As most of you know by now, New York has become the newest state to legalize gay marriage.
As the owner of GayMarriage.com we have been following the story closely and now all eyes in the domain world will turn towards the new gTLD .Gay.
Its no secret that a group lead by domainer Alexander Schubert is going to apply to operate the .Gay registry based off a community application.
Why try to get the extension as a community?
Because if you can do that, you avoid a possible auction where the high bidder wins.
A community is entitled to its extension, but can something other than a non-geographic region be a community?
To give you a feel for how complicated an issue this is here is a transcript from an ICANN session on the new gTLD’s and a discussion on the topic: especially those remarks of Mike Rodenbaugh who is an attorney and has served on ICANN committee which were part of creating the Applicant Guidebook:
“”Just to cap it, any of these objections is going to take you out of the normal flow. and, you know, assuming that there is hundreds of applications i think is an extremely conservative estimate. there is really time-to-market issues that you have to consider. any objection is going to take you out for a good six, eight months minimum.
“Clearly, there are some strings that are going to be more popular and have multiple applicants, and if they’re both simply generic, they’ll go to auction, but icann has also identified this community preference to — as a way of you demonstrating you have support from your special-interest group for that very popular string.”
it’s not something to — it’s not a step to take lightly.
It’s something that if you’re planning to apply in January as a community, you should be , you should have lined up support by now from members of that community, and the applicant guidebook is very detailed in terms of how you can demonstrate that level of commitment.”
so that’s will likely be one of the biggest areas of disputes.
“we’ve seen disputes just recently with dot xxx and dot jobs, which are really community-based disputes, so i think you’ll see a lot of community-based disputes based on — and it’s — it will happen — it could happen to any application, but the likelihood is raised if you’re claiming a community preference.
“It’s very — going to be very difficult, i think, very difficult, to — suffice to say, to prove that you’re a community-based application particularly if you’re going for a more generic word. in fact, the guidebook specifically cautions against it.
The Guidebook says community-based applications are intended to be a narrow category.
It says, you know, that the whole guidelines — and there’s 10 pages of scoring guidelines as to whether or not you’re a community, and you have to get 14 of 16 points.
They’re designed to eliminate false positives, meaning referring to a community construed merely to get a sought-after generic word as a TLD string. ”
“I mean, ICANN is specifically cautioning against this and if you really get into the weeds with the evaluation criteria, it’s going to be very difficult to show.”
“Bottom line, if — you will lose two points — meaning you have to have an absolutely perfect — all the remaining 14 points if two or more non-negligible groups oppose your application you will also lose one point — and so therefore your application is now dead — if two non-negligible groups oppose you and your string has some sort of alternate meaning.
“In other words, as a generic word, so it seems to me that generic vertical words are simply not likely to qualify under almost any circumstances.”
“The only other thing that i would add about it is you also have to show your dedicated use policies, your security verification policies. it’s very — intended to try to limit your audience, rather than allow you to have an extremely large audience, and you have to live with these rules, again, for the life of the term. it’s going to be very, very difficult for a community-based applicant to change those rules later.”
Sara Langstone (of Verisign) :
“I just wanted to make sure that everybody that was aware who are thinking of applying as a community, sometimes i hear people get confused and they think that if they opt for a community priority evaluation, that it means they’re not going to have to go to auction. and they don’t realize, sometimes, that more than one party can receive more than 14 of the 16 points, and that you could still end up in an auction situation and have the costs of, you know, managing the more narrow registrant base and the more extensive eligibility policies.”
Frederick Felman: “I guess there also are fees associated with the community priority evaluation as well which you must pay, so there’s also a cost consideration, so you should be certain of it before you actually incur those fees.”
So that should give you just a little feel about how complicated the new gTLD process will be.
Of course there are many gay and lesbian organizations around the world and many are in favor and are vocally supporting a .Gay extension.
Here is some information on that from the .Gay Alliance Facebook page:
There’s been much discussion about how the LGBT community would use a .GAY web address that dedicates a majority of its profits to LGBT civil rights causes in the US and abroad. We who are behind this effort see the benefits clearly, and this report, which comes from Marketing VOX: The Voice of Online Marketing, adds more power to the argument. Most enlightening. Check it out:
The successful addition of a “.gay” domain will likely influence how marketers target the LGBT community online, especially if LGBT users begin to widely adopt its use as a means of raising funds for various gay causes, or expect that it will be used to specifically target GLBT users, who have proven to be loyal to products, organizations and causes that support gay issues.
According to one Harris Interactive poll, nearly one in four (24%) LGBT adults said they had switched products or service providers in the previous 12 months because they found a competing company that supported causes that benefited the LGBT community.
The “.gay” movement also may be a natural fit for the online-friendly LGBT users, who are much more engaged online, and with social media in particular, than their heterosexual peers, a recent survey found.
Approximately 55% of gays and lesbians report reading some type of blog, compared with just 38% of heterosexuals, according to a separate Harris Interactive survey.
Other statistics about the online GLBT population:
* 34% of online gay and lesbian adults say they read news and current-issue blogs, compared with 22% of heterosexuals.
* 25% of gay and lesbian adults read entertainment and pop culture blogs, compared with 15% of heterosexuals.
* 28% of gay and lesbian adults read political blogs, compared with 14% of heterosexual adults. This represents an increase over March 2008, when 23% of GLBT read political blogs.
* 14% of gay and lesbian respondents say they read travel blogs, compared with 8% of heterosexuals.
So this will be one of the more interesting applications to watch.
There is no doubt in my mind that there will be more than one applicant for the extension and certain members of the Government Advisory Council (GAC) may also object to the string.
Will it be awarded on a community basis?
If you follow Mr. Rodenbaugh logic there is little chance as long as there are mulitple applicants.
Guess we will find out but its certain shaping up to be a long and expensive fight.