[OpenID] Don't you think digital identity URIs should have a specific TLD ?

Bob Wyman bob at wyman.us
Wed Dec 27 12:12:37 PST 2006

On 12/22/06, seb20 <seb.deuxzero at googlemail.com> wrote:
> I'm new to OpenID, and I would like to have your feedback on this
> post I wrote on my blog

One of the important goals in this effort is to make identity as easy as
possible. I think your proposal would make things harder for everyone --
even though it is something that initially sounds quite reasonable. The
problem is that over the years we've learned that even things that sound
"reasonable" can be fraught with problems that appear in practical use. If
identity URLs were to be assigned only under some new ICANN created domain,
then we would have a number of very serious problems to deal with:

   - It isn't certain that ICANN would, in fact, create the new domain.
   - Internationalization is an issue. ".ego" might make sense for a
   number of languages, but we would probably see folk in some countries insist
   that an "identity" domain be established to "sound" like something in their
   language. This would eliminate the value of a single top-level domain.
   - Even if ICANN did create the domain, it wouldn't happen for a long
   time. ICANN is not known to move fast...
   - We wouldn't know for some time what the process would be for
   assigning identities under the domain.
   - Just as we have "competition" for subdomain names now, we would have
   yet-another-namespace to fight over. I have "wyman.us" today. How
   likely am I to be able to get "wyman.ego" assigned to me? (Not
   likely... I would probably end up with something truly ugly like "
   - The current system allows anyone to create an identity URL and it
   allows anyone to create as many as they might like. Thus, I can easily
   create an identity for my daughter under the wyman.us domain without
   needing anyone's permission and without paying anyone for the privilege.
   This freedom to create identities would be lost to some number of
   centralized "identity domain brokers" if we relied on special ICANN
   allocated domains. That would not be good.
   - The more namespaces are associated with each user, the more
   confusing naming and using names becomes. It's hard enough for folk to
   remember that "wyman.us" is my domain (not "bobwyman.com" or "
   wyman.com"). It would be very hard for people remember the association
   between "wyman.us" and "wyman.ego". (Does wyman.ego go with wyman.usor with
   wyman.com?) It would be harder to remember the connection between "
   wyman.us" and "wyman0233.ego".
   - Creating a subdomain under ".ego" would probably require paying
   money to someone. This incremental expense would be a significant burden to
   quite a few users who either don't have the funds or don't have the
   mechanisms to pay (i.e. they would inevitably need credit cards. Not
   everyone who needs an identity has a credit card.)

I'm sure there are other considerations. But, keep thinking of ideas in this
space. There is still much room for new ideas and creativity.

bob wyman
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