Set your clocks. On February 10, 2020, the sun will rise on the new .gay gTLD.
For those who may need a brief refresher on gTLDs, Several years ago ICANN announced that gTLDs would no longer be limited to the old stand-bys (.com, .info, .net, .edu, etc.). Instead, organizations would be able to choose and administer virtually any term as a gTLD. Brands scrambled to purchase domains consisting of terms personal to them. Amazon obtained .amazon and .audible; Major League Baseball got .baseball; the American Bible Society holds .bible, to name a few. Others gobbled up more negative terms with the hope that companies would spend big to register their brands in order to exclude others (.sucks anyone?).
Top Level Design, a domain name company based in Oregon, made out with .design, .ink, .wiki, and .gay. TLD (see what they did there?) touts .gay as “proudly signal[ing] support of LGBTQ people, causes, and businesses” and states that the launch of .gay “results in more LGBTQ-friendly space.” Indeed, TLD promises that a “20% donation of the revenue from every new domain registered is given to benefit LGBTQ organizations” and has selected GLAAD and CenterLink as its first beneficiaries. TLD also has a .gay Rights Protection policy, under which it will accept and investigate complaints of homophobic and other anti-LGBTQ content. The policy also bans hate and other harmful speech and activities, and prohibits registration by parties recognized hate groups and their known affiliates.
There will be two sunrise periods for .gay. During the first, February 10 – March 31, any brand who has registered their trademarks with ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse will have first dibs on registering that trademark as a .gay domain. After that, during a second sunrise period, April 6-May 6, owners of national or international trademark registrations will be able to register any identical or confusingly similar trademark as a .gay domain. Next, there will be a week-long early access period will start on May 11 , during which domains will be offered at a premium that will decrease each day. Finally, on May 20, any remaining .gay domains will come available on a first-come, first-served basis. Brands or others interested in a .gay domain can make the purchase through TLD’s Registrar Partners.
As the sun rises on Monday, we are hopeful that .gay forum will engender continued support for and understanding of the LGBTQ community. To that end, TLD has provided a marketing kit and a summary of the study it conducted on audience perceptions of .gay for all who are interested.
But .gay doesn’t just look good in your profile bio, email address or on your business card — it does good, too! A 20% donation of the revenue from every new domain registered is given to benefit LGBTQ organizations.