Country Code Top-Level Domain

Common Law Trademark
An accepted trademark that has not been registered with the appropriate patent and/or trademark office in a given country, but is recognized anyway because of usage.

Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD)
A top-level domain containing a two-character abbreviation as defined by ISO 3166-1 (Codes for the Representation of Names of Countries and Their Subdivisions). As of November 1999, there were 243 country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) registered. Some examples are .us for the United States, .tw for Taiwan, and .jp for Japan.

Domain Name System

Domain Name
An address construct used for identifying and locating computers on the Internet. Domain names provide a system of easy-to-remember Internet addresses, which can be translated by the Domain Name System (DNS) into the numeric addresses (Internet Protocol numbers, or IP numbers) used by the network. A domain name is hierarchical, and often conveys information about the type of entity using the domain name. A domain name is simply a label that represents a domain, which is a subset of the total domain name space. Domain names at the same level of the hierarchy must be unique. For example, there can be only one “.tw” at the top-level of the hierarchy, and only one “” at the second-level of the hierarchy.

Domain Name System (DNS)
A distributed database of information that is used to translate domain names into Internet Protocol (IP) numbers, which are what computers need to find each other online. People working on computers around the globe maintain their specific portion of this database, and the data held in each portion of the database is made available to all computers and users on the Internet. The DNS comprises computers, data files, software and people working together.

Frequently Asked Question

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
A question published on a web site to assist end users.

Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD)
A top-level domain name that is open to registrants around the world. gTLDs are different from country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), which are often restricted to registrants located in a particular country or region. For instance, “.biz” is considered to be a gTLD.

Generic Top-Level Domain

Also called a name server. This is a computer that has both the software and the data (zone files) needed to resolve domain names to Internet Protocol numbers.

Name Server
Also called a host. This is a computer that has both the software and the data (zone files) needed to resolve domain names to Internet Protocol numbers.

The Registrant is the individual or organization that registers a specific domain name through an accredited Registrar. This individual or organization is the entity bound by the terms of a domain name registration agreement with the accredited Registrar.

A Registrar is an entity that registers domain names with the Registry on behalf of Registrants. It is the business that interacts with customers, processes registration orders, and places registration information into the Registry. In addition, it is the entity that acts as an interface between domain name holders and a Registry, collecting registration data about the domain name holders for entry in the Registry.

This is the process through which an individual or organization obtains a domain name through an accredited Registrar. Registration of a domain name enables the individual or organization to use that particular domain name for a specified period of time, provided certain conditions are met and payment for services is made.

Registration Agreement
The agreement between a Registrar and a domain name holder.

The Registry is responsible for delegating Internet addresses such as domain names, and keeping a record of those addresses and the information associated with their individual top-level domains. Examples of domain name registries include NeuStar (.US) and the ISO 3166 country code registries (e.g., .fr, .de, .uk).

The top of the Domain Name System (DNS) hierarchy. Often referred to as the “dot”.

Second-level Domain
In the Domain Name System (DNS), second-level domains are the next lower level of the hierarchy underneath the top-level domains. In a domain name, it is that portion of the domain name that appears immediately to the left of the top-level domain (for example, the “neustar” in “”). Second-level domain names are often descriptive and have come to be used increasingly to represent businesses and other commercial concerns on the Internet.

Service Mark (SM)
A service mark (Harrods) is similar to a trademark, but it is used in the sale or advertising of services to identify and distinguish the services of one company from those of others

An SM represents an unregistered service mark. It is also an informal notification that there is a public claim as a service mark.

Shared Registration System

A ™ represents an unregistered trademark. It is an informal notification that there is a public claim as a trademark.

Third-Level Domain
In the Domain Name System (DNS), third-level domains are the next highest level of the hierarchy underneath second-level domains. In a domain name, it is that portion of the domain name that appears two segments to the left of the top-level domain. For example, the “sterling” in “”. Third-level domains are not the portion of an email address that appears in front of the @ symbol-for example, the “web” in “” is not a third-level domain.

Top-Level Domain

TLD Zone Files
Files that contain data describing a portion of the domain name space for specific top-level domains. Zone files contain the information needed to resolve domain names to Internet Protocol (IP) numbers. They also contain domain names, their associated name server names and the IP addresses for those name servers.

Top-Level Domain (TLD)
In the Domain Name System (DNS), the top-level domain is the highest level of the hierarchy after the root. In a domain name, that portion of the domain name that appears furthest to the right. For example, the “tw” in “”.

Trademark (™ or ®)
A trademark is any word (poison), name (Giorgio Armani), symbol (a logo), device (the Pillsbury Doughboy), slogan (Got Milk?), package design (Coca-Cola bottle) or combination of these (i.e., a mark that identifies and distinguishes a specific product from others in the market place). Even a sound (NBC chimes) or color combination can be a trademark under some circumstances. The term trademark is often used interchangeably to identify a trademark or service mark (

Universal Resource Locator (URL)
A URL is the address to a destination on the Internet or an intranet. It consists of a communications protocol, followed by a colon and two forward slashes (such as “http://”) and the destination location. Some examples of URLs are:
Universal Resource Locator

WHOIS typically describes the searchable database, server, and protocol (the set of rules) that supports a service, or the application used to access a service, that provides a lookup function for end users and Registrars to obtain Registrant information for domain names and name servers, and the contacts associated with them. WHOIS is used for providing this contact information in the generic and country code top-level domains (gTLDs and ccTLDs).

Many organizations have implemented the WHOIS protocol, and maintain separate and distinct WHOIS databases for their respective domains. This is called a Thin Registry System. The gTLDs, such as .BIZ, provide a WHOIS service for all the Registrants of the .BIZ domain, relieving the Registrars from this burden. This is known as a Thick Registry System. The WHOIS server is a TCP/IP transaction-based query/response server over the traditional WHOIS port 43 and provides directory service to Internet users. The WHOIS server is accessible across the Internet from user programs running on local hosts, and it delivers contact information to Internet users.