This website was built to protest licensing my dog with petdata.com. You can read more about that rant on this twitter thread.
The endings of websites, such as .com, .org, .info, can be bought with zero restrictions. For example, this website is a .org. I bought it and had this website built in one hour.
Some endings, such as .gov or .edu have restrictions. A .gov must be a government entity and .edu is reserved for education. This is important because these endings indicate authority.
Here are a list of San Mateo domain names, that I view to lack authority, since any one or all of these websites could be potentially not associated with our actual local government.
Why does this matter?
Let's come back full circle to this petdata.com example.
When I first received a letter in the mail from petdata.com, it referenced a San Mateo County ordinance and fee to license my dog. This linked to a website, smchealth.org, that looks very official. It's probably legit, but I can't verify that by looking at it.
To me, any mail received that asks for money needs to provide more authority than a simple link to a domain that just about anyone could build.
This website was thrown together very quickly, but can you imagine if I was trying to steal money from you and wanted to make it look legit, how easy it could be for someone with my particular set of skills?
The main point I'm getting at is that we need to hold our government to a higher standard. There is literally a way for them to ensure authority to citizens using domain names ending in .gov.