Hinterland Green

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Daily Green's Brian Clark Howard Says the New .eco Domain Would "Ghettoize" Green

A battle is raging in the green blogosphere on competing plans to launch a new top level domain named .eco. Former vice president Al Gore, the Sierra Club and the California group Dot Eco are on one side of the issue, while Canadian environmental group Big Room, WWF International and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev's Green Cross in on the other side of the issue. According to The Daily Green's Brian Clark Howard, both groups say they will apply to Icann -- the regulatory body that oversees domain names -- for the creation of .eco early in 2010. For example, Al Gore's group maintains that they want to grant the domains to green groups, then donate 57% of its profits from sales to support environmental causes. There nothing wrong with that proposal. The problem I have is with Howard's position that the .eco domain would "ghettoize" green because it amounts to nothing more than a gimmick. Why does he have to use a racial stereotype to denote a probable outcome of this new push? It seems rather discriminatory to me.
At the risk of sounding like an online fuddy-duddy, I'm skeptical that we need a bunch more domains. Supposedly Icann is working toward radically opening the field up, so every person or business could conceivably create their own top level domain -- ".michaelvick" anyone? On one hand it might not really matter what the domain says, but on the other it is nice to have some basic organization in the .com, .org, .edu, .gov system we currently enjoy. Still, there are many ways for environmental groups to raise money, some of them quite innovative, so I'm not sure why banking on Internet architecture is so important. Call me crazy, but I don't see the purpose of domain registrations as raising money so much as providing a smooth and fair platform for people to build their own innovations on. Source: Urth Guy
I do agree that .eco could relegate green stuff further to the extremes, the fringes, of the global conversation. There has been some concrete evidence of "green fatigue" and "green backlash" lately and this would, undoubtedly, make matters worse, but interjecting racial stereotypes in the equation is dangerous and just plain wrong. I also find it abhorrent that Mr. Clark would pick disgraced Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick to make a point in his article. What does Vick have to do with the .eco debate and hasn't he served his time and paid his debt to society?

Photo credit: Urth Guy
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