Domain names are, in basic terms, the addresses of websites located on the Internet. Just like the address of a residence a domain name acts, as the address, necessary to locate a particular website on the Internet. E-mail is sent and web pages are found through the use of domain names.
As an example, the web address for the Facebook website is www.facebook.com, while Mark Zuckerberg might have an e-mail address such as email@example.com (both using the "facebook.com" domain name). Without the domain name, a computer would not know where to look for a particular web page, and e-mail routers would not be able to send e-mail to a particular person. But, domain names are much more than just addresses, they are often trademarks and are usually closely associated with a particular product or service.
Domain names are divided into a sliding scale of importance. The top level of the scale appears after the last dot ('.') in a domain name. In "facebook.com", the top level domain name is .COM. The .COM name is the most common (and most sought) top level domain name, and is used to indicate that the domain name is owned by a commercial enterprise. Other common top level domain names include .ORG (for non-profit organizations), .NET (for network and Internet related organizations), .EDU (for four-year colleges and universities), .GOV (for government entities) and .XXX (for adult entertainment entities).
Other than these top level domain names, each country has been given a unique top level domain name. For instance, .CA indicates a domain in Canada, .RU indicates an Russian domain and .AR is reserved for Argentina. Although there is a .US top level domain name, most organizations in the United States outside of state and local governments opt for the generic top level names (i.e., .COM, .ORG, .NET), which are available to entities in any country. The latest release of a new top level domain was â.XXXâ that is being used by the adult entertainment industry and it is expected that additional new top level domain names will continue to be created as real estate becomes more scarce.
The option to release .XXX domain names was approved by ICANN on March 18, 2011, paving the way for a variety of new addresses suffixed by the famous triple X. Prior to its approval, opposition to it was proffered by both conservative groups opposed to pornography and adult entertainment companies fearing they would be more easily compartmentalized and potentially blocked by overzealous governments. Moreover, every adult website at present will effectively be forced to buy its .XXX version.
Disputes that do arise over domain names, typically involve "second level" domain names. The second level name is the name directly to the left of the top-level domain name in an Internet address. For instance, in the address "www.facebook.com", the second level domain name is Facebook.
Two identical second level domain names cannot coexist under the same top level domain. For example, even though both the Delta Faucet Company and Delta Airlines would have liked the "delta.com" domain name from the beginning, only one Delta company can have operate under delta.com. Unfortunately for both Delta Faucet Company and Delta Airlines, the Delta company who first acquired delta.com was DeltaComm, a small ISP, who then sold it to Delta Financial of Woodbury, New York. In the end Delta airlines acquired possession of the delta.com domain in a lawsuit with Delta Financial, while Delta Faucet Company continues to uses deltafaucet.com.