All four companies vying to claim the .gay internet domain have passed the first hurdle, earning passing grades on their initial evaluations, but New York-based dotgay LLC soon hopes to sprint past the competition.
“We were the first of the .gay [applicants] to pass, but that’s really just based on the fact that we had an early lottery number,” says Jamie Baxter, dotgay’s vice-president of marketing.
The initial evaluation, conducted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), examined the company’s business model, financial plan and technical capabilities.
ICANN is the non-profit organization responsible for the global coordination of the internet’s system of unique identifiers like domain names (such as .org, .museum and country codes like .uk) and the addresses used in a variety of internet protocols that help computers reach each other over the internet.
“We have proven that we have the technical capability to run .gay and that we have a sound financial business plan behind it,” Baxter says.
Dotgay will likely face its next hurdle in late September, when the community priority evaluations (CPE) are scheduled to begin. As the only community applicant for .gay, a successful CPE would mean victory for dotgay.
“If we get 14 out of 16 points on that score sheet, then we trump all the other applications for .gay,” Baxter says.
If the community application is unsuccessful, then .gay will be put up for auction equally among all four applicants.
The CPE will award a maximum of 16 possible points based on the pre-existence of an organized community, the size and longevity of the community, how the name .gay connects to the community, if .gay has any other meanings not connected to the community, the applicant’s registration policies, and community endorsements.
If its community application is successful, dotgay has committed to starting a separate charitable foundation to give back to the community, using 67 percent of the profits from domain name sales.
Currently, there are about two dozen active top-level domains (TLDs) — not including geographic domains — on the web, including .com, .net, .org and .info.
That number is slated to increase dramatically — from a few dozen to more than a thousand — as the pool of TLDs expands to include almost any term imaginable.
ICANN is now evaluating 1,930 proposals from different applicants looking to operate 1,409 possible TLDs. Each application costs a hefty $185,000 and, if successful, another $25,000 annual fee.
Dotgay has also recently been dealing with a community objection filed against it by the Metroplex Republicans of Dallas (formerly the Log Republicans Dallas).
According to Baxter, they would prefer .gay be a free-market entity and that it not be governed in the way proposed by dotgay.
“They voiced concerns around a conservative voice not having a place on .gay,” Baxter says. He is confident the objection will be resolved successfully.
The Metroplex Republicans of Dallas did not respond to Xtra’s request for an interview.