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TLD for Online Communities and Social Networking?

A company called PW Registry Corporation makes the following announcement regarding the .PW ccTLD originally designated for the country of Palau:

The PW Registry Corporation announced today [March 1, 2004] plans for the activation of the PW top- level domain (TLD), the Internet's first and only domain extension devoted to "Communities of Shared Interests". Unlike other domain extensions, such as .com, .biz, and .info, PW is aimed at providing individuals and consumer/affinity organizations a highly-personalized, permanent and portable e-mail address and a managed platform for community and social networking.

The announcement further explains:

The killer applications on the Internet are those that allow people to communicate with one another. These include email, chat, forums, and most recently, social networks. The Internet's leading portals, from Google to Lycos, have identified social networking as a key business opportunity and strategy. PW is the Internet's first global top-level domain dedicated exclusively for the formation of social networks and communities.

"With spam and personal privacy threats on the rise, consumers are looking to gain better control of their personal information online. They are looking for ways to communicate with like-minded people without risking personal information or compromising the addresses of friends and colleagues," said Thomas Barrett, founder of PW Registry Corporation. "The availability of PW capitalizes on the growing consumer demand for e-mail portability and a permanent Internet identity that is meaningful to the individual. Resellers can take immediate advantage of this consumer interest by bundling it as part of access plans or as part of personal Web sites, online communities and social networks. PW Registry was founded to provide the highest-levels of privacy to consumers - a commitment that will be extended to all future services offered by PW Registry.

PW Registry suggests that the unique structure and policies of .PW makes the TLD ideal for "individuals looking to better manage and control their social network." PW address claims to offer the ability to enable "users to establish their membership in a social network without exposing the identity of colleagues and friends."

PW Registry says that the PW domain is provided "through partnership with the Micronesia Investment and Development Corporation, the ICANN-delegated Sponsor for PW; and the Palau National Communications Corporation, the designated point of contact within the Government of the Republic of Palau. Assisting in the Policy Development Process for PW is the PW Policy Council, comprised of a cross-section of Internet stakeholders in the Republic of Palau."

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