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.ECO Soon Available

eco domainFor those who follow domain news, you might be interested to know that there will soon be a domain name for environmentally focused companies and blogs.  The domain extension “.eco” will soon be available according to ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the government sponsored organization charged with supervising the domain name industry.

According to anyone who has tried, creating a new domain extension is quite the nightmare.  Typically, one needs a great deal of funding to complete the process.  And it doesn’t hurt to have a government sponsorship either.  Ever heard of .to?  It was started by an entrepreneur who convinced the island nation of Tonga to lend him their name.  They are compensated, and he is making millions.

The .eco movement is a little more egalitarian.  At least it seems so on the surface.  The group has been soliciting stakeholder input for months, and operates a very user friendly, transparent website.

Big Room, the organization behind the movement has promised to donate 25% of proceeds to environmental and social causes.  In addition, they promise to be the gatekeepers, only allowing companies that prove their eco-friendliness to purchase domain names.  However, they also pledge a user-involved model.  Their co-founder, Trevor Bowden says “We are not going to take the position that we can judge who is green, especially as standards are constantly changing. We will let the consumer decide.”

Critics of the new domain say ICANN is opening up a proverbial can of worms by allowing many new domains to take hold.  Some potentials include .nyc and .xxx.  The current policies of ICANN allow third party registrars (the companies that sell domain names to consumers) to sell trademarked domains at a profit.  As an example, Toyota.me sold recently for $90,000 to Toyota.

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