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I'm not trying to be BOFH here... but it's not unreasonable to expect web users to have the same basic knowledge of a URL that they have for a telephone number. Most(perhaps nearly all?) of telephone users in the US know that in 123-456-7890, the "123" is an area code, "456" is an exchange, and "7890" is the line number. URLs are not that different. A similar knowledge of URLs would serve users well.

It's not really about the structure of the URL it's there's not a good way for someone to know what URL goes with an IRL identity.

What's the URL for Valve's Steam?

* steam.com

* valve.com

* steamgames.net

* store.steampowdered.com

* steampowered.com

If you guessed none of them except for steampowered.com, congrats!

What's the URL for Americal Eagle, the clothing store?

* americaneagle.com

* americaneagleoutfitters.com

* aeo.com

* ae.com

* aerie.com

If you guesses all of them except americaneagle.com congrats!

You're right, my phone number comment really didn't add up after I read your response. I can't think of a good solution for your example, even something as well known as Steam or American Eagle falls apart when the average person is presented with multiple choices. Short of spending loads of $$$ buying every domain similar to your company name, I don't see any good solutions. Sad state of affairs :(

This is an abuse issue at the DNS level, not a problem suitable for end user cosmetic witchery in the browser. Fix DNS abuse.

It would, but the web is a mass-market project - while it would be nice if everyone understood how to read a URL, we should cater to the lowest (within reason) common denominator - especially when it comes to security.

The threat model for phone numbers is considerably different, not least due to the link-based nature of the web and email. The URL takes on the role of both the number and the caller ID (if caller ID didn't suck) - you should be able to be confident that you're talking to who you think you're talking to.

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