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March 16, 2009

What's in a (domain) name?


By now, most of us who use the web regularly are familiar with .com, .org and .net.

The technical term for these useful extensions is "generic top-level domains (gTLDs)." Besides the well-known ones above, there are also some less well-known gTLDs such as .tv, .info and various country-specific domains.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is currently deliberating whether to add another set of gTLDs for religious web sites, such as .anglican, .catholic .buddhist, .muslim, .hindu, etc.

The Vatican's representative to ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee, has issued a memo to ICANN suggesting that such top-level domains "could provoke competing claims among theological and religious traditions." (Incidentally, because it's a city-state, The Vatican already has its own country-specific gTLD, .va.)

For Lutherans, this debate begs the question: Who would own .lutheran? The Lutheran church is a global church, with many branches. In the U.S. alone, there are three major Lutheran church bodies. Then there's the Lutheran World Federation and Lutheran church bodies in just about every country imaginable.

So ... what's in a (domain) name? Would your congregation adopt a .lutheran domain?

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