Spotlight on the .eco new gTLD

Coming in early 2017, .eco is one of the most anticipated new top level domains (TLD). It is the only mission-based, impact-focused TLD endorsed by the global environment community. The company behind .eco, Big Room, is also based here in British Columbia, Canada. We recently reached out to their team to learn more about their plans for .eco. Please enjoy the interview below:

1) What was the impetus for you to launch .eco ?  
We saw a unique opportunity to unite the environmental community online while helping people who care find products and services that are genuinely environmentally friendly.

2) Can you please highlight the mission of .eco?
Our mission is to create a new globally recognized and trusted domain extension for  non-profits, businesses, and people who are dedicated to positive change for the planet. Eco will foster transparency, information sharing, and exchange of ideas that promote and protect our environment.

3) Are there specific restrictions in order to register a .eco domain?  

.Eco is available to non-profits, businesses and people who commit to taking action toward a better environment and to sharing accurate information about their social and environmental credentials. We are committed to inclusiveness by welcoming those that have already made this commitment, as well as those that are ready to join the .eco community by making a commitment on joining.

After registration is complete, .eco registrants will be invited by email to activate their domain name by affirming their commitment to the goals and values of the community. Registrants will also have the chance to indicate their focus areas to help identify and build communities of interest and encourage improved performance over time. At their leisure, advanced users will be able to complete a more detailed .eco-profile if desired, providing in-depth details about their environmental commitments and actions, memberships and independently verified certifications.

New community members will be welcome when they make the same affirmation as existing community members, committing their support to uphold the goals and values of the community and to provide accurate information on their credentials. By indicating their areas of interest, new members will have an opportunity to learn from the experience and achievements of others who share their goals and interests.

Once a .eco profile has been created, the .eco domain will be activated for use. A .eco trust mark linked to an .eco-profile must be displayed on every active .eco website, allowing visitors to see the registrants commitments to the environment.

4) How do you plan on differentiating .eco to stand out against other new gTLDs like .green, .ngo and legacy gTLDs like .org?

.Eco provides a verified digital identity for organizations, people, products and businesses that are committed to taking action for the planet. With the support of over 50 international organizations including WWF, The David Suzuki Foundation and Conservation International, .eco is the only environmentally focused domain developed with community input and oversight.

Globally recognizable, short, and meaningful in multiple languages, .eco will help to easily and accurately identify members of the community.

5) Can you please share more details about your Domain Grants Program and Champions Program?

We have two unique programs -- Domain Grants and Champions -- to create early awareness and adoption for .eco

In line with our community values, we created a unique domain grants program to give non-profit organizations and governments access to up to 500 premium generic .eco domains. To qualify, grantees must actively use their domain grant within a year from the grant date to promote a campaign, bring awareness to an environmental cause or any other initiative that furthers the goals of the community. Grant applications will be accepted until December 16, 2016. Visit www.nic.eco/grants for more information.

Similar to pioneer programs, the .eco Champions Program includes 100 names for individuals, businesses and organizations that are leaders in the environmental community.  These early adopters must launch their .eco domains by April 17, 2017. For more information on the terms of the Champions program, please visit www.nic.eco/champions.

6) .Eco enters general availability in early 2017.  What are the key challenges / obstacles you foresee in the short term?

.eco will be available for Sunrise applications in February 2017, with a 7-day Early Access Program during Earth Week, April 18th through April 24, 2017. General availability will follow on April 25, 2017.

As the new top level domain program enters its fourth year, we appreciate the possibility of new top level domain burnout. We are committed to actively working with registrars to earn strong channel support for .eco.

In addition to having what we believe is one of the most sought after new top level domains,  we have created a verified digital identity for environmental products, businesses, organization and people. This .eco extension is a new model that will require a shift in the way we traditionally think about launching and registering new top level domains.The benefit of launching in 2017 instead of being one of the first new extensions out of the gate is we have also learned from watching the past 3 years.

We appreciate it will take significant amount of work to do to generate awareness for .eco and we are committed to making that happen. Our Grants Program, Champions Program, planned pre-launch marketing, and most importantly joint marketing opportunities with our registrar partners leading up to launch and post general availability will help create awareness and demand. We are committed to long-term successful registrar partnerships and look forward to building excellent relationships with HEXONET and the rest of the channel.