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The net's address

by Giles Turnbull -- 2000/10/09

Where are all the .coms? Physically speaking, the net has not lived up to its promise of being a global medium, because 17 percent of domains are located in just five global locations. Wanna guess which ones?

According to recent work in the field of cybergeography by Matthew Zook, five cities (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York, and London) are the given locations for a disproportionately large number of domains.

It follows that the domains go where the money is. Which is a shame, because we all believed the net to be a global thing with no boundaries, didn't we?

How wrong we were. Zook's collection of maps makes for a fascinating tour of the physicality of cyberspace. His map of New York, highlighted in an interview with cybergeography.org, drills right down to street level and shows the domain names lighting up the street corners like hotdog stands.

Zook logically concludes:

Rather than being placeless, the internet is in fact strongly connected to the physical world.

The mapping of domains means we can perhaps extrapolate to other things. These five cities may also be the given location for a disproportionate amount of web content, web commerce, or web government.

As the cybergeography.org article makes clear, the idea that the web is "spaceless" is just another myth.