Drew Crawford on Google’s attempt to own the .dev top-level domain.

Let’s talk about a domain that’s near and dear to my heart, .dev. Wouldn’t it be great to have a domain for content targeted at software developers? So that you could actually get a domain name for www.[your-side-project].dev? Instead abusing the .io domain which is officially for the British Indian Ocean Territory.

Alas, Google does not think much of that plan. Under their shell company “Charleston Road Registry Inc.” (whose “CEO” is merely Google’s in-house counsel), they have applied for control of the .dev domain, which they intend to be:

completely closed for the sole use of Google.

In case you thought that was a typo, they elaborate:

Second-level domain names within the proposed gTLD are intended for registration and use by Google only, and domain names under the new gTLD will not be available to the general public for purchase, sale, or registration. As such, Charleston Road Registry intends to apply for an exemption to the ICANN Registry Operator Code of Conduct as Google is intended to be the sole registrar and registrant.

In case you believe Google is drunk and they meant to apply for some other, more Google-specific string, instead of claiming some kind of monopoly over software development in its entitreity, they helpfully clarify that no, they know exactly what they are doing:

The proposed gTLD will provide Google with direct association to the term ʺdev,ʺ which is an abbreviation of the word, ʺdevelopment.ʺ The mission of this gTLD, .dev, is to provide a dedicated domain space in which Google can enact second-level domains specific to its projects in development. Specifically, the new gTLD will provide Google with greater ability to create a custom portal for employees to manage products and services in development.

The internet protests but Google doesn’t back down.

Google opens with a “how-is-this-not-a-parody” argument that owning a TLD and not allowing anyone else to use it “lead[s] to diversified consumer choice”:

Today, most Internet users have only one practical choice when it comes to how their TLDs are managed: a completely unrestricted model environment in which any registrant can register any name for any purpose and use it as they see fit.

It’s sort of like how North Korea promotes choice because* what if some people want to choose a totalitarian regime*.

They then argue that DNS configuration is too hard and so we should just force all .blog domains to use Google Blogger:

By contrast, our application for the .blog TLD describes a new way of automatically linking new second level domains to blogs on our Blogger platform – this approach eliminates the need for any technical configuration on the part of the user and thus makes the domain name more user friendly

That Google should be allowed to close TLDs because nobody will notice anyway:

Because of the strong user bias toward domains within .com, today a generic .com domain name (e.g., jewelry.com or book.com) is likely to produce more traffic and to be more valuable for a business than a generic TLD.

That Google has spent a lot of time and money trying to buy these domains and if you don’t let them bad things will happen

Applicants have read the guidebook and relied on the policies contained within to guide their applications. They spent considerable time and money on their applications in the hopes they would be granted the applied­ for string. At best, retroactively deciding to allow a more restrictive interpretation of the guidebook and at worst going back and “adding in” policy runs the risk of appearing capricious and eroding trust in the process.

Do you know what the consequences of not giving Google what they want will be? Do you? DO YOU? DO YOU ICANN??

we must remember that changing the process mid­stream will have real and practical consequences for businesses and end users alike.

“Closed generic TLD”. Who even knows what those words mean anyway? I mean, you’d have to get a dictionary, or maybe (gasp) google it. Words don’t real:

In reality, neither of the two words have a contextually appropriate objective definition, and the combined term has no meaning other than what has been invented in recent discussions about the gTLD program.

Tell you what though. You know those 101 domains we applied for? We’ll throw you a bone and open 4 of them. That should resolve the “particular sensitivity within the Internet community” about Google closing the Internet.

Google has identified four of our current single registrant applications that we will revise: .app, .blog, .cloud and .search.