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The Internet battle for .bible

  • read.thebible.JPG

    Could the Vatican control the .bible domain name?

  • Beyond Dot-Com AP 2.jpg

    June 8, 2012: A domain name poster is displayed at the offices of Artemis Internet, an NCC Group Company in San Francisco. Some 2,000 proposals have been submitted as part of the largest expansion of the Internet address system since its creation in the 1980s. These suffixes would rival ".com" and about 250 others now in use. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Beyond dot Com AP.jpg

    June 8, 2012: Alex Stamos CTO of Artemis Internet, an NCC Group Company, poses by a domain name poster at their offices in San Francisco. Some 2,000 proposals have been submitted as part of the largest expansion of the Internet address system since its creation in the 1980s. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

How will faith be presented on the Internet?

Recent moves by the ruling body that oversees the Internet have allowed for the most dramatic expansion in the Internet since it was created: an almost limitless number of top-level domains are now possible, to join the classics such as .com, .edu and .net.

"I respectfully ask you not to award .bible to a bunch of hardcore Bible-thumpers.'

But that expansion has led to feuding over certain loaded religious words and terminology. Should the Catholic Church automatically control the .catholic domain? What if the church hasn’t applied, perhaps balking at the whopping $185,000 submission fee?

Apparently, the geeks at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) won’t be consulting the Gospels to decide who can have such domains.

"We don't look into whether the Vatican has the right to the .catholic name," Akram Atallah, interim head of ICANN, told Reuters. "Hopefully, the process will get to a conclusion that is satisfying to the majority."

According to the news agency, as soon as ICANN began accepting applications for such domains in June, bids came in for extensions such as .catholic, .islam and .bible. Not far behind were critics who challenged whether any one applicant can own such a loaded domain -- and potentially monopolize its usage.

"I respectfully ask you not to award .bible to a bunch of hardcore Bible-thumpers," wrote one critic of an application by the American Bible Society to manage that extension, Reuters said.

How New Domains Will Work

APPLICATIONS: Applicants had to answer 50 questions by May 30. 

COST: Each application cost $185,000. If approved, fees run to $25,000 a year.

CHALLENGES: The public had 60 days to comment on trademark violations or offensive items.

REVIEW: ICANN will review each application to make sure its financial plan is sound, which could take up to 20 months.

LAUNCH: Once approved, the applicant must set up procedures for registering names and computers to keep track of them.

Questioning a Turkish IT company's bid for the .islam domain, Fahd Batayneh of Jordan's National Information Technology Center asked how it could ensure no pornographers or Muslim extremists would use names with this ending?

Not all religions or religious groups have gotten involved just yet. For example, no group has thrown a hat (or yarmulke) in the ring to claim the .jewish domain. Likewise, .buddhist and .hindu are at present unclaimed.

First results in this 21st century land grab are due next summer.