domain names

It’s Almost Time To Purchase

A new series of top-level domains (or TLDs) is about to be unleashed on the world — or so the backers of suffixes like .islam, .sport, and .gay hope. DotGay LLC wants to run the show for .gay, and CEO Scott Seitz promises two-thirds of the revenue will go toward “social causes.” The Washington Post reports on the new Internet land rush:

Who gets to run .abortion Web sites – people who support abortion rights or those who don’t? Which individual or mosque can run the .islam or .muhammad sites? Can the Ku Klux Klan own .nazi on free speech grounds, or will a Jewish organization run the domain and permit only educational Web sites – say, remember.nazi or antidefamation.nazi? And who’s going to get .amazon – the Internet retailer or Brazil?

The decisions will come down to a little-known nonprofit based in Marina del Rey, Calif., whose international board of directors approved the expansion in 2008 but has been stuck debating how best to run the program before launching it. Now, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, is on the cusp of completing those talks in March or April and will soon solicit applications from companies and governments that want to propose and operate the new addresses.

This week, hundreds of investors, consultants and entrepreneurs are expected to converge in San Francisco for the first “.nxt” conference, a three-day affair featuring seminars on ICANN’s complicated application guidelines. The conference’s Web site, which has a list of applicants, is not without a sense of humor: “Join the Internet land rush!” a headline screams, above a photograph of the Tom Cruise character galloping on a horse in the movie “Far and Away,” the 1992 film about giveaways out West in the late 19th century.

So who’s going to decide whether you can own TedHaggardIsABig.Gay or Thats.Gay? Back in 2009, there was a battle between two competing firms: the Dot Gay Alliance, which was backed by Rosie O’Donnell’s gay lawmaking brother Daniel (and which hasn’t posted a Twitter update since 2009), and DotGay LLC, from Seitz. “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.”

I call first dibs on