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The Future of Religions on the Internet

Shahram Soboutipour

A statistical approach to the ICANN new gTLD program

Internet is facing the biggest change in its history. New brands, ideas, groups, communities,… have now found the chance to apply for their own specific space on internet naming system through ICANN's new gTLD program.

One of the most interesting points of this courageous program was the motivation it created among communities to try to represent their specific webspace on the internet by applying for their own TLD; and among them were the religious communities as well.

Regardless of the major questions of "who the applicants are?" and "whether they have the competency to hold a religious TLD or not?", the fact that religious communities are interested in presence on the internet made me curious about the position of the religious TLDs against each other in the future of internet, so I did a statistical investigation on the current new gTLD applications.

The results were interesting.

Among all 1930 applications, I found 17 applications related to religious concepts (please comment if I have missed something):

  • TLDs categorized as main religious ones:
      Christian TLDs: .BIBLE / .CHURCH (2 applications)
      Islamic TLDs: .ISLAM
  • TLDs related to subsidiaries of a religion:
      Christian subsidiaries: .CATHOLIC / كاثوليك. / .католик / .天主教 / .CBN / .LDS / .MORMON
      Islamic subsidiaries: .IMAMAT / .SHIA / .ISMAILI / .UMMAH
  • Other related TLDs:
      Islamic: .HALAL
      Jewish: .KOSHER
    • This explains that Christians may own 56.25% of all religious TLDs, Muslims may have 37.5% and Jews may only have 6.25% of the share.

      But if we just count the main religious terms and subsidiaries, Christians will again have the majority by 66.6% of applications (60% of TLDs) in comparison to Muslims with 33.3% of applications (40% of TLDs) and Jews do not have any share in this category.

      I also had an investigation on the TLDs related to Islamic concepts in comparison to those contrary to Islamic values (including pornographic, gambling and alcoholic drinks' TLDs), according to Islamic laws; and the results were even more interesting.

      Here are the results:

      • TLDs related to pornography: 9 applications (5 TLDs)
      • TLDs related to gambling: 17 applications (7 TLDs)
      • TLDs related to alcoholic drinks: 8 applications (4 TLDs)

      Totally 34 applications for 16 TLDs in comparison to 6…

      By Shahram Soboutipour, Indipendent IT Business Adviser

      Related topics: ICANN, Internet Governance, Top-Level Domains

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.UMMAH is not subsidiary of Islam Katim S. Touray  –  Jan 22, 2013 6:11 PM PST

Shahram, .UMMAH is not a subsidiary of Islam, as you wrongly have it categorized in your article.  .UMMAH is a TLD aimed at the global Islamic community (Ummah), and all aiming to reach that community.  It is not aimed at, nor is, any particular Islamic sect such as Sunni or Shia. Other than that, yours is an informative and interesting article.  Thanks!

Katim, you are right, but my categorization Shahram Soboutipour  –  Jan 22, 2013 10:43 PM PST

Katim, you are right, but my categorization on the main religious TLDs here means those names which exactly present the name of the religion or their main holly book. Besides "Ummah” is not commonly used between some sects (e.g. between Shia's).
I think the important fact about these statistics is that it shows that the Christians have been more active (or maybe better informed) in the new gTLD program.

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