.web is a generic top-level domain operated as a prospective registry, not in the official root, by Image Online Design since 1995.

It originated when Jon Postel, then running the top level of the Domain Name System basically single-handedly, proposed the addition of new top-level domains to be run by different registries.

Since Internet tradition at the time emphasized "rough consensus and running code", Christopher Ambler, who ran Image Online Design, saw this as meaning that his company could get a new TLD into the root by starting up a functional registry for it.

After asking and receiving permission from IANA to do so, IOD launched.web, a new unrestricted top level domain.

Since then IOD has tried to get their domain into the official root through several plans to admit new top-level domains.

Several new-TLD plans in the late 1990s, including Postel's original proposal, failed to reach sufficient consensus among the increasingly contentious factions of the Internet to admit any new TLDs, including.web.

When ICANN accepted applications for new TLDs in 2000 which resulted in the seven new domains added soon afterward, IOD's application was not approved; neither was it officially rejected, however, since all unapproved applications remain in play for possible future acceptance.

A second round of new TLDs, however, was done entirely with new applications, and only for sponsored domains.

The.web registry remains hopeful, however, that their application will eventually be approved.

On May 10, 2007, ICANN announced the opening of public comments towards a new, third round of new gTLDs, a round in which IOD has indicated that it intends to participate.At times IOD has claimed priority rights to the TLD string.web, although any legal basis for such a claim is questionable given that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has stated that top-level domains are not trademarkable in themselves.

IOD does, however, have a registered trademark in the term "web".

When, at various times, proposals were made to add a.web domain not operated by IOD, they have objected, and to date, no such plans have been approved; an application by Afilias to operate a.web domain was turned down in favor of their running.info instead.

Vint Cerf, then chair of ICANN, noted that he recognized IOD's pioneering work in.web, and felt that.web should be held in reserve for IOD's application in the next round rather than be awarded to Afilias, preferring that they receive.info instead.

The IOD.web registry has in the past accepted registrations, and intends to allow them to continue in force after entering the root, although some commentators feel that ICANN ought to require them to discard existing registrations and proceed with a startup procedure as with other new TLDs, so as not to grant any legitimacy to unofficial registrations.

In the meantime, some movies have taken to using.web domains for their fictional companies.

For example, Next Day Air has advertised on one of their trucks, www.nda.web.

Skyfall advertises www.868000.web on the side of a taxi during a pursuit scene..

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  • Introduced
    Not in official root; run as a prospective registry since 1995
  • TLD type
    Proposed top-level domain; alternative registry domain
  • Status
    Run as a prospective registry and proof of concept; has been attempting to get into official root since founding; still has pending application before ICANN
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