The fight to bring .ECO domains to the general public began as far back as 2009 when Al Gore, the former US vice president, backed the efforts of the company Dot Eco LLC to allow ecologically friendly businesses to enjoy the new TLD. According to Al Gore, the new domain will provide a unique opportunity for environmental movements such as his Alliance for Climate Protection (ACP), to enjoy increased online visibility.
“We are looking forward to providing big eco businesses with a fantastic platform that will help connect customers and sellers in a fully integrated way” – Xedi.com business streamline experts
7 years later and the dream is about to come to pass as .ECO domain names are expected to be released to the public later this year.
It is still unclear however, if the domain will go to auction as is usually the case or whether environmental companies like Dot Eco LLC and the Big Room Alliance will be given control of the domains. The Big Room Alliance looks the likeliest to snag up control of the domain if ICANN decides to go that route as it is made up of huge names in climate activism such as the United Nations, Greenpeace and WWF. Other members of the group include wildlife conservation groups, sustainable businesses and grass roots eco-friendly groups from Brazil, India and China. All of these groups will undoubtedly get .ECO domain names when the TLD is finally launched regardless of who ICANN decides to give control.
Why are environmental protection groups against an auction?
According to Brendan at Umbrella who are domain registration experts, the groups are worried that top level URLs can be snagged up by people without any environmental activism history. “With an auction, it would be easier for big name companies to pick up names like food.eco or coal.eco, denying more deserving organisations with sustainability programs in these areas the opportunity to take advantage of these names”.
“However, it goes beyond pricing. After all, losers in domain auctions usually get compensated. The environmental groups are more concerned about ethical use of the domain extension more than anything else” he concludes.
Will smaller names in climate activism and sustainable business groups be able to get .ECO domain names?
Regardless of who ends up controlling .ECO domains, all businesses can get them regardless of size. You only need to register a name with your preferred provider. However, your preferred names may be long gone before the door is thrown open to the public. This will especially be the case if ICANN elects to go the auction route.
It is also expected that pricing for the names will also be as competitive as .com and .org names.