They’re “free” in one sense only.
A couple weeks ago I wrote about the potential for free or very cheap top level domains in the future. I also pointed out that it does look like any of those free domains will be found on .free.
As a follow up, here are how the five applicants for .free plan to use the domain if they win the battle:
Donuts: as with all of its applications, Donuts’ application for .free has only generic information. Nothing is specific to .free.
Amazon.com: as with all of Amazon.com’s applications, it says it plans to only use the domains for company purposes and won’t offer domains to the general public.
Google: “The mission of this gTLD, .free, is to provide a dedicated domain space in which registrants can enact second-level domains that position content or information as or relating to ʺfree.ʺ Charleston Road Registry believes that registrants will find value in associating with this gTLD, which has significant promotional appeal for enterprises, small businesses, groups or individuals seeking to associate with the term ʺfree.ʺ Charleston Road Registry expects these uses may include but are not limited to applications such as marketing campaigns (juice.free), promotion of free events (events.free) or free activities in a given location (nyc.free). The proposed gTLD will enhance consumer choice by providing new availability in the second-level domain space, creating new layers of organization on the Internet, and signaling the kind of content available in the domain.”
Top Level Domain Holdings: “.FREE will provide a top-level domain space for web content and communications for about goods and services that are free, gratis, without charge, no money exchanged. While much of the web is centered around e-commerce, a growing segment is concerned with things that don’t cost money. .FREE is for this segment of the Internet. It is not, however, free Nonetheless, for a small fee, people who want to advertise their information or goods or services as free will find .FREE a perfect signifier of their intentions.”
(TLDH deserves two extra points on its application for using an emoticon.)
Uniregistry: “For many goods and services, including purely digital works, free is the best possible price. Whether used to label promotional giveaways, advertising subsidized downloads, or open source software, ʺfreeʺ can be the most important factor in a userʹs decision to try something new.
.FREE will serve Internet users as a clear, specialized, and semantically meaningful name for a wide variety of individuals and businesses. Whether used for coupons, downloads or promotions, .FREE will convey the kind of content available from any publisher…”