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By Nov. 1, World Wide Web users had registered 31,793,121 domain names. With the pool of pleasing dictionary words running dry, people are getting grabby. A couple of thousand disputes over names have gone into arbitration run by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), de facto overseer of domain names. Hundreds of people have sued, while hundreds of thousands are suffering silently, hoping that, sooner or later, ICANN will provide more “top level” domains, which are the letters including the final dot, such as “.com” and “.edu.” There are seven now. ICANN expanded the maximum domain name length to 67 characters. This summer it solicited proposals for companies to administer new top levels such as “.kids” or “.stores.” The deadline was Oct. 2, but ICANN hasn’t announced when the first new dot-strings will be unveiled. NATIVES ARE RESTLESS Many impatient netizens have tried to confabulate more domains. One group has fenced in an area where one can use “.god.” The Web site of Name.Space Inc., will send one to a site where any word can be the top-level domain. Meanwhile, New York solo practitioner Robert Kunstadt is so exasperated that he has created Internet Expander, a Web application he recently posted at LotMore.net. Its payoff: three more addresses to build around words like “sex” and “shoes.” Kunstadt’s protest device is probably too clunky to be a mass hit. Type in, say, “sex,” press the blue button, and one is sent to register the name “yip-sex.com.” His idea is that, once registered, you can advertise the site as “FoodBlue” and the public will find it as “FoodBlue” — as long as they go through LotMore.net. That’s too elaborate for some. “I can’t put it on my business card,” said A. Michael Froomkin, who teaches law at the University of Miami and helps run the nonprofit watchdog group ICANNWatch. Kunstadt’s quixotic gateway may serve better as a reminder of the problem than the solution, said Froomkin, adding, “It’s a sign of how artificial and constrained things have become.” He is grumpily awaiting action from ICANN.

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