doe? Individuals can
differentiate themselves, says Suman, by using combinations of names
and numbers, similar to the way E-mail is assigned by AOL. Or people
could add the suffix of their titles, Esquire or MD or RN. Or they
could add a gender-based title, like Mrs. Or they could merely
themselves with numbers, perhaps their phone number.
NextDNS would be poised to take advantage of the future convergence
of the Internet with telecommunications and television. "Under
this plan an executive in Belgium can use a web-enabled cell phone
to get vital information on personal business through a dot-I domain.
A grandmother in Iowa can use her new TV to reach out to her
in San Francisco. Students in Beijing can access their domains through
classroom PCs." Says Suman: "It is a very simple idea, but
— Barbara Fox
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