That’s right DNS is a scam.
When you register a domain, they’re selling you air.
To understand this we have to jump into the way back machine and take a jaunt to the early days of the Internet.
Every computer on the Internet has an IP address. Back in the 70s when there were only three computers on the Internet it was easy to remember their numbers. Unfortunately most humans suck at remembering long strings of arbitrary numbers. It’s a lot easier to remember snarkybytes.com than 22.214.171.124 so the geniuses at ARPANET invented the hosts file. The hosts file matched a name to an IP address. That worked great until the early 80s when the Internet had grown to the point that the hosts file was getting hard to manage. Along came DNS, a nifty new hierarchical, distributed, hosts file replacement. DNS matches a name to an IP address just like the hosts file but each domain (for instance snarkybytes.com) maintains it’s own name to IP address records. A central authority, ICANN, decides what top level domains will be allowed on the Internet and sells name registration franchises.
The bottom line: All DNS does is match a name to an IP address. It’s the IP address that actually gets you somewhere on the Internet. Unlike the IPv4 address limit of around 4 billion addresses, there is no actual limit on DNS names. There’s no limit on Top Level Domains. Other than politics and the desire to create artificial scarcity (money) there’s no reason at all to limit the number of TLDs. So when you see ICANN announce new top level domains for ONLY $185,000 you know it’s all about the money. I’m not normally one to begrudge anyone a profit but in this case I’m gonna begrudge. One, ICANN is a non-profit organization. Two, these TLDs don’t cost anything*. ICANN is creating something out of thin air and charging a ridiculous amount of money for it. The other side of the ICANN coin is politics. Because it’s under central control, DNS is susceptible to interference from governments. Unlike the Internet itself, which is decentralized and redundant, DNS is controlled by ICANN. It’s too easy, as we’ve seen lately, for governments to use this central control to interfere with Internet access.
Like the hosts file before it, the Internet is outgrowing the DNS system. It’s cumbersome and too susceptible to politics and power games. I’d like to see a more decentralized system replace DNS. It makes no sense that the Internet, the ultimate in decentralization is hobbled by a centralized DNS.
*Yes, there are minor costs associated with maintaining root name servers but there are only 13 of them and ICANN only runs one. The rest are maintained by various private and government organizations. The cost of running those servers is trivial.