Friday, February 25, 2011
Seitz to Seek ICANN Approval of .Gay Domain
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is expecting at least 115 new domain proposals this year. Some of these proposals are expected to include “.car”, “.movie”, and even “.nyc.” Scott Seitz, the chief executive of dotGAY and founder of SPI Marketing, a gay marketing and public relations agency, plans to introduce what will likely be the most controversial proposal of those expected this year. Seitz hopes, as you probably guessed, for the ICANN to approve his proposal for “.gay.”
Unfortunately, for Seitz, an approval, let alone a decision from ICANN, may be a long time coming. Controversial Internet domain names have a reputation for disappearing once they reach the ICANN for approval. For instance, the “.xxx” Internet suffix still waits for a final decision from ICANN after having been submitted over six years ago.
The Obama administration is currently seeking authority for the United States, along with other governments, to veto future domain names. This may mean a grim future for “.gay.” In fact, Milton Mueller, a professor of information studies at Syracuse University says that government officials in Arab countries have already expressed their intention to veto “.gay.” Seitz, on the other hand, believes that “.gay” actually makes blocking controversial content easier for conservative nations. Additionally, Seitz states that blocking “.gay” will make it clear to the world which nations are discriminating against the gay community.
Regarding the Obama administration’s request for power to veto, Seitz stated in a CNET interview, “Its problematic, and its discrimination on a terrible level. It’s not even appropriate for countries (to have the ability to veto) because of freedom of expression. Anything beyond (restricting speech that) incites violence is discrimination.”
Seitz’s motivation for creating the “.gay” domain would be to reach out to the gay community, which he says is in flux at the moment. In the CNET interview, he opined, “As the [gay] community has become more integrated, it’s become more difficult to reach the community in media, because you have more choices than you had before. .gay will be a venue for enhancing our ability to interact with each other as a community.” At the end of the day, Seitz believes that the Internet is getting ready to be reborn again in a very different way, and he wants to take advantage of it.
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