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Re: <nettime> What do you think about .art?
Andreas Broeckmann on Thu, 8 Mar 2012 14:02:22 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> What do you think about .art?

dear desiree, dear friends,

here's my two cents. i've been following the process for winning the bid for ".berlin" in the last years ( http://www.dotberlin.de/ ); i cannot say whether what has happened there is necessarily a model for what would have to happen around ".art", but here we go:

the process for dotberlin started in 2006; a lot of time was spent by the initiators to bring together a broad coalition of organisations based in berlin that might have a stake in such a TLD. the initiators made it clear from the beginning that it was a profit-oriented enterprise, but that the point was to benefit businesses in berlin in general. (a crucial issue is, for instance, that domains like "hotel.berlin" or "taxi.berlin" should not be owned by a single hotel/taxi company, but should be run by an association representing many hotel or taxi companies. and this then goes for _all_ other generic domain names, mainly in german, but possible also in other languages: who gets "blumen.berlin", and who "flowers.berlin"?)

at that stage (2006/07), it was not even clear whether ICANN would open up for city-TLDs (like ".paris" or ".nyc"), but ICANN did then allow for the creation of non-nation, regional TLDs like ".cat" (for catalunya, the proud region in the north-east of spain). together with some of these other city-TLD ventures, the dotberlin initiative apparently did a lot of the international lobby work to edge ICANN towards allowing these city-TLDs, and creating the regulatory system through which the administration of the TLDs would be controlled, who would be able to bid, etc. - as desiree writes, the requirements are quite complex (which, besides, is why i think that it is unlikely that "a single rich gallery" would stand a chance of actually winning the bid).

one particularity of the situation in berlin has been that ICANN demanded support for a city-TLD bid from the city government, which for a long time the "Berliner Senat" was not willing to give to the dotberlin consortium because the local government wanted to protect its own "berlin.de" domain from the competition. however, after years of haggling, pressure from the local business community seems to have made the Senat change their mind. (i assume that, to win the .art TLD, it would be important to win the support of large international lobby organisations, like the international museum association, or UNESCO.)

my guess is that while desiree's plan is admirable in spirit, what would be required for a bid that stands the slightest chance would be the setting up of an organisation with a constitution that makes sure that individual artists, artist groups and organisations, private and public arts organisations, contemporary and historical art museums, commercial and non-profit galleries, residency programs, etc., etc., get a fair chance of access to their desired "domain.art". you also need a functioning organisation that can efficiently administer the TLD. (overhead costs) and then there needs to be a system according to which the profits from running the domain will actually be distributed - anybody who has been involved in horizontal funding schemes will know what a project the negotiation of such an international .art fund would be...

i'm sorry to make this sound as though it was complicated, and might take a lot of work. yet, i believe it is, and it would.

what i think about .art? i think it is a good idea and i hope that the organisation that will administer it will have the vision to do it well. i also think that it is worth investigating the process of bidding and auctioning. my guess is that it is possible to find out who is in the race for the ".art"-TLD, and that it might be possible to lobby and inspire those people, possibly also by offering support to the most promising bidder. for this it would, i think, also make sense to band together, even in a loose and scattered group like "the people on nettime who care about the .art-TLD".

best regards,

Am 07.03.12 19:19, schrieb Desiree Miloshevic:
Armin - thanks for helping out here and explaining I was going with my email.

Ted, it's been a while, but I hope you still have time to follow ICANN
let us know what you think of the latest ICANN gTLD process.

As I've been working on .art for some time - am interested to see if
we could mobilize artists to pledge:
a) written support
b) crowd source donations for the application fee (185,000 USD),
c) between 10-100 USD per person or any close number to that.

That would give the bid a credit, if the application is supported by
the artists themselves
and we can show the track of money pledge.

My idea is simple: since artists would be buying and registering
domain names, that money
(after the op costs) should be channelled back to the arts world.
Money should be channelled annually by regular calls for grants giving schemes,
free websites or other digital technologies that stimulate
arts and would be curated within .art space. A revenue share of up to
25% of domain name sale.
The bid should be as global as possible and the revenue should be shared
globally to artists and art organisations in needs. An idea of first
100,000 free websites is there
as well, but one needs to have a price to avoid spam.

If accepted domain would go live only in 2013/2014.

The new TLD ICANN process is very aggressive - if there are multiple
.art applicants all bids go to an auction.
If there are players who would pay up to x mil USD for .art just to
resell and auction domains, and do f* all with art.
Or it could be a single rich gallery bidding for ownership of .art.

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