The 'Nxt' Internet revolution is all about domains
by David Duran
The Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco was the host last week to the Nxt Internet conference, which covered new developments in domains.
Thinking of domain extensions automatically triggers dot-com or dot-gov. There are a few more out there like dot-info or dot-edu, used by universities. In just a few months, however, the very controversial dot-xxx will be coming out. And in the next round of open registration, many more top level domains (TLDs) will be coming to light.
In January, the application window will open for new TLDs and will be open for three months.
"The first domains will be most likely available by the end of 2012, with the bulk by early 2013," explained Kieren McCarthy, CEO of Nxt. When applying for a new TLD, it is important in the application process to establish how you will be using it, whether that be opening it up to the public or keeping it specific to one company or entity that may have trademark rights to that certain name. Nxt provides information about what is going on in Internet policy and governance and how to get involved. McCarthy explained that there are currently a lot of people on a list who have said they are going to be applying for new TLDs in January but they won't actually know until they do. The fee for applying is $200,000.
There are those who are not necessarily opposed to TLDs but have some valid concerns about big corporations coming in and taking over. Also, there is a fear of cyber squatting, which is the act of buying domains in bulk with anticipation that someone will want one in the future and purchase it from you for a sizeable profit.
Former Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow was present at the conference and voiced his feelings about the application process. Barlow has a very extensive resume when it comes to the Internet, and can claim to having opened his first email account in 1985. He believes in free expression on the Internet and joked, "My ambition in life is to eliminate broadcast media."
He went on to say, "Domain names are good for putting on the side of a bus, but personally, I find them useless."
Barlow prefers the use of search engines. The only issue with this is that only using search engines could potentially put companies such as Google and Microsoft in an unwanted monopoly. Most people don't know any other search engines outside of those two and Yahoo.
During the open registration in January, there will be an option for community applications.
"I don't have a problem with TLDs such as dot-art or dot-music, but I do have a problem with assigning TLDs to commercial enterprises," Barlow said.
Scott Seitz, co-founder and CEO of Dot-Gay LLC, has pledged to lead the community application for the dot-gay domain. Although he hopes there isn't anyone else applying for the dot-gay TLD, he really won't know until January.
Seitz told the Bay Area Reporter , "You must reach out to the community and go public. It's important to be authentic," when asked about the approach to take when applying for a community TLD.
Seitz has the support of many organizations and he describes his peer groups and supporters as being his advocates.
Not just anyone can apply for a community TLD. There are strict guidelines and policies. The application process is based on a point system, making it very difficult to achieve success unless there is total dedication and commitment to the process, helping avoid frivolous applications. Once the community application is approved, in order to be a part of the new TLD, any new applicant will have to pay a fee as well as be verified.
"We are actually creating relationships. Our goal, because we are a community and because the gay friendly organizations are going to be allowed to buy a website, and because they are going to have to go through a process to be able to identify themselves as gay friendly, is that these organizations will help us filter who can apply," explained Seitz.
Even the gay porn industry will be allowed to participate if a company chooses.
"I think it would be a horrible thing for us not to invite the porn industry," said Seitz. "We are all worried about the First Amendment being used on us. If a porn company is interested in being there, it's an opportunity for us as well because we can create a portal to talk about STDs or talk about other things health-wise in the community that people need to know about."
The first people to populate the dot-gay domain likely will be existing businesses that are publicizing in gay publications. It most likely won't be for everyone at first, but Seitz's goal is to create a benefit for the community to a point where people will want to be there.
"It's very important that something like this has the opportunity to raise money for the community. We are a self-funding community – we don't have government throwing money or grants our way – we are at the bottom of the totem pole," explained Seitz.
Seitz has made it clear that 67 percent of the profits will be given back to the community.
"Even though we are going to be a for-profit company, we will be acting as a not-for-profit company in that we will be transparent on our website. We are going to do a dot-gay foundation, the goal is to help build businesses and service to the gay communities across the world," he said.