Feb 212014

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.

This post is part of a blog series tagged gTLD

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 @cmdtvNew .Church Domains Are On The Way From An Unlikely Source (churchmediadesign.tv 1/30/14)

Feb 202014

The Internet expansion program continues growing, with 7+ new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) becoming available every week for the public to register new domain names. The 2 most popular so far are .GURU and .PHOTOGRAPHY, with 35,000+ and 18,000+ registered domains, respectively, at the time of this blog post. I’ve found it much more understandable to see these new gTLD domain names in action, rather than merely hearing about the potential usage of new domain extensions.  So I searched for .PHOTOGRAPHY websites already launched, and I noticed these 6 patterns in these new domain names:


(1) Get a domain name = FullName + .photography ::

(2) Replace the generic domain name (xyzwhatever.com) with one that clearly is about photography ::

(3) Or just shorten up a similar domain name to indicate you’re open to new ideas ::

(4) Get a name for a specific type or genre of photography ::

(5) Go short and meaningful ::

(6) Go geographical ::

As the general public sees more websites with new gTLDs in use, and they’re going to show up in marketing and advertising, people will get accustomed and acclimated to website addresses being about the DOT instead of the WWW or a .COM. (Notice I didn’t use any WWW in the above URLs)

Remember when people used to use Alta Vista as their search engine? Netscape as their browser? AOL or Juno as their email? Change is constantly happening on the Internet.

There’s no permanence with website URLs either. Every domain name has an expiration date, and when the landscape will look very different by 2015, that’s next year, companies and organizations have to be agile. Just as websites need a redesign every once in a while, so does its branding and logo design need a refresh occasionally. And add to that, its domain names. IMHO. YMMV.

This post is part of a blog series tagged gTLD. Oh, there’s 1 more thing I want to say about this. There will also be 2 other new gTLDs, .PHOTO and .PHOTOS, for new domain names. (They’re available for public registration on 4/15/14 and 3/05/14, respectively.) I recall reading somewhere that photography is the most popular hobby. With these very similar domain extensions, serious branding will be needing to register all 3 of these domains (.PHOTOGRAPHY/.PHOTO/.PHOTOS) the way many currently register the trifecta of .COM/.NET/.ORG for domain names.

[disclosure: my interest in this topic is informally related to my work as a member of the .BIBLE Registry launch team] 

Feb 192014

The Internet namespace is expanding faster than ever, with an estimated 1000+ new generic top-level domains (gTLD) launching in the next 2 years. At the time of this writing, there are 21 brand new gTLDs (aka domain extensions) publicly available in English. Technically, there are also 200+ 2-letter ccTLDs (country-code top-level domains) plus the previously available 20+ gTLDs (that include .COM, .NET, .ORG), plus new gTLDs with non-English characters like شبكة .游戏 .онлайн .сайт – so, technically, there are already hundreds of domain suffixes, with hundreds more launching in the weeks and months ahead. Today on 2/19/2014, registration for new domain names with these 7 new domain suffixes were made available to the public:illustration by JESS3

  • .construction
  • .contractors
  • .directory
  • .kitchen
  • .land
  • .technology
  • .today

In this blog series, I’ve been surveying first-mover websites using the newly-available gTLDs. Out of the first 7 that were launched public on 2/5/14, there are some good websites up-and-running on .BIKE + .CLOTHING + .GURU, and currently, websites with 1 of the remaining gTLDs, .HOLDINGS .PLUMBING .SINGLES .VENTURES, are harder to find::

What can we deduce from these early indicators? It’s taking more than 2 weeks for websites to get built and launched. And it’s going to take more time  for these new domain extensions to catch on with the public.

All these new domain extensions have a lot at stake; these first domain extensions are just 28 of 307 gTLD registries being operated by Donuts, with an investment over $57 million. Also in the Donuts portfolio is… the .CHURCH gTLD.

This post is part of a blog series tagged gTLDAlso see list of .BIKE domain websites + .CLOTHING websites + .GURU websites

Feb 172014

The Internet namespace expansion is history in the making, with an estimated 1000+ new generic top-level domains (gTLD) launching in the next 2 years. At the time of this writing, there’s 14 new gTLDs (aka domain extensions) are publicly available and the most popular is the .GURU suffix, with over 30,000 .GURU domains registered to date. Domains in the .guru family that have already been registered by Apple and pointed to the company’s name servers include http://apple.guru http://iphone.guru http://ipad.guru http://mac.guru – if any company could reshape the Internet world, as it already has with all things digital, it’s Apple.

