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Internet set to run out of names

Yes it's official - demand outstrips supply and it all ends in tears

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Forget the flesh-eating millennium bug and the porn-posting Melissa virus -- the Internet is facing a far nastier fate. The Net is running out of domain names -- and with 50,000 of the things being registered each day, the crisis could end in total meltdown unless something is done about it. It could even lead to an all-out war as battalions of lawyers around the world begin declaring war on each other as they fight for domain names and trademarks. The claims have been made in a new book, Domain Wars and author Naseem Javed, president of domain name consultancy, ABC Namebank International, believes it could even lead to anarchy on the Net as the domain name registration system collapses under its own weight. According to Javed, the domain name system is the pillar of ecommerce and arguably more important than the Internet itself. After all, without a domain identity, the Internet has no value, he said. "Come the millennium, only the very best names will dominate the global marketplace," he said. "Weak, confusingly similar or nearly identical names will not survive the power of electronic commerce. The duplication factor alone will bury most names in complex global listings," he said. One way round the problem is to replace the current naming system with digits similar to telephone numbers, although such a move is likely to be highly unpopular, he said. ®

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