Lance Armstrong Foundation’s interesting plans for the .LiveStrong domain

An opportunity wasted and a couple hundred grand down the drain.

I posted this tweet on the eve of the new top level domain reveal day:

Offering a .livestrong domain seems like a good idea to me. Think of the millions of Lance Armstrong Foundation fans supporting the cause and wearing their yellow wristbands. Why not give each of them a name.livestrong domain name? They can use it to raise money, post about their battles with cancer, etc. Much of this functionality already exists on Charge them a nominal fee each year to maintain their domain and fill up the coffers to fight cancer.

I was right that the non-profit would apply for .LiveStrong. But I missed everything else by a mile.

First, the Lance Armstrong Foundation picked Verisign as its backend registry provider. This is rather shocking. Lance Armstrong and the non-profit currently have a marketing deal with Demand Media to run the web site. Demand Media is also offering backend registry services. So why did it shun its existing partner for Verisign?

Second, the foundation has no plans to offer .livestrong domains to the public. It will only offer them to partners. As described in the non-profit’s application, it would provide partners such as Nike with second level domains, e.g. nike.livestrong. As described in the application, this will apparently benefit internet users:

We believe our innovative approach will increase our constituent’s user experience by eliminating confusion and creating a consistent, dedicated Top Level Domain for LIVESTRONG-branded product. Users will also benefit from the LIVESTRONG gTLD because they will have a warranty as to the origin, authenticity, and quality of goods and services offered thereunder since our only content, products, and services and⁄or our corporate partnersʹ and sponsorsʹ content, products,and services will be available thereunder.

Innovative? This is an example of “dumb innovation”. The Lance Armstrong Foundation could easily accomplish the same thing by giving its limited number of partners a third level domain on or .org, e.g. Why is a top level domain necessary to accomplish this?

It will be interesting to see if works with the foundation to capture the large amount of error traffic headed its way, too. A large percentage of people looking for nike.livestrong will type .com at the end.


  1. says

    The whole investment will look even more wasted if the guy gets stripped of his Tour de France titles over alleged doping. Who would want to be associated with him or his campaign then?

  2. says

    What if it works?

    What if it works making money for Cancer renewing domain names? I buy. Instead of spending money for Cancer in a one-of-many programs, I’d rather renew a domain name.

    Third level domains can’t match for this kind of operation: you cannot apply for a third level at the Registrar (you probably can but…majors don’t offer this)
    And anyway…a sub-domain is ugly (ex:

    I used this exact same concept for .TREE where the idea was to plan trees once a year renewing a domain name. 1 year = 1 tree.

    It will be interesting to see if it sells.

  3. says

    I am reading “The goal of our proposed gTLD would specialize in our corporate partners and sponsorships”.
    Well…if a Registrant can be identified as a sponsor, it makes it no?
    The nit becomes a matter of allowing sponsors to register a domain name under specific rules.

    Well, apparently, not: “We will be the registrant for any and all domain names under the gTLD and weʹll allow our partners and sponsors to post content”.

    OK, end of the story :-)

  4. John says

    Why aren’t the .com owners just offering a forward slash like in the case rather than spending the money and trying to educate the marketplace on yet another extension?

  5. innis_mor says

    ummm… me and most people I know don’t type anyone’s URL in. We all just google on words/names/textstrings/phrases and hunt from there.

    That’s the only ‘innovation’ I know.

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