The competition for the .eco top level domain registration is heating up. We recently talked about Big Room's push for their Dot Eco project, which is competing with the Dot Eco LLC that is backed by Al Gore, Surfrider Foundation and other heavy hitters. The latter group released this video last week, on the opening day of the ICANN Conference in Sydney, promoting their position on gaining the .eco domain. The problem is, it's a fairly empty advertisement. Al Gore states: "For more than three decades I have been trying to raise awareness about the very real and growing threat of the climate crisis. Today, as part of this effort, I am here to propose a new top-level domain called "dot eco" for corporate, non-governmental, and individual environmental websites."
The pitch from Dot Eco LLC is:
A .eco web address will allow individuals to express their support for environmental causes, companies to promote their own environmental initiatives, and environmental organizations to maintain their websites in a namespace relevant to their core mission. By charter and mission, a majority of Dot Eco profits will be distributed to support environmental causes.
So basically grabbing on to a .eco domain name in the same fashion as slapping a green label on a product, plus some charitable giving to green non-profits. Big Room on the other hand wants to do this but also add in strong layers of activism. They're focused on making it a method for organizations and businesses to be transparent about their green side, and revamp how we access information and the level of responsibility among businesses and groups. Their take on how a .eco TLD would be used seems to have more teeth than Dot Eco LLC's angle. Big Room's pitch:
The .eco system will display current, detailed eco-information to anyone with a browser, anytime they need it, anywhere on the planet. It will do this by collecting information from people when they register .eco domain names for their companies, organisations, products, or even themselves and then displaying that information on a standardised, open platform...Once this system is built, it's going to make it much easier for small and large businesses, organisations and individuals around the world to calculate, share and compare their eco-footprints.
The ad put forward by Dot Eco LLC is initially compelling, but lacks any information about what kind of honest-to-goodness, hard-lined difference their .eco will make in online information gathering and environmental change. We need more than simply a charity and a green banner. We need these things, plus business transparency, environmental accountability, a reduction in carbon footprints and easy-to-access information for users. It sounds like Big Room's .eco project is more likely to lead us towards that.
The push for the .eco TLD will be interesting to follow, especially as the two groups really hone in on what it is they plan to do with the domain if they are selected by ICANN to receive it.