Getting to the root of web hyperlinks… what does the HREF in the HTML hyperlink attribute actually stand for, or mean?
Today it occurred to me that, after a little over ten years of basic fluency in HTML, I have absolutely no idea why the href attribute is named “href”. Why not “url”, “link”, or even just “ref”?
I wrote a while back about how cities and regions especially could benefit from the new Generic Top Level Domains (gTLD) names that ICANN is in the process of ushering in.
It seems though some commercial entities intent on buying a city TLD – such as .sydney for example – in the hope of then finding businesses and organisations who want a website address that reflects their location (such as say www.disassociated.sydney) are jumping the gun somewhat by not seeking the relevant local government approval first.
However, recently we’ve noticed a trend emerging with regard to City TLDs where prospective applicants are spending time and money setting up businesses and marketing the City TLD to gather support, whilst neglecting to previously obtain the necessary approval from the relevant government authority. A giant oversight one would assume given this approval is a strict ICANN requirement.
Tim Berners-Lee somewhat regrets incorporating double slashes into URLs but they seemed like a good idea at the time.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, has confessed that the // in a web address were actually “unnecessary”.
Search engines have somewhat mitigated the issue anyway… who types a URL in full anymore when a website can be accessed simply by clicking a search engine result.
As its sale price can actually be substantiated – funds.com – which sold for US$9.99 million the last time it was traded, rates as the most expensive domain name on the web.
And in case you’re wondering porn.com is the second most expensive domain, last selling for US$9.5 million.
A small number of corporate brand owners have expressed enthusiasm for the generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) which will be available for registration early next year, but 70% of respondents to a recent Melbourne IT survey expressed concerns as to how they will be received by their customers.
“Some of our larger corporate clients with sophisticated online brand and marketing strategies are excited about the opportunities that having their own branded top level domain name will present and are keen to start the process. At the same time, many of our clients are concerned that the new gTLDs will increase the cost and complexity associated with managing and protecting their digital brands.”
Curious, captain. In 1994 you could virtually choose any domain name you wanted, so why would anyone go for one that was 30 characters long and looked more like a complex password than a URL?
Back in 1994 when I first started working on the Web site that would become Tahoe.com, we had a Web address so bad that it still gives me shivers. I can’t remember it exactly, but it was about 30 characters long, with plenty of slashes, periods and even a few upper-case letters to go with it. It was a train wreck of a URL. And in those days when search engines were in their infancy, we depended on people being able to accurately type that address into their browser to find us.
ICANN’s decision last year to allow the creation of almost any generic Top Level Domain (gTLD), or domain name suffix such as .com. or .net, stirred up more than a little controversy.
Among other things, critics felt the new system could result in a confusing combination of website addresses, while brand owners had concerns about safe guarding their identity online.
However there are instances where gTLDs could actually counteract both these concerns, despite the presence of a number of obstacles.
Let’s take real estate agents who are a part of a franchise-like operation as an example. Ray White and Raine & Horne are just two well known real estate companies in Australia with offices all over the country.
While the head offices of both companies (rightfully) own the .com or .com.au domain of their respective business name, this has left owners of offices in other locations with the task of devising a unique domain name for their operation.
The resulting domain is usually a combination of some form of the main company name together with their location. Take a look at the list of domain names that individual offices of Ray White and Raine & Horne are using to see what I mean.
For example, the domain name for the nearby Ray White office at Randwick is www.raywhiteeast.com.au, while Raine & Horne’s is www.rh.com.au/Randwick.
Neither URL is particularly intuitive however. And typing raywhiterandwick.com.au, for instance, which people sometimes do if they are searching for a company website, leads no where.
The plethora of differing URLs in use here cannot be much good for the overall branding or identity of these companies either.
This is where a gTLD of, for example, .randwick could become useful.
Were .randwick to be established as a gTLD both these real estate “branch” offices could continue to use their full company name together with the name of their suburb or locality tacked on the end, giving us www.raineandhorne.randwick for instance.
Customers wishing to locate the website of a particular real estate agent in a certain location would then only have to type the company name, appended with the office location, into a browser.
Of course as a way bringing uniformity to disparate URLs there remains, as I said earlier, a number of problems.
The hefty set up fee, currently proposed at US$185,000+ is one. Managing ownership of a gTLD that is potentially in use by competing organisations is another. Publicising the new URL structure would be another. And that’s just for starters.
In the meantime it’s easier – and probably will remain so – to let search engines do the work of finding the websites of the real estate agents we are looking for.
The Web Is For Four-year-olds
I guess people who use Google to look up their own websites are too lazy to bookmark, or subscribe to, them? In the case of sites with longer URLs using Google to find them, thus saving time typing out the full address, could possibly rate as a productivity tip though?
There are a large number of people who are completely at sea on the Internet and even think Google is the Internet. These are the sort of people who search for web addresses, (even their own site) via Google rather than typing them into the address bar.
Israel.com: Bidding Starts At $5.5 Million
But if you can’t afford Israel.com, current owner Moniker.com has other domain names that are slightly less expensive.
Pay.com should be of interest to someone in the financial world. Three-letter domains have been bought up for years, and an actual word possesses even more value. It’s an instant branding boost to whoever buys it. Some of the million-dollar and up domains include yachts.com, AffiliateProgram.com, and Portfolios.com. Moniker CEO Monte Cahn expects to see these domains in the $1 million to $5 million range.
The allure of the .com domain name
The latest internet statistics from Domain Tools reveal the unrivaled popularity of the .com domain name, with over 76 million registrations.
.net names come in a distant second with almost 11.5 million name registrations.
As of May 2008, there were 76,007,285 active and registered .com domain names. This compares to 11,397,594 .net names, 6,772,308 .org names, 5,037,335 .info names, 1,968,760 .biz names, and 1,412,141 .us names. The .com extension clearly dominates.