Earlier this week the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or (ICANN) made a significant announcement that starting in January 2012 they will begin accepting applications for new “generic top-level domains.”  As David Sarno wrote in the LA Times  “ICANN approves open Web domain name rules: .anything is possible

“The body that controls the way Internet domain names work, known as ICANN, has voted to open up the naming system so that any established organization with enough cash can apply to create its own version of .com, .org or .gov.

In the for-profit world, that means that instead of going to coke.com or nike.com, you might be able to go to drink.coke or justdoit.nike.  Nonprofit groups could reserve the .school domain…  Cities could consolidate their online presence at .nyc or .losangeles.  And interest groups could stake out their own corner of the Web by offering every auto junkie a .car domain name, every law firm a .law address…”

As Sarno alludes to, beyond having $185,000 to pay for the new domain, organization must also pass a background screening that checks for “general business diligence and criminal history; and history of cyber squatting behavior.”

So where does politics fit into the picture?

As you might have heard, former Ambassador / Utah Governor Jon Huntsman announced he is running for president. While the official campaign site does come up in the first page of a Google search, if you were to type in jonhuntsman.com you would instead be taken to what is clearly a parody site that someone connected to his former boss (President Obama) put up.


While partisans on both sides have increasingly become fond of these types of shenanigans (TimKaine.com redirects the contact page of the Communist Party) for political parties registered with the Federal Elections Committee or by individual states, ICANN should wave their anti-cyber squatting requirement and give political parties their own .top level domain (for instance .gop or .dems) as a place for candidates to host their campaign websites. While very few if any real voters are probably ever fooled by parody sites, having a standard gTLD for candidates would be especially helpful at the local and state level where resources are scarce.

techPresident has more on another one of this year’s more comprehensive  parody sites targeting former congressional candidate Jane Corwin.

You can read ICANN’s entire 352 page application guide here.