New .Church Domains Are On The Way From An Unlikely Source

dotChurch

In 2011, ICANN announced the expansion of the top level domains to include new generic terms like .school, .doctor, .app and many others. Companies/bushiness who wanted to be the registry for these new domains had to apply for a term, and be willing to spend $185,000 a year if they won control.

So the forward thinking, tech minded people at LifeChurch.tv applied to be the registry for .church domains. There hope was to:

  • To create a clearly identified namespace for churches and religious organizations, which would make it easier for people to discover, connect with, and share those ministries
  • To ensure the .church domain would be widely open to churches around the globe and not limited to one group or special interest
  • To make .church domain names available to churches at an affordable price

Yesterday LifeChurch.tv announced that they were not the only company to apply to be the registry for the the .church domain. A company called Donuts Inc., had also applied and ultimately won the rights to be the .church registry.

The Good

Now that Donuts Inc. has been chosen to control the new .church domain a timeline can get put in place for the release of these domains for the public.

The Bad

Donuts Inc. applied for 307 different domains and was an unknown company prior to applying for these domains. If you do simple google search to find out more about Donuts Inc., you will quickly find allegations of fraud connections and worries of misuse by this new company. In LifeChurch.tv’s email about the .church domains yesterday they said:

While we’re disappointed we won’t be able to steward this resource, we’re pleased that the initial objectives above are likely to be achieved with the new registry.

Hopefully this means nothing shady will happen with these new domains, but only time will tell.

What’s Next

You can check the pre reservations for your the .church domain your looking for at sites like 1and1 and 101domain.com

Are you looking to get a .church domain? Does it worry you that Donuts Inc. has control vs LifeChurch.tv?

5 Responses

01.30.14

I know LIfeChurch.tv would have been a great stewards of the .church domain, so I'm bummed that they didn't get the opportunity but I am glad that we can expect a timeline soon.

I think Donuts Inc was started and backed by a bunch of angel investors for the purpose of capitalizing on new and growing segment. Hopefully they're just savvy entrepreneurs trying to offer an honest service.

As I've been reading up on the process, after a 60 day "sunrise period" for registered trademark holders, there is a "landrush" period where there is some kind of auction process I think for names that are being competed for. Then finally comes the first come first served general availability phase. I just hope it doesn't become a feeding frenzy. Some of the new gTLDs that are in landrush are going for a huge premium right now (as in thousands of dollars for non-premium names).

01.30.14

Not happening for us. We’ll stick with the one we have. We have to be good stewards, too.

I’m SO sad LifeChurch lost this, and I don’t understand why ICANN thought Donuts would be better for this particular niche.

01.30.14

Also be careful about "pre-reserving" a domain. Apparently it doesn't actually do anything and the only thing it does is indicate that someone is interested in that particular domain potentially flagging it for a premium price. I'm not saying this is the case but it is what turned up when researching the pre-reserving process.

01.30.14

If your church has a registered trademark, be sure to look into acquiring a DPML block as well from Trademark Clearinghouse. Supposedly, this will not only block anyone else from grabbing the .church domain, but any of the other TLDs as well.

– Alex @ 12Stone

01.30.14

I work for 101domain and know many of the principals at Donuts. We also will be selling .church domain names in all phases of release. They are businessmen and a pretty decent bunch of people. I can't vouch for Donuts' stewardship in any sense of their faith.

Allegations of fraud were just that, allegations, very likely, from competitive applicants who were trying to slow down or prevent their movement in this space. I'm actually very sure of that; I watched it all the way through. One of their main objectors never stated who he was representing and made serious accusations that were unfounded.

They are a for-profit entity that likely got the rights to .church because they purchased them from Lifechurch.tv. Many of the "contention sets" in new generic Top Level Domain names are being settled that way (using auctions or buyouts). Donuts was one of only two entities that applied for .church.

From everything I know about them, Donuts will offer / sell the .church domains as an open extension. That means that there won't be any requirements on who can purchase them. Registrants will be able to purchase them for any reason. They may be a church or they many want to use the domain ending to criticize a church. The only bounds will be those not allowed by law, free speech, or intellectual property rights.

I just wanted to comment here and be available to answer general questions. There are a lot of new endings coming out. .Church is one of about 551 new endings (at my last count) due to come out over the next 18 months or so. Most of them will be operated this way; open to the public generally.

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