Designed to have a similar purpose and level of credibility as domain addresses like .edu or .gov., the internet’s latest domain suffix, .eco, lets websites declare their environmental consciousness and commitment to viewers.
Efforts to open .eco for purchase and find a company to manage it began almost ten years ago by the non-profit organization Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN.
Several individuals, such as Al Gore, competed for the rights to manage the .eco domain name. Big Room, started by two former employees of ICANN, Trevor Bowden and Jacob Malthouse, won the bid by partnering with major environmental groups to develop .eco as a credible suffix.
Together, Big Room and conservation groups like the World Wildlife Fund, formed the Dot Eco Council. The Dot Eco Council collaborated and developed Big Room’s intended mission, goals and registration processes if they won the bid to manage .eco. World Wildlife Fund, along with other organizations from the Dot Eco Council, all wrote letters of support for Big Room to ICANN, resulting in Big Room winning the rights to .eco.
Today, more than 60 global environment organizations, including World Wildlife Fund and the UN Environmental Program, support Big Room and the .eco domain name, giving it a unique advantage over other upcoming domain suffixes.
Designed to offer credibility and trust to consumers, .eco features several steps for companies, organizations and people to complete before they can operate a .eco domain address. The purchase of a .eco domain name is unregulated by Big Room and their company that manages .eco, Dot Eco Registry. Anyone can buy any one of the more than 10 million .eco domain names available. .Eco websites, however, can’t go live without the site owner completing the following with Dot-Eco Registry:
1. Agree to the Dot Eco Registry, pledge to support the environment and provide honest and accurate information about you, your company or your organization’s environmental consciousness.
2. State and specify you, your organization or your company’s sustainability priorities and current environmental efforts with supporting evidence, such as documents.
3. Start a public profile on Dot Eco Registry’s community website including the above information.
4. Systems to monitor or verify these public profiles and provided evidence have yet to be published by Big Room and Dot Eco Registry.
Company leaders Bowden and Malthouse feel the public profiles and the site owner’s documentation of their environmental consciousness lends itself to reliable information because the information is public and available to consumers and journalists worldwide to analyze and fact check. Early adopters of .eco addresses have also responded positively to the current registration system via feedback gathered by Big Room during its early access period for .eco. Since its April 25, 2017 launch, more than 1,000 .eco domain names have been purchased. Companies, organizations and individuals are also required to pay an annual fee to register their .eco domain name. The fee ranges from $65 to $100.
.Eco helps organizations show their support for the environment in a few ways. One method is through the annual fee every business, organization or individual pays to maintain their .eco site. Big Room intends to use the funds from these annual fees to establish a non-profit organization. The organization would use a percentage of .eco domain address sales to support environmental charities and other non-profits. Thus, .eco owners are not only maintaining their site, but helping out charities. Organizations or individuals with a .eco suffix also receive use of Dot Eco Registry’s .eco trustmark. The trustmark lets a company or person show their support of environmental or conservation efforts on their website and social media pages via the .eco trustmark logo.
Growth of the .eco domain name, as well as its credibility and trustworthiness, will help validate a company’s environmental-friendliness to the site’s visitors. A company would then not only be showing their support of the environment, but building trust and respect with consumers. Because .eco launched less than a month ago, it’s difficult to gauge its long-term success among organizations and web users. Its support from major environmental and conservation organizations offers it a unique advantage to build itself as a credible domain name exclusively for proven environmentally-friendly organizations, which can build consumer trust in a company.
Photos and photo credits Pixabay
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