ICANN approves '.museum' operating agreement


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has reached agreement with MuseDoma, a consortium chosen last November to operate the new '.museum' generic top-level domain (gTLD). Unlike most other gTLDs, like '.com' and '.net' which are operated for profit, '.museum' is the first sponsored gTLD. This means that it is run by non-profit policymaking groups (including the International Council of Museums and the J Paul Getty Trust) and is answerable to stakeholders. In this case, the stakeholders are museums and related institutions.

Approximately 500 museums from around the world have already requested '.museum' domains. MuseDoma expects to activate the names this month.

ICANN hailed the agreement as a significant expansion of the gTLD concept. The '.museum' domain is one of seven new gTLDs selected by ICANN last November. The others are '.biz', '.info', '.name', '.pro', '.aero' and '.coop'.

MuseDoma is the third of the seven operating entities to reach an operating agreement with ICANN. Afilias and NeuLevel have had problems with their launches of '.info' and 'biz'. MuseDoma does not expect to have similar problems due to the narrow nature of its mandate.

Douglas Wood and Linda Goldstein, Hall Dickler Kent Goldstein & Wood LLP, New York

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