Activist groups press for creation of Internet .gay suffix

Oct. 23, 2009 (12:35 pm) By: John Brownlee

Determining whether or not to apply the ultimate slur of Internet derision to a site — whether it’s “gay” or not — might become a lot more subjective a process, if two competing for-profit groups have their way. Each wants to spearhead the development of a .gay suffix for use in internet domains.

The two groups aren’t very different.. One is the Dot Gay Alliance at dotgay.org, headed up by Joe Dolce, a longtime gay activist who got the idea when helped creating the .eco domain. When Al Gore said he would support .eco if half the proceeds from the registration went to environmental groups, Dolce got thinking: what if .gay proceeds went to gay rights groups?

“It’s a very novel way that doesn’t involve putting your hand out, doesn’t involve another benefit or charity function,” said Mr. Dolce. “This is a community that has to sustain itself. There was very little help from the outside world, very little help from the government.”

On the other side, there’s Alexander Schubert, the Berlin-born chief executive of dotGay. Intriguing, Schubert is not gay himself: ‘All these years, I thought about the perfect top-level domain. I came to the conclusion that it should be community like the gay community,” he said. “I am personally not gay. I am born and raised in Berlin, which is the gay capital of Europe.”

As to whether Schubert intends on donating money to gay causes, he says he will… but not being gay himself raises questions to his motives, or whether or not he’s simply a businessman trying to attain a lucrative new domain suffix for his own uses.

Either way, both groups intend to pursue .gay at ICANN in Seoul, South Korea next week. The Internet may be about to get a lot more transparently segregated… bizarrely enough, in the name of equality.
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