I’ve always suspected that Republicans live in a different world. Mitt Romney’s recently revealed comments about the “other” 47% serve to reinforce that view. Now it seems that Republicans want to exist on the internet in their own separate .GOP domain.
The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) earlier this year filed an application for the top level domain “.GOP” with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Federal records indicate that the RSLC paid $185,000 to ICANN in application fees and $32,600 to Minds+Machines to manage the project for a total $217,600 speculative investment in what amounts to an online vanity plate. From the application:
The ultimate goal of the .GOP top-level domain is to establish itself as the recognized choice for registrants who want to market and promote themselves and their websites to, and reach, the Internet-using public, for business, political, personal, legal or any other purpose, through an association with GOP; and, as the recognized top-level domain name for Internet consumers to look for to know which people, businesses, information sources or other online resource associate themselves with GOP or are trying to communicate with people who do.
Rather than restrict the .GOP brand to party members and groups the RSLC plans, according to the application, to make the domain available to all comers, whom it expects will be self-selecting. What sounds like a savvy marketing move for the GOP could be fraught with risk for non-profits and businesses that self identify with an unmistakably partisan domain. The addresses will only be available through the RSLC. Funds generated will be used to elect Republican officeholders across the country.
The .GOP top-level domain will allow the Grand Old Party a better, more identifiable platform to connect with constituents and the American public in terms of the parties’ message, policy, ideology and political discourse. We strongly believe that a free flow of ideas coupled with the right to association demands a more centralized location for both prospective .GOP registrants and others involved with or interested in the GOP. For the foregoing reasons outlined therein, therefore, we are confident that this demand can be met with the .GOP domain.
We believe that the Internet-using world will benefit from the existence of a .GOP gTLD by:
- making domain names ending in .GOP available to all those who may want to use such .GOP domain names for their own business, personal, political or other legal purposes in the United States and world-wide.
- the promotion of GOP by having information of any and all types and for any and all legal purposes available and disseminated from websites and email addresses ending in .GOP for the registrants’ and users’ own purposes world-wide.
- the promotion of GOP by allowing businesses, not-for-profits and individuals to associate their products, services, information and selves with GOP for their own purposes.
- allowing people and organizations to promote their association with the GOP on the Internet.
- providing an identifiable means for people, organizations and businesses to communicate with those who associate with the GOP.
While the application makes the the domain seem open to all, the FAQ on the RSLC website implies that they will be discriminating when allowing users to obtain domain names some time in early 2013. I can see them now: KOCHIND.GOP | CHICK-FIL-A.GOP | HERITAGE.GOP | ATR.GOP | WSJ.GOP. The possibilities are (almost) endless.
No word yet on any .UNA or .DEM top level domain requests.