Just in case you haven’t been closely watching your browser’s address bar, the primary URL of this blog is now geekamama.net. Now you don’t have to remember my first name, middle initial, and last name anymore when you’re trying to construct the URL to get here. Shielding that information from the general public is probably a good idea for me as well. If you’ve got the old URL bookmarked, it will still bounce you over to the official address; they’re both managed by WordPress.
Why .net instead of .com? Oh, it probably has something to do with when I took my first Networking class, back in the fall of 1995. A year and a half before then, in March 1994, Jon Postel had published an RFC* describing the set of top-level domains**, and what each one signified. They were:
- COM – intended for commercial entities, i.e. companies
- EDU – intended for educational institutions
- GOV – intended for government agencies
- MIL – intended for use by the U.S. military
- INT – intended for organizations established by international treaties
- NET – intended for the administrative computers of network service providers
- ORG – the miscellaneous TLD for organizations that don’t fall into any of the other buckets
Over the past 18 years, ORG has come to be associated with nonprofit organizations, rather than being a catch-all for all the leftovers. NET has taken over some of that, but more often seems to be picked up by organizations as a secondary address that redirects to their main site, preventing potential confusion. (It doesn’t always work; compare www.toyota.com and www.toyota.net for an example.)
And COM? Poor COM. It’s evolved into the generic top-level domain for any and almost every web site out there. Businesses, blogs, news agencies, social networking sites, you name it. Even my smartphone browser provides a shortcut key for adding “.com” to the end of whatever you’re typing. I suspect most people sending email and surfing the web don’t ever think about what that trio of letters at the end of the address even means. It’s just a piece of punctuation at the end of a domain name.
So to answer the question of why I went with geekamama.net instead of geekamama.com: I confess it was sheer pedantry. This blog represents neither a commercial entity, nor an educational institution, nor a government department, nor a military agency, nor a non-profit organization, and it certainly didn’t come about through any treaty, let alone an international one. I picked .net because I’d been under the impression that .net was meant to be the TLD for recreational-use domains, until my husband (who has even more familiarity with this networking stuff than I do) asked if I’d become an internet provider.
I’m not sure why Postel and his contemporaries didn’t include a domain specifically intended for personal or private use. But perhaps it was because back then, no one realized what the simple concept of an interconnected network of networks would become. Maybe they didn’t realize that one day, people would rely on it not only to exchange scientific theories, but also to entertain themselves by sharing LOLcats and spamming friends with email forwards.
But fear not. If your fingers have been accustomed to automatically appending “.com” at the end of an address, you won’t go astray. I now own geekamama.com as well, and it will redirect you right back here. Anything for the hit count. 😉
* Request for Comments. It’s generally considered a specification for how pieces of the Internet or Internet-related technology. Officially, it’s a proposal for discussion, but in many cases it’s considered canon*** even if it hasn’t been formally accepted as an official internet standard.
** This is the last piece of a website’s main URL or of an address email address. Generally abbreviated as TLD.****
*** I am aware that “canon” traditionally refers to ecclesiastical matters; however, in the geek world, it’s also used informally to mean the official backstory of a particular piece of fiction, and has been expanded in casual conversation to mean “the unofficial Official Way It Is.”
**** Not to be confused with the initialism TLDR, which stands for Too Long; Didn’t Read, and is used (usually in a deprecatory manner) to indicate that a piece of writing is not concise enough and/or interesting enough that the reader reads all the way to the end. Which is what this blog post has become.
January 25, 2012 at 7:19 am
If you’re pedantic, then so am I. I didn’t realize the significance of .com, .net, etc. I feel like I should see if the .net of my domain is available.
January 25, 2012 at 2:45 pm
I think the only reason I had it rattling around in the back of my brain is because the World Wide Web became a thing in the spring of ’95, right when I was finishing my undergrad. Had it not been for that, I probably wouldn’t have decided to go back for a Comp Sci degree.
…which means I wouldn’t have ever gotten a job at Microsoft, never would have moved to Seattle, never would have met the husband, never would have had Kiddo.
Holy crap. The Intarweb *literally* changed my life. My mind is blown.
January 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm
I think that’s true for a lot of us. No way do I move up here without having met the friends I did on IRC way back in the day.
January 28, 2012 at 10:53 am
I’ve always wondered what TLDR meant, but was afraid to ask because it seemed like one of those things that EVERYONE knew, DUH, and I was hoping I’d figure it out before I had to out myself as being uninformed. Now I don’t have to! Thank you!
January 30, 2012 at 1:02 am
You will find this interesting then. My husband (who works for a domain company), says that next year, Congress will be opening up domain names so there will not be the need for the three letter extensions anymore behind websites. So a website like “www.ILikeCatsAndDogsAndGators.com” can be “www.ILikeCatsAndDogs.AndGators”. 🙂