2017 has been a roller coaster year around the world. It has been a wild ride in the domain space too. In the first quarter alone we witnessed one registrar announce the acquisition of one of its largest competitors. We watched registries adjust their pricing models, both with price increases and decreases. And, if you read industry blogs, you’ve no doubt seen suggestions that new TLDs are being laid to rest just three years after the first ones launched. In the midst of all these developments, new domain extensions continue to launch. One of these is .eco, which enters Early Access Program today followed by General Availability next Tuesday April 25, 2017.
Founded by Jacob Malthouse and Trevor Bowden of Big Room, .eco has one of the more innovative business plans I've seen. Jacob and Trevor spent two years building a coalition of support from community environmental organizations. After listening to more than 50 global organizations including WWF, World Business Council on Sustainable Development and Conservation International, to name a few, Trevor and Jacob designed .eco to be an inclusive community top-level domain.
The community wants .eco to be available to anyone committed to a better planet. That includes businesses, organizations and individuals. In addition, trust and transparency will be fundamental to the success of .eco. We've been to the world's biggest environmental products tradeshow and North America's largest non-profit tech conference where we heard loud and clear that anything other than a community driven, transparency-first .eco would be unacceptable.
As the Big Room team began formulating our strategy, the big question was how to build and launch a trustworthy and transparent domain extension. The answer was simple ... innovate. Each .eco domain registration comes with a .eco profile that registrants are required to complete before they can start using their .eco domain. The publicly-available profile serves as a transparency mechanism for registrants to showcase their environmental actions and sustainability efforts.
Each .eco registration also comes with a .eco trustmark to further facilitate trust and transparency. The trustmark works like social media sharing icons that are now standard on the web and links back to the domain holder's .eco profile page. Combined, these three elements — the .eco extension, profile and trustmark — make up the .eco system.
We've spent the last four months working with early adopters — we call them Champions — to get the .eco system right and to learn more about the many use cases for .eco domains. Several Champions from the fashion, financial and educational sectors have already completed their profiles and have published them at profiles.eco.
With our business plan and .eco system in place, we've been travelling the world to tell the .eco story to our registrar partners. Over the past several months, we have traveled to NamesCon, ICANN Copenhagen and WHD in Rust, Germany to review the .eco value proposition and our launch plans with registrars. Though enthusiasm for new domain endings may have diminished over the last three years, it's been very encouraging to see how receptive registrars are to our innovative approach. Registrars have also embraced our approach to identifying a select number of 3,500 premium names for the .eco community. Premium names will renew at a regular price.
Through targeted innovation, .eco aims to be a trusted and transparent space where large and small businesses, organizations and individuals will showcase their commitments to a better planet. At a time when trust and transparency, or lack thereof, is at the forefront of our daily world it's refreshing to be part of a new TLD launch that will make a difference in an open manner. A difference that is undoubtedly needed at a crucial point in our time.
For our existing partners, we have created a suite of simple marketing materials here: home.eco/registrars/resources
To sign up with .eco visit home.eco/registrars or contact me directly. We'd love to have you on the team.
.eco launches globally at 16:00 UTC on April 25, 2017, when domains will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. .eco is for businesses, non-profits and people committed to positive change for the planet. See list of registrars offering .eco