ICANNT BELIEVE THEY PAY US FOR THIS
It's been my long-time practice to add custom HOSTS entries to facilitate projects I'm working on which don't have "proper" domain names yet, or to clobber spam sites. What we need to do is set up an alternate DNS system that allows us to register any freaking 255-character string we want as a domain name. Similar to the abundance of free subdomain providers.
An alternate DNS could be federated, to avoid duplication. It would, of course, fallback to existing and future ICANN domains to retain compatibility. Spam, and stale/parked/abandoned domains would be a growing issue, but it always has been - it's not like the existing, restricted DNS system prevents this at all.
I honestly don't see how ICANN could fight us. They don't have a patent on DNS or HOSTS files, do they? There's simply no sense in paying $10-$30+ per year for some fatcat to rent us a dot and a specific word for us to place at the end of our web page names! This has become big business, big politics, and without proportionate benefit.
Our primary obstacle is adoption. Getting a big player involved would really help, though we could launch this viraly, too. I wish Google, freedns or opendns would take up on this. Since they already provide "custom" responses, through their spam/virus/adult content filtering, they seem to have exactly the machinery we need already in place. How about Google gives everyone a free domain with each gmail account? No .com, .net, .org, .info, for me. How about http://austin.texass.loves.theregister/