While 10k+ .GURU domains have been registered, there aren’t many that are live yet, and many (most?) were registered by people that make money buying and selling domain names. Here’s a list of websites with a .GURU domain name already running (that I could find)::

Generated by WebThumbnail.org Generated by WebThumbnail.org
Generated by WebThumbnail.org Generated by WebThumbnail.org

The name game: New web domain names hit the market explained this Internet expansion program well (Economist 2/08/14):

AFTER the dotcom boom of the 1990s, the world is about to experience a boom in dots. Over 1,000 new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs) are set to join the 22 existing ones, such as .com and .org, and the 280 country-specific ones, such as .uk, that now grace the end of web addresses. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the non-profit organisation that manages the web’s address book, reckons this will boost competition and innovation. It will also increase the cost to businesses of protecting their brands. [emphasis added]

And, I would add, that it will make web addresses more meaningful and shorter, in the long-run, though it’ll stir up a little confusion in the short-term as people adjust to the changes in technology, but that’s how life is in the digital age, change is always coming, and sometimes disruptive, fast, and furious.

This post is part of a blog series tagged gTLDAlso see this list of .BIKE domain sites and .CLOTHING websites

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Feb 142014

Sometimes things launch big with a loud splash; sometimes things launch slowly and build momentum over time. The Internet namespace is experiencing its largest expansion in history, as an estimated 1000+ new generic top-level domains (gTLD) are launching in the next 2 years. Right now this expansion program is looking like a slower launch (even though 50k+ domains with new gTLDs have been registered so far) and would build momentum over time, and accelerate exponentially when something disruptive happens

So, what does this Internet expansion actually look like? Let’s look at some real active websites running on the new gTLDs. Here are the first websites using a .BIKE domain name (that I could find) (and don’t you think the new domain names are better than the old ones?) ::

Generated by WebThumbnail.org Generated by WebThumbnail.org
Generated by WebThumbnail.org Generated by WebThumbnail.org
Found a report that researched how the top 20 American bicycle brands were responding to the .BIKE gTLD. As of 2/10/14, all 20 brands were registered as .BIKE domain names but only 4 of the 20 brands have clearly been registered by the actual brand owner. And when I checked during the writing of this blog post, none of those 4 are live yet (as either websites or redirects.)

In subsequent posts of this blog series (tagged gTLD), I’ll be working off the list below, to find real websites up-and-running on these new domain extensions. Last week on 2/5/14, this Internet expansion went mainstream with 7 new gTLDs becoming available for registration by the general public:
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  • .bike
  • .clothing
  • .guru
  • .holdings
  • .plumbing
  • .singles
  • .ventures

And 7 more gTLDs became available to all on 2/12/14:

  • .camera
  • .equipment
  • .estate
  • .gallery
  • .graphics
  • .lighting
  • .photography

On 2/19/2014, these 7 gTLDs will become available to all:

  • .construction
  • .contractors
  • .directory
  • .kitchen
  • .land
  • .technology
  • .today

And there’s more, much more, to come. Here’s 3 of the best ways I’ve found to keep track of the newest gTLDs launched:

This Internet expansion program is much more complicated and multi-layered than I’ve presented here, with lots of moving parts and multiple phases of launching a new gTLD, like testing, delegation, sunrise phase for trademark holders, landrush and early access phases, prior to a gTLD becoming available to the general public. I won’t be getting into all of that technical detail and the precision that would necessitate using verbose words to explain more accurately that would be more legally acceptable.


[disclosure: my interest in this topic is informally related to my work as a member of the .BIBLE Registry launch team] 

Sep 192010

You don’t have to GoDaddy.com for your domain name or web hosting. (I confess that I do use them on certain occasions.) Whether it’s a moral scruple or horror stories (cf NoDaddy.com), here’s a list of alternative domain name registrars that have competitive pricing (under $10 per year, in no particular order):

Of course, not all domain registrars are equal. Cost shouldn’t be the only factor in choosing a registrar. Read the fine print and reviews for customer support, responsiveness, and extra features that may be included in registration (like DNS management, Whois privacy…), or discount bundles with web hosting.

Useful web services for your research and consideration: Compare domain registrars side-by-side |Domparison.com – domain name price comparison search engine |HosterStats.com – domain name statistics | InstantDomainSearch.com – check domain availability as you type.

Add a comment to list more. I know there are many more registrars; cf. official list of ICANN-accredited registrars. Just haven’t done a price check for ‘em all.