deviantaRT is applying to manage a new Top Level Domain called .art


Top Level Domain (TLD) is the technical name for ".com," ".net," ".org," or ".fr". These TLDs are controlled and issued by a worldwide organization called ICANN, short for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.  When ICANN announced that it would accept applications for new TLDs, deviantART quickly realized that someone would try to nab ".art."    

DeviantART is committed to have the .art TLD in the hands of representatives of the arts; people who know something about the Internet and the way art is presented and enabled by the Internet.  Nobody has more experience with this than the deviantART community that we are all building, participating in, and sharing with each other every day.



In order to secure .art into the right hands, deviantART created a new company called Dadotart, Inc., and brought aboard smart people who know all about the intricate rules, regulations, and technicalities of ICANN and how it works.  We put together a pretty complicated (and somewhat tedious) formal application and submitted it to ICANN months ago, right before the deadline.  You can download and read the public portion of the application here.



Two days ago, ICANN "revealed" all of the applicants for TLDs.  .Art is the third most-contested TLD, with 10 other companies applying to control it -- including some who have applied for hundreds of other TLDs on their own.  This is because TLDs can be big business.  The people who control them get to set prices and terms to use the address.  .Art is going to be very popular for many reasons and these companies know it.



DeviantART is committed to the notion that the art community must participate directly in the management and control of the .art TLD.  The Dadotart application requests a Community Designation for the .art TLD and part of the management would include a committee made up of artists, art professionals, art organizations (both public and private), as well as organizations representing commercial interests in the art world.  This committee would establish the rules and requirements for handing out addresses using the .art TLD and would also be involved in pricing decisions.



The object is to keep the .art TLD accessible, but at the same time give it a strong integrity to the arts.  Someone either using or visiting a .art address should know that they are in a place for the arts -- not just in a vanity environment.  Organizations or others dedicated to the arts need to know that the people behind .art will respect their names and their status and not just sell "Louvre," "Chagall," "MOMA," or "StarCraftFan" to the highest bidder or to the first one in the door.



We believe the .art designation is important because of what art represents as a global cultural force without boundaries.  .Com generally references something to do with commerce, and the arts frequently have nothing to do with commerce; .net has something to do with technology and many art forms have nothing to do with technology itself; .org suggests an organization and many people in the arts specifically stay away from them; .au, .ae, .uk, .pl, and .sg all represent countries and the arts should rise above them just as many artist do, particularly on the Internet and the Web.



It will take many months, maybe more than a year, before final action by ICANN on awarding the .art TLD.  We’ll keep you posted about any major developments.  If you're really interested in the process, you can read additional details on ICANN's site for New Generic Top Level Domains.



This doesn’t mean that deviantART.com would all of a sudden change to deviantART.art (or deviant.art).  DeviantART.com is already a trusted and well known address for our community and the millions of other people who enjoy visiting.  Changing our domain would be very disruptive.  The .art TLD would service all of the arts, including art forms that deviantART doesn't handle -- like the theater, music, dance, and so on -- and would allow people to have individual identities associated with the arts without going through a community like deviantART or YouTube.  This is one of the reasons we created Dadotart, Inc., as the actual applicant for the TLD, so that the participation could be as broad as the arts themselves.



Let us know what you think about this effort!
  • What kind of .art domains do you think should be reserved?
  • Do you agree that .art domains shouldn't just go to the highest bidder?
  • What golden rule of arts custodianship should guide the hearts and minds of those who get the awesome responsibility to manage .art?