Armed with my first laptop and a dream back in 1996, I entered unchartered space by starting an LGBT marketing company. Gay rights were charging forward, diversity was growing inside of corporations and AOL had realized the gay community attributed to a significant portion of the Internet's early adaptors. Not only did the gay community play a hand in the success of AOL programming, but the gay community was leading the way for the Internet revolution. This was all very important information I would soon recognize to have a connection, and one that would help shape the future of the gay community.
There is arguably no bigger benefactor of the Internet than the gay community. Through use of this new-fangled invention, the gay community found benefit through connection and access to people and information in ways never before possible. We were one of the largest groups online and it was a quantum leap forward for our community as we discovered, learned and grew in the .com namespace. The Internet proved remarkable in many ways, and now even greater opportunities are on the horizon as new top-level domains (TLD) are about to enter the existing namespace.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN), the global governing body of the wet, recently introduced a new program that will soon result in new words appearing to the right of the "dot" on domain names. This could include cities, brands or generic words other than the familiar .com, .net or .org . Among the almost 2,000 applications received by ICANN, dotgay LLC has submitted a community-based approach to create a ".gay" TLD. This will be an exclusive namespace for our community online where under one powerful umbrella we can work together to create change, and through visibility gain equality.
This is a game-changing moment on the Internet, with more than a thousand new TLDs expected in the coming years. Many of the new TLD ideas stem from Standard applications, which businesses and investors submit, hoping to lay claim to multiple or even hundreds of TLDs and new domain space they can develop and grow interest for once approved by ICANN. The other types of applications are Community, like dotgay LLC, and must uniquely represent a designated community while providing a clear value and benefit proposition for that community. dotgay LLC's application is the only Community application for a TLD that would represent our community.
The goal of dotgay LLC is to evolve beyond a simple namespace to one that provides value to the global community while addressing important issues around safety, visibility and support for all LGBTQIA+ individuals. dotgay LLC's application for ".gay" is our sole submission to ICANN and if approved it would be the first and only TLD managed by a certified LGBT business enterprise. With an innovative business model that understands the community and gives a minimum of 67 percent of domain registration profits back to the community, dotgay LLC is prioritizing accountability and transparency over profits and politics.
Merging the wisdom of the community with the speed of small business, dotgay LLC will be a for-profit business, managed by a registry advisory board made up of all aspects of the global community. dotgay LLC provides a clear connection to the community, and guidance to the growth of what promises to be one of the most exciting new TLDs. Truly global, the plan includes support from nine of only 12 United Nations-accredited LGBT organizations that are part of ECOSOC, and has earned community endorsements representing 110 different countries from all segments of the community.
To learn more about the dotgay LLC plan, get involved or stay connected, visit us online at www.dotgay.com and join our email list to stay part of the conversation.
See www.facebook.com/dotgaycom and www.twitter.com/dotgay.
Scott Seitz is CEO and co-founder of dotgay LLC, as well as founder and owner of SPI Marketing, a leading LGBT agency with over 16 years of service on behalf of corporate and not-for-profit clients. Active in community service, Seitz has served on the board of governors of Bread & Roses, a Connecticut AIDS-service organization, as well as Stonewall Speakers, and is a founding board member of Honoring Our Journey, a men's spiritual group. Scott is a member of NGLCCNY and IGLTA, with past honors from OUT100, GLAAD and Instinct Magazine.