The list of Internet domain names just got shorter.
The Internet's key oversight agency decided recently to yank ".um" — for U.S. "minor outlying islands."
No one was using it anyhow, and the organization that has run ".um" — the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute — no longer wanted to bother.
So the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers decided unanimously last week to eliminate it entirely, bringing the list of domains to 264. There are still separate domains for larger U.S. territories, including ".gu" for Guam and ".vi" for the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Internet has seen new domain names such as ".eu" for Europe and ".travel" for the travel industry in recent years, and ICANN is reviewing a proposal to create an online red-light district under ".xxx."
Last month, it began accepting public comments on how best to pare the list by revoking outdated suffixes, primarily assigned to countries that no longer exist. The Soviet Union's ".su" is the leading candidate for deletion; that'll be harder to strike than ".um" — a Google search produced more than 3 million ".su" sites.
The decision to eliminate ".um" is independent of last month's efforts and was driven by ISI's desire to get rid of it. The USC institute ended up with control of ".um" in 1997 simply because its staff was in charge of the Domain Name System. That role went to ICANN with its creation in 1998 but ".um" stayed with ISI.