This post will be a bit of speculative philosophical techy meditation, but bear with me please.
There are all sorts of problems with getting a domain nowadays. If someone is not cyber-squatting it, it might just be taken already (for a legit reason) and even if it all works well, it still costs you money. But we’re hanging on to our domains as the one and only solution for remembering websites. Why? Well, because it’s easy to remember www.alexflorescu.com, not that easy to remember 126.96.36.199, although both addresses will take you back here.
Nonetheless, we’ve seen a steady raise in the power and usage of search engines. While the first time I ever connected to the Internet I had a BOOK with websites and then went through years of carefully mastering the art of search engines to ever get anywhere, now I rarely even use bookmarks anymore. I know what the website I’m looking for *is* and I just use Google to get to it. It’s simply more convenient and faster.
I’ve seen a lot of people that don’t even use the address bar anymore. They type everything in the Google search bar that arrives by default on the Firefox homepage. Some of these users do not even acknowledge the existence or role of the address bar; they don’t know what it is, they’ve never used it, if it were removed they would not even notice it.
So then what is the remaining purpose of domains? Why bother when people won’t even remember the domain at all? Oh yes, they will most probably remember the title if anything, but they can use that to get to your website any day by just googling it and it’s the title they remember, not the domain. If these two happen to be different, the title will stick, the domain won’t (I’ve had this happen to me once).
Taking into account the complication and the security issues inherent to domains, I think dropping the whole idea altogether is something that should at least be considered. Of course, then we are faced with the problem of putting all the power to navigate the Internet in the power of a few (if not only ONE) huge corporations. But don’t be naive, we’ve already done that. Now let’s just make the best of it.