With the upcoming ICANN meeting that might decide whether .gay and more than 100 other top-level domains can move forward into actual Internet realities, DotGay chief Scott Sietz — a marketing exec in New York City — says under his control, the .gay domain will be a safe space for homosexuals. As in, no haters allowed. Uh oh.
Earlier you said, “We’re going to have to have a filtering process in advance that puts us in place to authorize that Web site.” You have antigay groups out there. How would you filter them or their remarks in practice?
We’re working on that. We want to limit filtering. But we want to be sure we’re filtering appropriately. It’s not going to slow down your ability to lock down a name you choose. You can go to your registrar, lock down ted.gay. But then you’ll be put through a screening process that will ask what ted.gay is for. Much of this can probably be automated.
Will someone be able to post content that’s legal but offensive? Where do you draw the line?
This is part of the process that we’re developing. That’s the exact certain type of person we need to find a way to have localized on the site. Like if I have to check a box saying I’m over 18, maybe you have to check a box saying that I’m recognizing that this content is potentially unfriendly to the gay community. Yes, the ex-gay community will want to be on the site. The Mormon Church will want to be on the site.
Let’s say I wanted to register ex.gay. Would I be allowed to?
There are two things to that. We’re putting together a policy group. This isn’t just going to be me saying in this interview how it’s going to happen. We can work with some of the best organizations–GLAAD, Lambda Legal. They can help us find a way to filter these people. And help us when they’re going to turn around and sue us. I think we have to assume that’s going to happen. Second, as a community we really object to filtering in general. But how do we avoid subjecting people to the same type of mental abuse they’ve been subjected to in the general market?
From Sietz’s non-answers, it’s clear he wants to make .gay a place where gays (and BLTs) feel safe while also battling any notion of censorship on the web. Fat chance those two ideals can ever peacefully co-exist. The .gay TLD, then, should be treated like any other: on a first-come, first-serve basis, with anyone able to register a domain name and publish whatever content they want on that site. If the Mormon Church registers marriage.gay before HRC, so be it. (What’s going to happen if a “pro-gay” group registers a .gay domain and then wishes to sell it to someone less friendly? Will Sietz’s company take it away?) Like the debut of any other TLD, the unveiling of .gay will create a new land grab. And leave it to Gay Inc. groups to fuck it all up when the time comes.