Dot Eco – Uniting Environmental Websites? Or Distraction?

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When it comes to combating climate change, Dot Eco LLC has a plan: to establish an obviously green, top-level web domain (TLD). It is high time, Dot Eco founders believe, that environmental websites gain the instant-recognizability of the .coms, .nets, .govs, .edus, and .orgs of the world. Moreover, by establishing .eco as a credible TLD, Dot Eco will, it believes, be able to provide steady funding for environmental organizations while increasing environmental initiatives and awareness.

“How will it do so?” you ask. Simple: the web is divided into several semantically meaningful zones (i.e. education, government, and organizations), each of which is denoted by a TLD (i.e. .edu, .gov, and .org). To be included in a TLD, an organization must meet certain benchmarks for that TLD (i.e. for .edu inclusion, an organization must be an accredited academic institution and contain relevant information on its site). Sustainability proponents would like to believe that environmentalism is becoming semantically meaningful enough to deserve its own TLD, hence the creation of the .eco domain name.

Creating a moniker-specific TLD for a group of random (but similar) websites has an effect similar to that of a well-known philanthropist adopting several orphans and giving them all his last name: the renaming creates a sense of “community” for the orphans, prevents them from slipping through the cracks, and prevents their mistaken identification with other philanthropists. Similarly, by adopting a .eco domain name, environmental organizations can join an online community of likeminded groups. By making sure the .eco domain is well-established, Dot Eco will lend credibility to participating sites, thereby increasing their chances of obtaining funding. Currently, Dot Eco also gives more than half of its profits to organizations committed to fighting global warming.

To qualify for the .eco domain, organizations must affirm their concurrence with Dot Eco founding principles and fund proven climate change combating efforts. Former Vice President Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, the Sierra Club, and the Surfrider Foundation area among the organizations backed, via charter, by .eco funding.

Sarah Harper is a professional writer based in San Francisco, California. Her interests include sustainability, government policy, and international politics. In her free time, Sarah enjoys toying with the idea of holistic health, overanalysis, and plotting world exploration.