Al Gore Vs Mikhail Gorbachev? The Latest on the .eco Domain Battle
As we've been tracking on TreeHugger, there is a push for a new top level domain (TLD) - the .eco domain - and there are currently a couple hats in the ring. On the one hand, there is the .eco that is backed by Al Gore, Sierra Club and others. And on the other hand, there is the .eco that is created by Big Room and is supported by a few great backers, the latest of which is Green Cross International, headed up by none other than Mikhail Gorbachev. Hopefully the big names lining up behind the .eco applications lend some weight to what a TLD like this could mean for the planet. Today Big Room's Dot Eco posted that their latest supporter is Green Cross International, a global non-profit that works to "help ensure a just, sustainable and secure future for all." According to the group, it is supporting this .eco because it aligns with the group's vision of sustainability and a focus on nature.
A refresher: Big Room's Dot Eco would make transparent all the sustainability information about any entity that applies for a domain name, so that anyone accessing that website will be able to immediately see exactly what they need to know to understand where that entity falls on the green spectrum. Dot Eco is working to develop a system for vetting the companies in an open platform. In other words, it would shine a light into every dark corner so that greenwashing, shady carbon accounting practices, unknown supply chains and other issues are erased. In addition, it will donate 25% of generated revenues to green organizations.
Dot Eco Ltd, the one supported by Al Gore, Surfriders, the Sierra Club and other big names, would also donate 50% of profits to green causes, and may or may not develop some platform for vetting those who want a .eco domain name. But ultimately, it is a group of people recognizing the massive market potential for a .eco domain, and that there could be some green good attached to it by getting funding to the green groups who need it most to continue a mission of saving the world. The level of activism and potential for real social change around green businesses and organizations specifically at the source - through the very use of the .eco domain - though, doesn't match that of Big Room's Dot Eco. Instead, they'd be mostly relying on green groups to do right by the money being channeled to them.
There are kinks to work out on both projects, and the race is definitely on for getting ICANN to choose a winner in 2010. But having such big names starting to line up behind .eco applicants shows that this will be a big deal in another year or so.