Many responses to .gay community application decision are oversimplifying what happened…and getting it wrong.
In headlines and tweets, it’s pretty easy to knock ICANN for a recent decision not granting .gay applicant dotgay llc community status for the domain name.
The reality, for anyone who takes the time to understand it, is that ICANN didn’t determine anything about whether there’s a gay community. Nor did it (or anyone) block dotgay llc from using .gay.
But the reality is difficult to disseminate in 140 characters or less, so the echo chamber continues to blast ICANN for the decision.
Let’s start with a key point: ICANN didn’t make the decision on the .gay application. It was Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), with which ICANN contracted to handle Community Priority Evaluations for new top level domain names. (It’s worth noting that EIU is affiliated with The Economist, which has long supported gay rights.)
Next, understand that EIU did not say gays aren’t a community. It just said:
The applied-for string neither matches the name of the community as defined by the application nor does it identify the defined community without over-reaching substantially, as required for a full or partial score on Nexus.
EIU has a set of guidelines with which to determine if a new top level domain name applicant should be granted community status. The guidelines are in the new TLD applicant guidebook; a set of rules created in advance by the internet community. The threshold is strong, given that a community applicant automatically wins a contention set.
You can argue whether or not the requirements for community status were good. You can question how .hotel and .eco prevailed but .gay didn’t. Frankly, many people are surprised that any applications have gained community status given the strong threshold.
But to say ICANN or EIU thinks there’s no “gay community” is simply incorrect.
Finally, this decision does not prevent dotgay llc from running .gay. It just means it doesn’t automatically win the contention set for it. It must compete with three other applicants to run the domain name.
I’ve heard rumblings that it can’t compete with commercial interests, i.e., the other applicants. I’m not so sure. Given the level of support it claimed in its community priority request, it seems possible that it could raise the money required to win the contention set. Surely a number of companies and organizations would chip in.
1. ICANN didn’t say gays aren’t a community.
2. EIU merely determined that dotgay llc’s application and community request don’t meet the requirements under the new TLD program for community status.
3. dotgay llc can still run the .gay domain name.
That’s not quite reduced to 140 characters, but it’s as close as I can get.