Battle Over Long-Awaited .Gay Internet Domain Can Continue


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The fate of internet domain .gay is one step closer to conclusion.

Dotgay LLC, whose bid to control the domain is on hold, may finally find out whether it can operate the domain on behalf of the international gay community or whether it must compete for it at an auction.   

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the domain name administrator, has been reviewing—for more than a year—an internal process for determining whether applicants that claim to represent a community should get “priority status” over other applicants.  That review has held up dotgay’s application.  

But the review is now complete, ICANN spokesman James Cole told Bloomberg Law.

ICANN didn’t reveal when it will move forward in the process for the domain.  But if dotgay wins the rights to .gay, the New York-based company can sell domain name registrations to businesses and organizations that want to market products and services to LGBT consumers.

ICANN Dec. 13 published reports that found the panels conducting the “community priority evaluation” process applied the evaluation criteria consistently across applications. But some of the panels’ research didn’t include citations, according to the reports.

Many domain applicants have challenged the consistency of the community priority evaluation process, prompting ICANN to initiate a review. Dotgay has been fighting against two such evaluations that denied it priority status.  The evaluation panels held that “.gay” wasn’t broad enough to cover the company’s defined community—which included transgender people and allies.

The conclusion of the review provides a glimmer of hope for dotgay and applicants of seven other domains whose bids were also on pause—.music, .hotel, .llc, .inc, .llp, .cpa, and .merck.

An attorney for dotgay didn’t immediately comment on the reports’ findings.