Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law
A long time ago in a galaxy not so far away, there was a decentralized global network of computers. These computers shared information with each other regardless of how far apart they were and whether there was any direct line of communication between them. In the very beginning, this network was used exclusively by government and military agencies, educational and research institutions, government contractors, scientists, and technology specialists. Instead of the domain names we use today, such as “www. amazon.com,” users typed in numeric addresses, such as “126.96.36.199,” and, later, host names to send information to other computers.
This network soon expanded, and domain names became a practical necessity. There are at least two reasons. First, alphanumeric texts are generally easier for humans to remember than numeric addresses. Second, as Internet traffic increases and computer systems are reconfigured, the computer server used for a particular Web site may change from time to time. In fact, some busy Web sites might use multiple servers, requiring them to take turns to address requests directed to a single domain name. While the Web site owner (or his or her technical staff) might know internally to which numeric address the Web site corresponds at a particular moment, the general public does not. Domain names are therefore needed for identification purposes.
Peter K. Yu,
The Origins of ccTLD Policymaking,
Cardozo J. Int'l & Comp. L.
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