Groups clash over .eco domain names

A big-hitting green group hoping to own the rights to sell the .eco domain name has launched a war of words in the hopes of derailing a bid from its main rival.

Next year Icann, the regulator that overseas web addresses, will relax control over top level domains (TLD) – the suffix at the end of an address such as .com or – and will expand the list of acceptable terms.

Among the TLD’s up for grabs is .eco and while anybody can apply, only one organisation will be granted registry rights.

The two groups in the front-running to buy the rights to control the .eco tag are Dot Eco LLC, a consortium backed by former US presidential candidate Al Gore, and another led by Canadian eco-labelling outfit Big Room.

Both say they would only allow organisations with a proven commitment to the environment to register .eco web address, and that some of the money raised would be used to support green causes.

Dot Eco LLC has pledged 57% of its profits to environmental groups while Green Room says profits would help sustainability projects.

Either way, organisations or individuals will be able to show their support for environmental causes by registering a .eco web address.

But now Dot Eco LLC has fired a shot across its rival’s bow, publishing a 17-page document questioning its proposed business model, arguing that high operational costs would deprive environmental causes of ‘critical funding’.

It also claims that ‘cumbersome registration policies’ would discourage organisations from taking up the .eco tag.

Green Room has said it is aware of the analysis and that it is unfortunate that Dot Eco LLC has taken this approach but that it would not comment further at this stage.

Sam Bond

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