TLD (Top Level Domain)

This is page three of a series, and it lists and discusses Top Level Domains (TLD). Page one of this series lists and discusses Language Codes and Attributes. Page two discusses ccTLD (country code Top Level Domain) issues.


The top level domain (TLD) system is run by IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) which also assigns IP addresses and ranges, ports, and other related attributes.


For those of you who were wondering, ICANN is the private contractor with an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the US government that currently runs IANA, so sometimes people use the organizations interchangeably. They are not, however. As a matter of fact there are a lot of people who are not happy with ICANN at all.

One of my clients is Industry Canada, and I discovered a very well written description of ICANN in their website I’d like to share:Consultation on ICANN reform.

Registering a gTLD

There are many registrars for gTLD’s. I personally use BulkRegister, but many people like GoDaddy.

Top Level Domain List

Generic TLD (gTLD)

Although each of these domains originally had a purpose, anyone can register these for any reason now. This lack of control and direction is the force behind the restricted and new sponsored TLD.


Intended Target

Operated by

.com Commercial VeriSign Global Registry Services
.net Technical / Internet VeriSign Global Registry Services
.org Catch-all for anything non-commercial and non-government, including nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations, philanthropies, charities, religious organizations, educational and cultural institutions, arts organizations, sports clubs, and others. Public Interest Registry
.info Information Resources Afilias Limited

Restricted / Reserved TLD (rTLD)

You have to be a member of the restricted class in order to register these domains, and each operator has rules for how stringent the qualifications are.


Restricted To

Operated by

.biz Business NeuLevel, Inc.
.name Individuals Global Name Registry
.pro Credentialed Professionals and Related Entities RegistryPro
.edu US Accredited Post-Secondary Institutions Educause
.gov US Government US General Services Administration
.mil US Military US DoD Network Information Center
.int Organizations Established by International Treaty IANA .int Domain Registry

Sponsored TLD (sTLD)

Like rTLD’s, You have to be a member of the “reserved for” class in order to register these domains, and each sponsor has rules for how stringent the qualifications are.

These domains are quite new and as a result many have not been indexed by search engines yet. I have verified that search engines have no problems finding and indexing these, however.


Reserved For

Sponsored by

.aero Air Transport Industry S.I.T.A.
.coop Cooperative Associations Dot Cooperation LLC
.jobs Human Resource Managers Employ Media LLC
.mobi Mobile Products and Services mTLD Top Level Domain, Ltd
.museum Museums Museum Domain Management Association
.travel Travel Industry Tralliance Corporation


Third Party Option – New.Net

There is another option I’ve been asked about – offers a bunch of descriptive TLD’s (I’ll call them nTLD for consistency in this article). The difference is that domains are NOT authorized by IANA and require the user to install a plugin for their browser (or web hosts to specifically add to their DNS servers).

Although I like the idea of new domains, in this case, the lack of authorization and the resulting requirement for a plugin make this option undesirable, especially from a SEO perspective. Witness this quote from their FAQ:

Currently, in order to submit your domain URL into search engines you will need to use the “long” URL. For example, if you own, you would need to submit it as We are actively pursuing search engine partnerships so that domains can be submitted with the “short” URL.

The problem is that they have been saying that last line for several years now and nothing has happened. I personally doubt it ever will. Note that .travel is now a sponsored TLD that IS authorized (by a completely different organization) this means there is now a conflict – something IANA has a mandate to prevent.

This leads me to 2 opinions: 1) IANA does not care in the slightest about, and 2) professional network administrators who care about the integrity of their networks will not allow such a conflict, and the IANA version will win.

As a matter of fact, this letter from ICANN to rejecting their position is pretty clear.

Here is a list of some of the nTLDs:  .agent .church .game .law .ltd .scifi .tech .arts .club .golf .llc .med .shop .travel
.auction .family .inc .llp .mp3 .soc .video .chat .free .kids .love .school .sport .xxx

One last thought – several anti-spyware software flag the plugins are potentially dangerous, and suggest that they be removed. Many consumers follow these suggestions. Do a search on in most search engines and you’ll find most of the ads showing up in relation to the search offer to “remove the spyware”.

Given the above, I do not recommend the use of domains at this time, and probably will not in the future.


Unless otherwise noted, all articles written by Ian McAnerin, BASc, LLB. Copyright © 2002-2006 All Rights Reserved. Permission must be specifically granted in writing for use or reprinting anywhere but on this site, but we do allow it and don’t charge for it, other than a backlink. Contact Us for more information.