As the Internet namespace expansion program continues its roll-out, I’m hearing this recurring question from pastors: “How do I get my .CHURCH domain name?” I talk with quite a number of people from churches regularly in person and over social media, partly because I host the Social Media Church podcast for conversations with church leaders about social media, and partly because I’m a regular church-goer (and morph into a fanatic multi-church-goer twice a year–for Christmas and Easter.)
According to early indicators (via the 1&1 pre-reservations count), these .CHURCH domain names are very popular and a lot of people want them. .CHURCH is in the top 30 of new gTLDs (generic top-level domains) out of an estimated 1,000+ suffixes!
The date when the public would be able to get these domain names ending in .CHURCH is not yet determined. Launch date is unknown. The process for how you register for a .CHURCH domain name is not yet open, but it will be similar to how anyone gets a domain name today. And, it will be, first come first serve. What is know so far is this: on February 6th, 2014, the .CHURCH Registry Agreement was signed; that means it’s officially on its way towards launch.
The best answer to the question at this time: stay tuned for more details here @ djchuang.com and I’ll keep you updated.
Is there a way to reserve a domain name ahead of time? Not exactly. There are registrar websites that have a “pre-reservation” or “pre-order” or “pre-registration” form to capture your contact info, but you’ll need to exercise discernment and read the fine print to see what you’re signing over.
However, if you have a trademark on your church name, there is a special process for registering your .CHURCH domain name early, before the proverbial doors open to the public. (Or could we say flood gates?) Say, for example, you’re Mars Hill Church, and you had a trademark for Mars Hill, you could have the option to get MarsHill.Church by registering with the Trademark Clearinghouse, and then it’s up to you to stay alert for the “Sunrise phase,” and then register your trademarked name ahead of the public. It’s sorta like priority access at the airport.
And there’s one more thing.
I work on the .BIBLE Registry launch team for my day job. We’re able to share much more about how the launch process is going for the .BIBLE gTLD and our team will be blogging about how .BIBLE domain names will open up a digital space for all things Bible. We would be thrilled to have church leaders be a part of it! All that’s happening over at the .BIBLE blog (BibleTLD.org/blog) and you can pre-register the .BIBLE domain names you’re interested in there for free and win an .BIBLE Digital Charger.
p.s. LifeChurch.tv had been 1 of 2 applicants for to be the .CHURCH registry operator, but there’s only room for one operator. This is the only remaining content on LifeChurch.tv’s DotChurch.org website:
Thank you for your interest in .church domain names. Donuts Inc. will be the registry for .church, and you can find out more about them on their site.
And there’s a copy of the email announcement from LifeChurch.tv posted on a January 2014 blog post .church Domain Update at ChurchMag. And, there’s this commentary from Brad Zimmerman @cmdtv: New .Church Domains Are On The Way From An Unlikely Source (churchmediadesign.tv 1/30/14)