Hyper Level Domain

I use del.icio.us a lot. It’s convenient for saving my bookmarks using tags. While there are several other websites provide the same service, such as Windows Live Favorites and Yahoo Bookmarks, one thing of del.icio.us that attracts me is its domain name. The trick is that the word delicious is separated by dots and ended with .us, the country code top level domain (ccTLD) of United States. Its actual domain is icio.us, and it comes with a prefix del.

What is cool?

While they were a huge amount of demands on getting a domain ended with .com, .net, .org and etc, del.icio.us has chosen the naming strategy different from others. There are many other domains like this, such as yan.se, a Shanghai based company that provides services on photo printing. The phrase yan se (颜色) in Chinese means colour, which is exactly what the company has to do with.

In general, domains like these does not care what the suffix domain is originally set for. They are heavily language specific. So let us simply call it Hyper Level Domain. A hyper level domain is not really a domain pattern per se. It is often named based on Top Level Domain (TLD) and might even be Second Level Domain (SLD) based possibly.

What is the market?

Since the concept of Web 2.0 was coined in 2004, people have tried and found many labels for it from different aspects, such as AJAX, Wiki, Tags, Simplicity and so on, and many of them are intended to be eye-grabbing. What hyper level domain can provide, is that it starts grabbing eyes from users by the stage of entering the URL in their favorite browsers. And I really want a domain name of wangxiao.hu !

What is the problem?

To register a hyper level domain, some condition is usually applied. Since the suffix of a hyper level domain can be a ccTLD to a particular country, and thus one needs to go to the domain registration companies of that country for it. The problem is, the domain registration policies in most countries require one to provide an actual address in that country. So I cannot register for my wangxiao.hu unless I have an address in Hungary. By checking yan.se in any WHOIS service, you will find it is actually registered with an address in Sweden.

Another problem is that, when more and more hyper level domains are registered, the ccTLD will probably lose its significance. This is also why the address of the domain owner is required in problem above.

Wh.at hyp.er lev.el doma.in na.me c.an y.ou thi.nk of? 🙂

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