A gay advocacy organization’s bid to own a proposed “.gay” domain address has been rejected by the governing body of domain names.
The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the non-profit body located in California that governs the world of domain names. Right now there are 22 domain suffixes including the familiar .com and org but also .info, .biz, .name and country names like .us and .uk.
ICANN has opened this up and will soon allow for up to 1,400 new suffixes. One of them under consideration is .gay. Four entities have been vying to own the suffix and therefore be able to sell its use to website owners. Three of the bidders are commercial entities, while a fourth is a gay businessman who applied under something called the “community priority evaluation,” which gives priority to a group that can prove they represent a “community.”
Using the moniker dotgay LLC, Scott Seitz, a gay businessman, applied to own .gay because his group wanted the ability to police who could use .gay. He said he wanted to ensure that porn sites couldn’t use it and also that “anti-gay” groups would not be able to, either. Seitz wanted to have gatekeepers, called “authenticating partners,” that would ensure that any groups asking to use .gay were acceptable.
Seitz and is group had to prove they represented the gay community, and while they were rejected for other reasons, this was the deciding factor. In its decision just made public, ICANN writes, “As the application also indicates, the group of self-identified gay individuals globally is estimated at 1.2% of the world population (more than 70 million), while the application states the size of the community it has defined, based on membership with Aps [Authenticating Partners] is 7 million.”
ICANN also said dotgay LLC could not accurately define their own community since the application included those who are “transgender” and “intersex,” along with heterosexual allies. ICANN points out that the “transgendered” and “intersex” are not necessarily gay, while heterosexual allies are obviously not gay at all.
The three remaining contestants for .gay are business interests, one of whom complained to ICANN that the dotgay LLC group threatened the “freedom” of the Internet, since they wanted to police who could use the name or not.
Each of the bidders had to pay $185,000 just to apply to own the suffix, though the eventual winner will recoup that in domain sales.