Will “.eco” help change the world? Gore and Gorby think so
I have a short article about efforts to establish dot-eco as a new top-level domain as ICANN, the regulatory body in charge of the Internet’s addressing system, prepares to accept proposals early next year. Two groups have so far expressed a desire to become the official registry for dot-eco — one group, based in California, is Dot Eco LLC and is backed by former U.S. vice-president Al Gore and a number of U.S.-based environmental organizations; the other group, based in Vancouver, B.C., is called Big Room Inc. and is backed by former Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev (through his group Green Cross International), the David Suzuki Foundation, and WWF International.
Both companies have set up Web sites to build support for their bids. The Gore-backed group is more U.S.-centric and seems more focused on climate change, while the Gorbachev-backed group has a more international flavour and wants to embrace environmental issues (including climate change) more generally. Find Dot Eco LLC here and Big Room here.
Creating .eco as an Internet address extension could be beneficial, but it could also enable corporate greenwashing. And major questions are bound to emerge, like: Can you register www.coal.eco or www.climatechangeisahoax.eco? The good news is that both groups want to take a portion of proceeds from the sale of these new addresses and donate them to environmental causes. It will be interesting to see as 2010 approaches whether any other bidders come out of the woodwork.
UPDATE: The folks at Dot Eco LLC were upset that I didn’t include a comment from them in the above story, so I gave them a chance to comment on this blog post. Here’s what Minor Childers, co-founder of Dot Eco LLC, had to say:
Before pitching this as “Gorbachev versus Gore”, I think it would be very beneficial if the Green Cross could make a statement on exactly who (sic) they are involved with Big Room’s effort. I seriously doubt that Gorbachev has any interest in creating a conflict with Al Gore’s mission. More likely, they were unaware of any pre-existing efforts, and their support was for the general idea of .eco, and not a specific endorsement. We welcome Big Room’s input into the .ECO top-level domain. However, we strongly resent the implication that Al Gore, The Alliance for Climate Protection, Sierra Club and Surfrider are not “the real deal”, that they would in any way be involved in green washing, or that they want to use .ECO for US Nationalistic goals. Climate change is obviously a global problem, and these are truly at the forefront of this battle.