Tech

GOP looks to claim its own section of cyberspace

Josh Peterson Tech Editor

Soon domain names ending in .GOP will be available to purchase, making the Republican Party the first political party to reserve its own website ending.

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RLSC) announced on Wednesday that Republicans would soon be able to purchase website names ending in the generic top level domain (gTLD) designation .GOP.

gTLDs already include the current system of website endings such as .com, .net., .org, and .info. Websites with the .GOP suffix would operate like normal websites, said the RLSC.

“This means that like .com, .org or .edu, the online neighborhood for Republicans will be .gop, a new initiative geared towards grass roots conservatives and the millions of Republicans across the country,” said the RLSC.

The RLSC says that establishing “the .gop universe” would “connect individuals and organizations that support issues important to the GOP” all under “one digital nametag.”

“Current elected officials, committees, new candidates and grassroots supporters will all share space in the GOP neighborhood representing the many viewpoints within the Republican Party,” said the RLSC.

gTLDs have been the subject of controversy and worry since the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced its plans to introduce the new capacity for Internet users.

The potential of gTLDs can enable major brands like Nike, Google or Sony to claim names like .Nike, .Google or .Sony in order to mark their territory in cyberspace in a manner more customized than .com, .net. or .org allows.

The gTLD .xxx became an attractive prospect for the porn industry, in addition to a headache for universities and businesses wanting to thwart the porn industry from buying up .xxx website names that included their brand names.

University of Kansas purchased www.KUgirls.xxx and www.KUnurses.xxx; Indiana University purchased www.hoosiers.xxx.

ICANN announced on Wednesday that the first four gTLDs of its new system were delegated.

“This means they were introduced into the Internet’s Root Zone, the central authoritative database for the Internet’s Domain Name System,” said ICANN in a statement.

The four gTLDs were in Arabic, Cyrillic, and Chinese scripts.

Readers of the satirical website Fark.com wasted no time imagining .GOP domain names they would create to mock Republicans.

Iswearshesmywife.gop, homosaregay.gop, EchoChamber.gop, and winning.gop were all tossed around as possible website names.

Whether such domain names would be approved remains to be seen, however, since Top Level Registry, Inc. — which will run the registry for .GOP websites — is a subsidiary of the RSLC.

A user launch is expected late 2013 – early 2014, according to the RSLC. Pricing details will be made available closer to the launch date.

The Fark commenters claimed that the only type of people who would visit a .GOP site are people who already agree with Republicans, or liberal bloggers and writers from the Daily Show looking for material.

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