What is a Domain Name

A domain name is known technically as a “uniform resource locator” or “URL.”  The domain name actually consists of a series of numbers that are used to identify a specific computer connected to the internet.  A domain name is an internet protocol address (“IP address”) made of a string of four sets of numbers separated by periods such as “206.110.241.01.”  The IP address is similar to a telephone number in that it can be used to send and receive electronic communications to and from the IP address.

Because it can be difficult for most people to remember a long string of numbers, Dr. Jon Postel of the University of Southern California helped to create what is now known as the Domain Name System (DNS), which is a system by which computers translate a  unique set of numbers, letters and characters into the corresponding IP address.   To determine the IP address of a known domain name, go to Tracert and enter the domain name in the blank space and click on “Resolve.”

Each domain name must be unique, just as two people cannot have the same telephone number.  It is this requirement of uniqueness that creates valuable domain names and problems arising from trademark infringement and cybersquatting.  Business.com sold for $7,500,000.  Sex.com was the subject of a six year legal dispute that resulted in the original owner of the domain name getting a judgment for $65,000,000 against the man who allegedly improperly acquired sex.com.  No domain name would be worth that kind of money if it were not unique.