There is No G.com, Y.com, M.com, Why Not?

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Google’s acquisition of the one character g.cn domain for China, reminded me of the old question about one and also two character domain names in the gTLD (generic top level domain) space like .com, .net and .org.

Who has domains that are only one or two characters long and how did they get them and why are they rarely in use? All one and two character domain names considering only of English language letters and numbers sum up to 1,332 possible domain names for every TLD, that are almost 4,000 domain names for .com, .org and .net alone.

That is quite a big number and I am surprised that you do not encounter them very often. Well, I decided this time to get an answer to my questions and what I found was rather interesting IMO.

There are actually 6 single character domains in existence for the three mentioned gTLDs. Those were registered before 12/1/1993, when IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) registered all remaining single character SLDs for the TLDs .com, .net and .org and thus made them unavailable for anybody else to register.

Today, Two of the domains are redirected to another website, two don’t resolve at all and the last two contain actual websites.

SLD: i.net
Original 1993 Registrant: iNet solutions Ltd.
Current Owner: Future Media Architects
Website today: none, i.net does not resolve to anything at this time

SLD: q.com
Original 1993 Registrant: JG
Current Owner: Quest Communications
Website today: redirects to www.qwest.com

SLD: q.net
Original 1993 Registrant: Q Net
Current Owner: Q Networks
Website today: none, i.net does not resolve to anything at this time

SLD: x.com
Original 1993 Registrant: Weinstein & DePaolis
Current Owner: PayPal
Website today: X.com is the PayPal Labs website to show experimental products by PayPal.

SLD: x.org
Original 1993 Registrant: The Open Group
Current Owner: The Open Group
Website today: X.Org Foundation, open source implementation of the X Window System

SLD: z.com
Original 1993 Registrant: HomePage.com
Current Owner: Nissan
Website today: redirects to www.nissanusa.com/z/

But what is up with two character domains? I know aa.com is owned and used by American Airlines and go.com is a Yahoo! Powered search engine and I already have to think very hard to come up with additional sites. Considering that there are about 4,000 available, I should not have this problem already.

The answer to that question can be found at the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) proposed unsponsored TLD agreement from 26 February 2001, Appendix K “Registration Restrictions Within Registry TLD“. Quote:

“All two-character labels shall be initially reserved. The reservation of a two-character label string shall be released to the extent that the Registry Operator reaches agreement with the government and country-code manager, or the ISO 3166 maintenance agency, whichever appropriate. The Registry Operator may also propose release of these reservations based on its implementation of measures to avoid confusion with the corresponding country codes.”

Okay, that makes sense. It is interesting to know that exceptions can be made, not only on the ccTLD (country code top level domain) level as in Google’s case for their .CN domain, but gTLD level as well. The question is what does it take to be considered as registrant for the domain g.com for example?

Maybe if Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft would join forces, they might be able to convince ICANN that IANA should assign g.com to Google, y.com to Yahoo! and m.com (or l.com) to Microsoft/Live.com.

Cheers!

Carsten Cumbrowski

p.s. I started a “domainers glossary” as a result of this research, which might be interesting as well. I already had before created some resource pages for domainers and domain traffic monetization that might also be worth to look at, including a DNS Glossary.

Carsten Cumbrowski
Carsten Cumbrowski has years of experience in Affiliate Marketing and knows both sides of the business as the Affiliate and Affiliate Manager. Carsten has over... Read Full Bio
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