In 2007 Trevor Bowden and Jacob Malthouse sat in a pub enjoying several pints when their BIG IDEA hit – one that could change the Internet and maybe even help the planet.
It was that night that started a multi-year quest to secure soon-to-be-released online real estate: the domain of .eco, which they believed could be an asset to the environmental movement.
“We knew that there was this opportunity coming up,” Malthouse recalls to CBC News.
“Four or five pints later, we were like, you know what? We’re probably the only two environmentalists on the planet who know this is happening.
“If we don’t try and do something about it we’re never going to forgive ourselves.”
Finally, after eight years of high-stakes internet bureaucracy — and a fight famously linked to Al Gore and Mikhail Gorbachev — Bowden and Malthouse won stewardship of the .eco domain, with the backing of dozens of environmental organizations.
Now, from their one-room office in Vancouver’s Chinatown, they’re doling out the very first .eco sites — not via big-money auctions common in the domain-name industry, but on the basis of an environmental track record.
.Eco launches in early 2017. Before it does, itse giving away up to 500 .eco domains to the environmental movement.
Unlike other top-level domains, .eco will only be available to organizations, businesses and people committed to positive change for the planet. Endorsed by over 50 environmental organizations, including WWF, Greenpeace and NRDC, .eco is a trusted, verified symbol for the environmental community.
Once .eco goes public in the new year, securing names will become competitive and potentially expensive. Apply before December 16, 2016 for up to three .eco domain names for your organization or an upcoming campaign.
“This is a really unique approach,” said Bowden. “We’ve got this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make sure that some of these great names get into the organizations that have helped us build this.”
When .eco goes public next April after Earth Day, it’s first-come first-served, with registration costs around $75-$100. A small number of ‘premium’ names may go to auction, said Malthouse.
Anyone registering for a .eco site must lay bare their environmental commitment in a questionnaire and online profile, saying what they’re doing and how they’ll improve.
Questions about applying for a domain? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.