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Who Will Control the .GAY Domain?

The Washington Post reports on this week's  ".nxt" conference in San Francisco, a three-day affair featuring seminars on ICANN's complicated application guideline at which applicants for the next round of available domain suffixes will converge. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, is the non-profit which decides who gets to control those suffixes.

It's certainly not without controversy: Dotgayalliance

Lauren Weinstein, co-founder of People for Internet Responsibility, a grass-roots firm in Los Angeles, alleges that the new domains are designed purely to make money for ICANN and the companies that control the domains. The new Web addresses, he added, will only mean more aggravation for trademark holders and confusion for the average Internet user.

Peter Dengate Thrush, chair of the ICANN board of directors, argued that the high application fee is based on the nonprofit's bet that it's going to get sued, and to protect against cybersquatters or other organizations ill equipped to manage an entire domain of hundreds, if not thousands of Web sites. "Our job is to protect competition and give extra choices for consumers and entrepreneurs," Thrush said.

So far there are two listed applicants ("The price tag to apply is $185,000, a cost that ensures only well-financed organizations operate the domains and cuts out many smaller grass-roots organizations, developing countries or dreamers, according to critics.") for the .gay suffix.

One is the Dot-Gay Alliance, which I posted about in October 2009 and is headed up by former Star and Details editor Joe Dolce.

The organization explained on its website: "It’s a community that gives back: 51% of all profits earned will be returned to the LGBT community in the form of grants to leading civil rights organizations. That means that everyone who owns a .GAY web address automatically contributes to the fight for LGBT equal rights in the US and around the world."

Dotgayllc The other applicant is DotGayLLC. Its founder spoke to the WaPo:

Scott Seitz, the CEO of DotGay LLC, wants to build a universe of sites - he expects 300,000 initially - with addresses such as lawyers.gay, aids.gay, hotels.gay or communitycenter.gay. He has the backing of several prominent gays rights groups including Human Rights Campaign and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

Seitz, who is gay, said the simple idea of operating the domain devoted to the gay movement exerts its own pressures. "I have a responsibility, and I am in awe of that," said Seitz, adding that he and his business partners intend on donating two-thirds of their revenue to various social causes. "I buried 40 friends in 18 months [who died from complications related to HIV]. Having .gay is scary, it could be crazy. I've already told people to get steel doors and window bars for security to protect against anti-gay organizations that wouldn't want dot-gay to happen."

More at the Washington Post...

There's additional controversy brewing over a proposal from the United States that ICANN representatives from any nation be allowed to veto a  generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) for any reason:

In other words, proposed domain endings such as .gay and .humanrights wouldn’t have a chance if nations wishing to censor those topics from their citizens are allowed veto domain names.

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Comments

  1. I think this is a dumb idea. What's next, dot jew??

    Posted by: ty | Feb 7, 2011 12:31:35 PM


  2. This seems to me to be a solution having no known problem. The WaPo article notes what duds GTLD's like .biz have been.

    Posted by: Doctor Whom | Feb 7, 2011 12:44:10 PM


  3. I far prefer towleroad.com to towleroad.gay

    And what about gay.com? gay.gay is just one gay too far

    Posted by: ravewulf | Feb 7, 2011 12:50:54 PM


  4. Unnecessary.
    Not there yet.
    That is not how the internet works.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Feb 7, 2011 1:23:32 PM


  5. Wow, I thought I'd be the only one that thought this was .stpd and .unnssry

    Posted by: johnny | Feb 7, 2011 2:43:57 PM


  6. The entire UTL/TLD system for the Internet is antiquated and is not related to how addressing/searching actually works. If two companies need to use a term, such as Apple Computers and Apple Records, the use of .com or .biz will hardly make for a satisfactory solution. And apple.gay would indicate what? Records that appeal to a gay audience, or records by gay artists? Or software/hardware for gays? No, we actually need search engines to find what we are looking for, so domains names should be unique and unambiguous. Protection of trademarks should be entirely secondary.

    Posted by: anon | Feb 7, 2011 2:48:54 PM


  7. By joining a "dot.gay" system we simply relegate ourselves to the Internet ghetto.

    Posted by: JONNY NYNY2FLFL | Feb 7, 2011 4:42:45 PM


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