Finally, the Internet has an Eco-Friendly Domain

The new “top-level domain," dot-green, is being used to create a common piece of Internet real estate for environmentally minded groups with a commitment to sustainability.

by David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle / February 12, 2015

For years, companies and organizations have stuck the word “green” in their names to project an eco-conscious image.

Now they can make it their Internet address as well.

Starting Thursday, anyone can buy the rights to Web addresses ending in .green, rather than the familiar .com or .org. The new “top-level domain” name is the brainchild of a small Larkspur company, DotGreen Community, that has been pushing the idea for years.

Annalisa Roger, the company’s chief executive officer, sees the new domain name as a way to further the sustainability movement, creating a common piece of Internet real estate for environmentally minded companies and groups.

“It’s an identifier that people can align their values with,” Roger said. “It’s going to be an ideal space for new technologies and startups, and anyone who’s got a commitment to sustainability.”

The number of top-level domain names is about to undergo a rapid expansion.

The organization that oversees naming conventions on the Web — the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — has spent several years soliciting and screening ideas for domain names that reflect everything from locations (.budapest) to politics (.gop) to specific products (.vodka).

More than 500 top-level domain names will be rolled out in the next few years, opening up a new universe of possible addresses.

DotGreen Community, formed in 2007 to pursue the .green idea, will act as the domain’s steward. The company is working with Afilias, the world’s second-largest domain registry, to handle the technical details. Anyone interested in registering a name can learn more about the process at www.going.green.

DotGreen Community will sell the URLs wholesale for $50 apiece to third-party registrars — meaning companies that want a .green address will pay more than that. The final price will be set by each registrar.

Of course, many companies and groups with “green” in their names have little to do with helping the planet. That’s a risk with .green, too. The DotGreen Community’s registration policies forbid using the domain to “promote or endorse activities or information that are demonstrably false, deceptive, or harmful to the environment.” But Roger said her company won’t try to judge whether applicants are engaged in “greenwashing” — trying to claim an eco-friendly image they haven’t earned.

“Our business model is inclusive, and our strategy is not to police and invalidate companies,” she said. “We believe the transparency of the Internet allows the consumer to decide whether greenwashing is occurring.”

©2015 the San Francisco Chronicle

 

Platforms & Programs