In amongst the hundreds of new gTLDs (Generic Top Level Domains) that have so far been delegated by ICANN, there are a number that stand out – whether because they’re quirky (.FOO, anyone?) or because their English meaning bears no relation to the purpose of the TLD (.GAL, for example, has nothing to do with girls).
We took a look at the list, and pulled out a few of the new gTLDs that piqued our interest. The background to some of them is pretty interesting – so if you’re baffled as to who might register a .OOO domain, or a .MOE one, read on, as we explain all…
Vox Populi’s application for the .SUCKS TLD is admirably straight-faced: ‘The term “sucks” resonates around the globe, its intention clear and understood. But it is now more than an epithet; it is a call to action. Whether registered by an activist or an executive, this new landscape will be devoted to encouraging an accelerated and legitimate dialog that can lead to improved customer satisfaction and market share.
There are few, if any, places for raw consumer commentary and corporate interests to cohere. The .SUCKS name space will enable the benefits of the dialog without dampening its usual initial vehemence. With its specific focus, it will make it even easier for consumers to find, suggest, cajole, complain and engage on specific products, services and companies.’
Vox Populi has a cyberbullying policy in place, and if a complaint is made and upheld that any .SUCKS site is engaged in cyberbullying the site will be the subject of a takedown. Other than that, there do not appear to be specific restrictions on who can register the gTLD, or what names can be registered – so whatever you’re feeling angry about, you can now tell the world exactly what (dot) sucks.
The word ‘moe’, to Anglophone ears, might suggest an abbreviation of ‘moustache’, or perhaps summon up images of Moe Szyslak, the grumpy bartender in the Simpsons. But no, in this usage, ‘moe’ is a Japanese slang word that’s often used to describe a feeling of intense excitement about some object or character, mainly in animation, manga, and video games.
The word became popular in Japanese ‘otaku’ culture in the 90s (a rough translation of ‘otaku’ is ‘geek’ in English). As well as describing excitement, it also denotes a particular kind of ‘adorable’, or specific type of ‘cute’, mainly as applied to fictional characters. With the boom in otaku culture in Japan in recent years, ‘moe’ became more and more mainstream, and in 2005 was named as one of the top Japanese words of the year.
Today, the word’s meaning has become even more expansive, and one can feel or experience ‘moe’ or for all kinds of things, not just fantasy characters. For example, one could express a feeling of ‘moe’ when looking at a cute puppy or kitten. So if you’re a business that deals in the more adorable things in life, .MOE might just be for you.
Rather than an expression of mild surprise or delight (‘Oooh, look at that!’) the .OOO TLD comes from Indian e-commerce company Infibeam, and is an expansion of and complement to their current BuildaBazaar.com platform. It’s aimed at ‘any entity launching or expanding an e-commerce venture’ anywhere in the world.
If you’re not a developer, you mightn’t be familiar with the term ‘foo’, but we’re here (thanks to the Urban Dictionary) to enlighten you: ‘A term used for unimportant variables in programming when the programmer is too lazy to think of an actual name.’ The use of ‘foo’ in programming is often accompanied by the term ‘bar’, which allegedly draws its origins from military slang acronym “FUBAR” (you’ll have to look that one up yourself).
Proposed by Charleston Road Registry, they write in their application: ‘The mission of this gTLD, .foo, is to provide a dedicated domain space in which registrants can enact second-level domains that relate to web development and⁄or act as a repository for prototyping and beta sites.’ So now you know.
.GRIPE, .EXPOSED and .FAIL
All three of these were proposed by Donuts Inc., and all three have a fairly similar purpose: ‘online free expressions of criticism’. Any of them can be registered by individuals or groups ‘interested in editorializing, providing input, with other communities, publishing commentary, or […] by companies to solicit product or service improvement input.’
We thought that ‘Boo’ was what ghosts said when they’re out to scare you; or what audiences yell when they’re bored or angry. But it seems we’re old and behind the times; according to Charleston Road Registry, who are behind the application for the .BOO domain, ‘The term ʺbooʺ was popularized by a 2004 Usher and Alicia Keys duet entitled, ʺMy Booʺ. It has since gained significant usage in the pop culture lexicon as a term indicating oneʹs significant other.’
The uses of the .BOO TLD ‘may include but are not limited to applications such as terms of endearment (hey.boo, youremy.boo).’ So if you’re old and out of touch like us, you can probably use .BOO for purposes from the spooky to the angry, too.
Best known in English as a version of the word ‘girl’, if you’d hoped to snag a .GAL TLD to, say sell a range of women’s shoes (shoe.gal) or to describe your life as a joyous woman (happy.gal, perhaps?), then you’re out of luck. The application for the .GAL gTLD was submitted by Asociación puntoGAL, ‘in name and on behalf of the Galician linguistic and cultural community, which originated in Galicia, an area in northwestern Iberian Peninsula’. And to get one, you’ll need to prove ‘a bona fide nexus to the Galician linguistic and cultural community’. So it looks like gals outside Galicia are out of luck.
Any gentlemen out there who might want to get themselves a .GENT TLD, though, might be more successful – although .GENT is intended to provide ‘an exclusive, clear and unambiguous identifier for the City of Ghent on the Internet’, there will be ‘no particular requirements or eligibility restrictions… imposed upon registrants in the .GENT TLD’.
With a total of 1,930 applications for new gTLDs submitted to ICANN, and the above just a sampling of some of the 517 which have been successfully delegated, we can be pretty sure that the internet, already a weird and wonderful place, is set to become even more weird and wonderful still as more and more of them roll out. If you’re curious, you can keep an eye on the list of delegated strings hereas it updates.