.eco would be a good domain to have.

A year and a half ago or so, I was introduced to two guys in Vancouver who were trying to start a new top-level domain for companies and organizations doing good environmental work – .eco. Their resumes and backgrounds were impressive, and they seemed to really know what they were doing, but still, I thought, what are the chances that these two guys could actually create a new top-level domain?

Cut to last week, and I run into Trevor Bowden, one of .eco founders, and they have made truly remarkable progress.


What? from dot eco on Vimeo.

They just launched their website, doteco.info, which is great blend of useful information and videos about what they are trying to accomplish, ways to participate and help spread the message, and information about their current supporters (some of whom are truly impressive). All in a very nice looking website. Pulling off an informative and good-looking website about a new concept is very difficult.

They are gearing up for a presentation in 2010 to ICANN, or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers . This is the organization responsible for the Internet’s naming system.

So what is .eco?

The .eco system will display current, detailed eco-information to anyone with a browser, anytime they need it, anywhere on the planet. It will do this by collecting information from people when they register .eco domain names for their companies, organisations, products, or even themselves and then displaying that information on a standardised, open platform.

What they want to do with .eco is very impressive. They would link it to verifiable environmental action, so those using the .eco domain would be showing off a badge that they had made progress on reducing their environmental impact.

Treehugger has a great article about what they are doing.

They have one major competitor, namely Al Gore and a group who are also trying to start a .eco top-level domain. I’m a big fan of Al Gore, but it’s kind of fun to watch some guys from Vancouver put together a very different and very compelling alternative to a .eco domain and see if they can give the bigwigs a run for their money.

I think the .eco domain is useful. A company like Toyota could assume that people going to toyota.eco would be at their site for specific reasons, and they could highlight their environmental products and policies and corporate initiatives front and centre. It could be a form of built-in audience segmentation (those who choose to visit a .eco version of the site instead of a .com), and not just a redirect to a main corporate site.

So check out doteco.info and see what it’s all about. It may be coming to an Internet near you…

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