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Over the past few days questions have arisen around three issues:
  • The new generic top-level Internet domains, and whether colleges and universities should consider them,
  • The upcoming "adult" .xxx domain, and whether it's possible to prevent college and university names from being used therein, and
  • the one-per-institution rule for .edu.
I've just posted some notes on the first two issues -- you can retrieve them at http://tinyurl.com/3avkux5. In general, we believe that few institutions will want to assume the cost and administrative burden of their own top-level domains, and it's not possible to "block" a domain without taking on that burden. Similarly, it's possible to block use of some .xxx domains, but only in very narrow circumstances (explicit violation of a precise trademark).

On the third issue, I thought it might be worth pointing out that the one-per rule is dictated by the Cooperative Agreement with the US Department of Commerce under which EDUCAUSE administers .edu. We're not permitted to change the rules without Commerce's approval. Thus far Commerce has stuck by the one-per rule, although we raise it with them periodically. (Some institutions were assigned more than one domain before the one-per rule took effect, in 2001; those "extra" domains are grandfathered.)

Please let me know if we can provide any further information.

--

Gregory A Jackson
Vice President for Policy & Analysis

Uncommon Thinking for the Common Good
gjackson@educause.edu
(direct) 1-202-331-5351
http://gjackson.us
1150 18th Street NW #900, Washington DC 20036
1-202-872-4200 (main)
http://educause.edu
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

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Comments

Greg,

 

Regarding the one-domain-per rule, yes, that’s helpful to know.  But why does the Department of Commerce see the need for this limitation?  Shouldn’t they listen to Educause about this matter?

 

Thanks for your participation in this discussion.

 

-          Trevor

 

Trevor A. Wallis
Vice President of Campus Technology

Chief Information Officer

Southern Seminary
2825 Lexington Road
Louisville, KY 40280

Phone: 502.897.4193
Fax: 502.897.4125
twallis@sbts.edu

 

Don't be a phishing victim – Southern Seminary and other reputable organizations will never use email to ask for your password, social security number or confidential personal information.  

 

 

One reason the one-per rule persists is that Commerce has always wanted to treat .edu somewhat differently than other TLDs such as .com, .org, and the like, where organizations can easily acquire and "own" multiple domains as their marketing needs dictate. In particular, .edu domains are assigned rather than "sold", and the idea is that the domain, as opposed to its subdomains, serves to identify an institution rather than to market its diverse programs and services. That is, the one-per rule was originally intended to minimize confusion. Of course it's often had the opposite effect, and as a result there's been a fair bit of name changing, all of which adds more confusion. No one, including Commerce, is terribly happy with how things currently stand, especially given the several hundred grandfathered multiple domains.

Another reason stems from the difficulty defining fair rules and procedures to decide who gets how many domains if the rule isn't one-per. Should, for example, "second" domains be allowed that identify sub-units rather than entire institutions. (My previous employer got one such by accident, whereby the business school got its own domain -- clerical error at Verisign before EDUCAUSE took over. Then of course the law school and the economics department wanted their own.) Who would decide? Should the number of allowed domains vary with institutional size? One advantage of one-per, at least in principle, is that it's a bright-line criterion.

The problem, in short, is how to get from where we are to a situation which is clearly better. All that said, we'll continue to raise the issue, along with other issues. We've had some welcome support from Commerce for dealing with some misleading uses of grandfathered domains, and so we're hopeful that there will be some useful policy discussions with Commerce in the coming year.

On 8/29/2011 1:52 PM, Trevor Wallis wrote:
Regarding the one-domain-per rule, yes, that’s helpful to know.  But why does the Department of Commerce see the need for this limitation?  Shouldn’t they listen to Educause about this matter?

--

Gregory A Jackson
Vice President for Policy & Analysis

Uncommon Thinking for the Common Good
gjackson@educause.edu
(direct) 1-202-331-5351
http://gjackson.us
1150 18th Street NW #900, Washington DC 20036
1-202-872-4200 (main)
http://educause.edu
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Thanks, Greg!  That’s very informative.  If there is anything we can do to support progress in this area, please post to this list.  I suspect I’m not the only CIO who is pestered for more .EDU domain names.

 

Thanks again,

 

Trevor

 

Trevor A. Wallis
Vice President of Campus Technology

Chief Information Officer

Southern Seminary
2825 Lexington Road
Louisville, KY 40280

Phone: 502.897.4193
Fax: 502.897.4125
twallis@sbts.edu

 

Don't be a phishing victim – Southern Seminary and other reputable organizations will never use email to ask for your password, social security number or confidential personal information.  

 

 

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