The Concept of .gay Community Domains
Key to dotgay ‘s proposal is recognizing from the outset that some .gay domains are, in effect, community property and should be administered accordingly. The idea is to safeguard .gay domain names based on important generic keywords and develop them as conduits for accessing relevant organizations and businesses worldwide.
Examples of “community domains” would include:
dotgay LLC would retain ownership of these domains for the purpose of developing community-resource portals—essentially, “root” or “index” directories for other relevant .gay domains. This is critical to establishing .gay as a vibrant hub and keeping important property out of the hands of opportunistic squatters and speculators. Such domain name “investors” have gobbled up as much as 60% of the choice .info real estate. A healthy Top-Level Domain (TLD) needs to foster a growing roster of active domains. Who wants to visit a town where half of the shops, restaurants, museums and recreation facilities are empty?
Our approach will enhance the popularity and usefulness of .gay domain space, while also leveling the playing field among those offering gay-friendly products, services, destinations and venues. A user could, for example, go to hotel.gay and search for accommodations in Palm Springs, generating a list of all .gay domains tagged with “hotel” and “Palm Springs.” Similarly, all HIV organizations would be accessible via one centralized hub, as would gay community centers. This method of organization will facilitate networking and help searchers to find information.
Developing the commercial potential of these community domains, specifically with regard to advertising and sponsorship, will be secondary to ensuring their usefulness and relevance to the communities they serve. The guiding principle will be to organize and present listings and information in the most intelligent, user-friendly way possible. As community-resource domains, the “pay-to-play” model—whereby sites only feature businesses that pay for placement or referrals/click-throughs—will not apply.
Why “gay” and not an acronym such as LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer)?
The simple answer is that we need a word that encompasses the entire community, and “gay” makes the most sense. Like it or not, the word has become an umbrella term, a universally adopted colloquialism signifying a community as a whole. “Gay pride,” “gay marriage”, “gay rights,” “gay media,” “openly gay”: all of these terms speak to the fact that “gay” is a commonly accepted word infused with meaning and power. Similarly, the ubiquity of “gay” as an Internet search term affirms that it’s a word people use and understand.
Put another way, it’s a banner—the semantic equivalent of the rainbow flag. Designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978, to give expression to the emerging activist spirit of San Francisco’s gay community, the flag has evolved into the universal LGBTIQ symbol—emblematic of the community’s diverse population, of the hope and freedom that opened closet doors and led to greater acceptance of our people everywhere.
The community rallied around the flag, which now stands as the ultimate iconic expression of Pride. .gay is the equivalent of planting a communal flag on the Internet. By laying claim to an empowering space that recognizes and celebrates the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity, .gay will serve as a rallying point for an entire community. A community in the sense that our people share a common interest in achieving a more equitable society where rights and privileges are not bestowed based on sexual orientation.
We recognize the fact that the community is continuing to evolve and define its identity. This is made clear by the advocacy in some quarters for adopting the six-letter acronym LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer) to replace LGBT. An all-inclusive expression of diversity, LGBTIQ also signifies the politics of defining identity.
We’ve adopted .gay because as a practical matter, the world “gay” signifies the community as a whole, and because it can best accommodate all the different identities that comprise the community. The .gay domain name space will include specialized areas based on subdomains such as transgender.gay, bisexual.gay and intersex.gay. In symbolic terms, .gay will signify that these affinity groups are part of a larger community, and that their presence makes the community stronger.
Finally, adopting “gay” for top-level domain status is more attractive from a marketing standpoint than using a four- or six letter acronym. Indeed, companies that want to contribute to the LGBTIQ economy will intuitively favor .gay, because the acronym alternative is semantically cumbersome and, for lack of a better term, politicized.
Think about it. If you’re a marketing manager for the travel portal Travelocity, which would you prefer —Travelocity.gay or Travelocity.lgbtiq?