New.net has rolled out 20 new top level domains, such as .xxx and .tech. However, these domains have not been approved by ICANN, so they will not work unless you've either configured your browser to work with them or your network connection has been configured for you. Consequently, they are also likely to pose problems for search engines spiders.
I'm following up to bring you the official word from the various major search engines for the next newsletter, as well as more information from New.net itself. In the meantime, I'd urge caution. If you like the idea of getting some of the new names, which go for $25 per year, feel free to register them now. However, be aware that it seem unlikely that any search engine other than Excite will be able to spider your site under these names, at the moment.
For example, let's say you registered "shoes.shop," one of the possible domains available. You then set up a web site and resolve the domain name to it. Since your browser will have the New.net plug-in, you assume anyone can reach the site that way. Given this, you then submit your home page to various search engine spiders.
Just like your browser, the spiders will only find your site if they've been configured properly or the search engine's internal network has been adjusted to use them. It's virtually certain that none of them have, yet.
An alternative is that they might find your site if they travel along a network that automatically resolves these new names. For example, Excite@Home's broadband subscribers apparently can now reach these domains without any special browser configuration, because Excite@Home already resolves them automatically.
It's for this reason that the Excite spider may be able to resolve the names. One would assume that it travels along Excite@Home's network and so might be able to find these sites automatically.
New.net will provide you with an alternative "normal" domain name for your site, which is simply a subdomain of New.net. For instance, in our example of "shoes.shop," you would also be given "shoes.shop.new.net" as a domain you could use. If you have a brand new site, then you could resolve both names to the same web server. If you submit the normal name, search engine spiders would find your site, while the alternative name would be available for those seeking you directly through the shorter address.
Alternatively, you could simply resolve the new domain name to an existing site with a normal domain name and ignore the additional one New.net provides. In my mind, this is a better solution. That's because the subdomain New.net provides is something the company could change or take away, at any time. In contrast, a normal domain name you register is always in your control.
In short, consider the new names at the moment as an alternative way that people might find your existing web site, but don't think of them as a replacement for having a "normal' domain name. Also see the "Longer Domain Names Article" below for more advice on dealing with multiple domains.
New.net: Getting Started
Many basic questions on the names are answered here.
More background on the new domain names.
idealab! Funds Launch of Domain Registry New.net
LA.internet.com, March 5, 2001
More about New.net and its plans.
New.net Defies Domain System
Wired, March 5, 2001
Another story with more about New.net.
MP3.com Joins Domain Scheme
Wired, March 6, 2001
Covers different partners joining up with New.net, including MP3.com -- or will it be MP3.mp3, soon?
VeriSign giving up .org names
AP, March 2001
The .org ending used to mean non profit organization, but that meaning was lost as Network Solutions when selling .org names to anyone who wanted them. Now Network Solutions-owner VeriSign has agreed to give up its control over this particular domain in exchange for more rights over .com. If the agreement is approved, one provision calls for .org to again be only for use by non-profit organizations. When this would happen and what would happen to existing .org holders remains to be determined.
As usual, ICANN fails to offer any guidance on an important development with the domain name system. An official stance or advice on the New.net service is nowhere to be found. At least there is a link to an FTC warning about preregistering the "official" new domain names that are still in the works at ICANN.
Longer Domain Names Arrive
The Search Engine Update, Jan. 4, 2000
An in-depth look at the longer domain names introduced last year, plus tips on managing multiple domains.