Well, hi there! It’s time for this month’s episode of JebraWHAT!?, our non-techy, ultra-friendly advice column for social entrepreneurs and non-profits managing their web sites on their own. We’ll be answering your questions about ways you can take control of your own web presence, keep your site updated, and integrate the technology that best supports your customers and donors — and hopefully, our answers will be as easy for you to understand as a cookie recipe.
A few weeks ago, I received a message from the fantastic Nora Brathol of Arka Pana Consulting. Nora’s mission and work with Arka Pana is something we can really get behind. Connecting the knowledge she gained working in international human rights advocacy with her passion for the world of social media, she is our go-to person for helping nonprofit organizations utilize their web presence for fundraising, advocacy, and consciousness-raising.
Nora had a really important question about things that suck.
Specifically, she wrote me to ask if I would blog about the domain availability for .SUCKS. No, she’s not planning to open up a vacuum cleaner web site. In reality, she’s thinking about the best interests of her clients, knowing the headache and expense that will be sure to follow if they don’t stay a step ahead of the game.
If you haven’t heard about .SUCKS, or if you’re checking your calendar right now to see if this blog post is an April Fools joke, you’d better keep reading. Not knowing how to handle .sucks could get you in a lot of trouble, and that would…well…I think you know.
Hold Up There. Dot Sucks Is Going to Be a Domain Name Extension?!
Yes. If you hate your neighbor Joe John Bigglesby, theoretically you will be able to purchase JoeJohnBigglesby.SUCKS. Full stop. This is different than owning JoeJohnBigglesbySucks.com or JoeJohnBigglesbySucks.net. The .SUCKS is a new ending for domain names.
In fact, there are new domain name endings (more commonly known as extensions) that will become available over the next few months. They include some mostly positive, uplifting extensions like .SCHOOL and .FAITH and .FOOTBALL and .TEAM; some slightly more specific ones like .CASINO, .SHOW, and .GOLF; and some fairly unnerving ones like .PORN and .ADULT.
You can see the full list of upcoming domain extension releases here: https://www.name.com/preorder/availabilitydates
OMG. How Do I Get MyCompanyName.SUCKS Before My Competitor Does?
Good thinking! Thankfully, this issue came up early in discussions over the .SUCKS name. When ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which regulates the sale of domain extensions and names) auctioned off the right to sell .SUCKS, the highest bidder was a company who paid $3 million for the privilege of letting people register .sucks names. The pricing scheme is not simple — it depends on your intentions and ownership status.
The most important thing to know is that trademark holders get first dibs. If you hold the trademark for “SuperDuper Cookie Cuties,” and you can furnish an SMD file from the Trade Mark Clearing House (here’s how to get one), then you can have the privilege of paying $2,499.00 to own www.SuperDuperCookieCuties.SUCKS. Aside from keeping it out of the hands of your biggest rival (SuperSuperDuper Cookie CutiePatooties?), you can use the domain name for anything you like – a customer service forum, to redirect to your real site, or as a location for your feedback form.
And every year you own it, your .sucks domain name will cost you $249. It’s pricey, but maybe not as pricey as your nemesis mucking with your reputation.
OK, But What If I Want to Use a .SUCKS Name to Push for Social Change?
How about Puddles.SUCK or BeeStings.SUCK or StaleCookies.SUCK or TrafficJams.SUCK? You can buy those too, for just $9.99 under the “Consumer Advocate Subsidy” – but you can’t use them to build your own web site. They will automatically redirect to a consumer forum, part of the oddly-advertised do-gooder tack being taken by Vox Populi, who won the right to sell these domains. You can watch the video for it below:
Essentially, you’ll pay $9.99 a year to have a public forum to discuss your pet peeve.
All the information on pricing and setup for this domain is available at https://www.nic.sucks/. The deadline for Trademark holders to have first dibs on the .SUCKS domain names for their organizations has been extended to June 19. After that, it’s up to you whether you want to risk the domain name’s availability, or invest in some CYA.
Not sure what to do? This is a job for marketing and PR, and Arka Pana is a great place to start. Once you have a plan, let us know if we can help you build the site you need to not…well…suck. Reach out to us onTwitter or Facebook or via email.