Marc Naimark's writing and interviews _____________________________________________________

Fusion / There’s a new gay URL, and some gay people aren’t happy about it

Posted in internet by marcnaimark on 2015/02/10

fusionPhone interview with author for background, then a quote from my Slate piece.


There’s .com, .net, and .gov. And now there’s .LGBT.

A Dublin-based domain registry company opened up registrations on Tuesday for what they say is the only domain address dedicated to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The .LGBT domain launched Tuesday with only five websites registered—which means if you’re looking to start a website and have $50, the URL possibilities are endless.

The letters to the right of the .dot in a web address are known as a gTLD, or generic top level domain. Historically there have only been 22 gTLDs, but beginning in 2011 anyone willing to pay a $185,000 evaluation fee could apply for a gTLD.

The .LGBT addresses are operated by Afilias, a domain registration company based in the Irish capital. Afilias says groups and businesses that register an .LGBT address can instantly let their customers know they’re LGBT-friendly.

“It’s really for businesses, organizations, and other entities that want to reach out to the LGBT market,” Brett Samuels, a representative for Afilias, told CBS.

Others aren’t so sure.

The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association in 2013 filed an objection to Afilias’s .LGBT application, arguing the domain could actually cause the LGBT community harm.

The travel association warned anti-gay activists could “[masquerade] as members of the community” and “use the registration for anti-gay purposes” in an objection filed to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the organization that maintains the Internet address system.

Instead, the group pushed for a .gay application under a “community status” that allowed for a more thorough vetting process to obtain a .gay address.

“Afilias has the means and the motivation to promote the widest possible use of this purely commercial gTLD, whereas by choice and by obligation, a dotgay LLC-run .gay would be exclusive,” wrote Marc Naimark,an LGBTQ activist who writes about technology and sports for Slate.com.

Naimark points out dotgay LLC is bidding for .gay against three commercial applicants. But it’s the only group applying for the top level domain under the “community priority evaluation” process set up by ICANN, meant to to protect certain domain names that served the interests of a particular community.”

The first five

In a press release to issued this morning to promote .LGBT addresses, Afilias Chief Marketing Officer said, “the large and vibrant LGBT community now has an Internet address that embraces the full breadth and diversity of LGBT people around the world in a protected, inclusive manner.

The press release noted five “.LGBT pioneers” with sites that are currently up and running, including a site for an LGBT convention and the London based Pink News.

A list of the five .LGBT sites mentioned in Afilias’s press release is below.

www.boom.lgbt, is a St. Louis, U.S.-based news, advocacy and community publication serving the LGBT community.

www.expo.lgbt, according to their website LGBT expo is the largest LGBT convention in the world that is held every year in NYC.

www.lawyer.lgbt, home to Philadelphia lawyer, Angela Giampolo, who specializes on LGBT legal issues

www.OutNow.lgbt, a global LGBT diversity specialist, consulting for organizations around the world on diversity marketing and research initiatives.

www.pinknews.lgbt, a news website based in London and New York covering LGBT related news.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the .LGBT representative’s name. He is Brett Samuels, not Brett Sanders.

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