Application for .gay web domain turned down

ICANN rejects application from dotgay LLC for the top-level domain, saying the community the group claims to represent is too large

The body that controls web addresses has announced that an application to register the “.gay” web domain has been rejected for the second time.

ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which is in charge of assigning control of a new wave of “generic top level domains” (gTLDs) – web endings such as “.london” and “.hotel” – said the dotgay LLC organisation did not meet the requirements to run the .gay web ending.

Dotgay LLC, which has applied for the gTLD and has the backing of hundreds of LGBT organisations, says it wants to create “a common platform for enhancing the resources, visibility and solidarity of the gay community”.

It wants to run .gay as a “community TLD”, meaning it would operate the registry of websites on behalf of the gay community.

But its evaluation, carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of ICANN, said the .gay string did not match the community that dotgay claims to represent, which includes “male or female homosexuals, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, ally and many other terminology” according to its application.

“The Community Priority Evaluation panel has determined that the applied-for string does not identify or match the name of the community as defined in the application, nor is it a well known short-form or abbreviation of the community. It therefore does not meet the requirements,” ICANN said.

Dotgay LLC had argued that all the groups it represents identify as part of the gay community.

“‘Gay’ is used to super-identify all these groups and circumstances,” it said in its application. “Whether homosexual, bisexual, transgender, intersex or ally, all members of the Gay Community march in the “gay pride parade” read the same “gay media” and fight for the same “gay rights.” Gay has become the prevalent term in how members of this community refer to themselves when speaking about themselves as demonstrated by the large number of organizations that use the term globally.”

It is the second time dotgay LLC has been turned down. Last year, ICANN said its application had been rejected because the community it claimed to represent was too small.

The decision means that the group, based in New York, must now appeal if it does not want the right to run the domain to go to auction against domain-acquiring companies including Top Level Design and Top Level Domain Holdings.

“It is not unusual that people outside of the community would not be able to see our community in the same way we do,” the group wrote on its Facebook page.

“It is in fact the normal reaction received by those pushing the leading edge of our community forward in national and international human rights, business, government, policy and indeed the perception of the general public.”

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