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Archived Comments for: A call for a moratorium on the .health generic top-level domain: preventing the commercialization and exclusive control of online health information

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  1. Glaring omission in this article?

    Kevin Murphy, TLD Research Ltd

    6 October 2014

    I've read this article twice and it seems to me it's missing a very important piece of the argument, namely: why would an unregulated .health be bad?

    There's an assumption that a .health without "safeguards" would be bad, but at no point does the article explain why it would be bad.

    The article merely lists four examples of domain names that could be registered and allows the reader to draw their own conclusions.

    http://www.[smoking].[health](potentially purchased by a tobacco company) 
    http://www.[vaccinatekids].[health](potentially purchased by anti-vaccine activists)
    http://www.[obesity].[health](potentially purchased by a junk food company) 
    http://www.[cancer].[doctor](potentially purchased by unscrupulous vendors catering to the desperate dying)

    Let's assume that all four of these scenarios play out as described here.

    So what?

    Tobacco companies, junk food companies, anti-vaxers and scammers already exist on the internet. They have web sites, they spread their poison and their lies using existing TLDs such as .com, .org, .uk, etc.

    Any charlatan can today register a .com domain proclaiming they have the cure for cancer, that MMR vaccine causes autism or that Big Macs make you thin.

    Why will .health make this worse?

    Do the authors assume that .health will act as a badge of authenticity? They don't say.

    Do they assume that people will automatically trust .health more than .com? On what basis?

    Do they assume that people will type .health domains into their browsers rather than using search engines to find the information they need? Where's the data to back this up?

    The argument that users will trust information in .health more than .com (which I'm inferring because the article does not articulate it) is perhaps not as self-evident as the authors seem to think.

    Neither is is obvious that users will find themselves navigating to .health sites using domain names.

    It may well transpire that .health will confer illusory trustworthiness on web sites that use it -- I don't know -- but this article fails to even make the beginnings of a case for that hypothesis.

    I'm also a little troubled that my own blog ( is cited as an "unconfirmed report" in the final paragraph. It would have been the work of a few moments for the authors to independently confirm that .health has already been awarded (search for "health" on this page

    Competing interests

    I write a blog ( about the domain name industry that is primarily funded by advertising revenue from that industry.