Anybody who's spent more than five minutes on the Internet knows
that our Top-Level Domains are getting crowded. TLDs are the
handful of abbreviations that follow the ubiquitous "dot" in
Internet addresses, such as .gov, .net, .edu and the overpopulated
The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers, the entity
that stirs this alphabet soup, is weighing proposals to create new
TLDs, which is why the world's airlines, acting through IATA,
proposed to establish a .travel domain.
We commend IATA for taking the initiative on this matter and for
submitting a comprehensive and thoroughly documented plan. It looks
like they spent months working on it -- in secret.
IATA, which oversees agency accreditation, settlement, and other
services all over the world, understandably sees itself as
"uniquely positioned" to administer the domain and to screen
applicants seeking to do business there, on a "nonexclusionary"
basis. Still, travel folk who flinch when an airline says "trust
me" will note the presence of words like "fitness" and
"accreditation" in IATA's description of its proposed application
IATA said it intends to create an advisory committee to include
"a broad range of representatives," including consumer groups.
Guidelines would be established to conform with trademark and
copyright laws and prohibit cyber-squatting. Geographic
designations would prevent confusion in the global village, thus
Jazz Tours in Toronto would be jazztours.ca.travel, whereas an
unrelated Jazz Tours in Liverpool could be jazztours.uk.travel.
It's all been very carefully thought out.
And if this goes through, travel agents, hotels, car rental
companies, cruise lines, tour operators -- in a word, all travel
marketers -- will be looking at yet another airline-invented,
airline-administered turnstile, another reminder that you don't wag