Monday, January 05, 2009

Are Domain Name Backwards?

Sorry for being so slow, but I have finally got it, internet domain names are backwards. We are used to reading right-to-left. yet when we come to a domain like, we see bandb as the first and most important qualifier of the name. However this leads us down the wrong path.

Today there is a story of a phishing scam where Twitterers getting a Tweet from a friend saying look at this blog post about you at "". Many people looking at this saw that it was a part of the Twitter site as the name starts with "twitter". In fact "twitter" is a sub-domain of "", which of course has nothing to do with Twitter and is in fact a phishing site. On going to you are asked for your password. If you give it, you have been successfully phished.

I was caught by a scam like this at another site some time ago. Fortunately the bad guys only got my password which I changed as soon as I realized that I had been had. The important thing to understand is that we have domain names backwards, with the most important part last and the least important part first. You can argue all you like about how natural it is, but if the domain name had been written com.access-logins.twitter, a lot less people would have been caught by the Twitter phishing scam.

It is also common practice to turn domain names backwards for web analytics. For example, in a web log, if domain names are written backwards, and then sorted, all the accesses to a domain and its sub-domains will sort together.

It is too late to change the order of parts in a domain name now. Web domain names are entrenched in our lives, but think how much better the world would have been if they were written the right way round with the most significant part first.Too bad they did not get it right so long ago.


Oram said...

Domain names are backwards. then you get to the / and you start going forwards again.

Bit like the US way of doing dates - month - day - year. No logic just custom and practice

Anonymous said...

interesting point. as a software professional, your logic or proposal is similar to java package names or fully qualified class names, like (just a made-up name).

I guess another way to add to your argument is changing our phone numbers so that the area code is last, and second last is the prefix, and then the 4 numbers. Hmmm...