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Um, It’s Gone, Vint Cerf Did It

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Surprising news comes from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN); they have removed the top-level domain .um, for United States “minor outlying islands,” from the list of available domains.

Even more surprising to people may be the fact that .um even existed in the first place. It was there all those years, and now it’s gone.

The L.A. Times provided a brief obituary for .um, in citing the ICANN decision.

ICANN’s notes described the lack of love anyone had for .um, making it that much easier to erase it from the Internet:

Whereas, the .UM top-level domain was originally delegated in December 1997 .

Whereas, the currently assigned operator is the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute.

Whereas, the .UM domain is not in active use, and the current operator no longer wishes to operate it.

Whereas, ICANN has reviewed the request, and has determined that the returning the domain to unassigned status is the appropriate action to reflect its status.

Recognizing, this would not prohibit future delegation of the domain to another party that meets the regular ccTLD delegation criteria.

Resolved (07.04), that the delegation of .UM be removed from the DNS root, and that it be returned to unassigned status.


The board, chaired by Internet father and Google evangelist Vint Cerf, voted 12-0 to drop .um. That seems like a missed opportunity. Look at the possibilities:

Tedi.um – could have been the home for another social networking site
Medi.um – perfect for psychics
Strat.um – the land of Fender guitars
Cerebell.um – would have made a great name and domain for a neurology conference

No doubt about it, Vint and company dropped the ball on this. A little marketing, a little vision, and .um could have been a fulcr.um for lifting some clever domains onto the World Wide Web.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Um, It’s Gone, Vint Cerf Did It
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