Vatican Gets New .Catholic Top-Level Domain

As the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) started to roll out their new top-level domains, one surprising applicant was none other than the Vatican. In acquiring the new top-level domain .catholic, the church will now have the ability to control access for those looking to register domain names using the .catholic domain extension. This move by the church is an effort to ensure that Internet users can be certain that the websites that they are visiting are canonically recognized organizations.

Top-Level Domain Roll Out

New top-level domains (TLDs) are an effort on behalf of ICANN to provide more flexibility for those looking to register and find domains on the Internet. While some of the new TLDs will be general like .eco and .health, other TLDs will be specific to particular organizations. This move on behalf of ICANN has started a flurry of requests from major companies and organizations to snatch up their relevant TLDs. One of the first to do this, surprisingly, was the Catholic church, which registered .catholic in four languages.

The New .catholic Top-Level Domain

After being granted the top-level domain, the Vatican now has the exclusive ability to allow individual organizations or groups to register domain names with the .catholic suffix. The church has stated that individual bloggers and websites will not be allowed to register, as this domain extension is to be reserved only for those organizations with canonical recognition. By doing this, the Vatican can ensure that users are visiting only official sites that have been approved by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. This organization will be able to approve or decline requests to join to register a domain with the .catholic extension based on their official connection with the church.

Who Can Register?

Organizations with recognition from the church are seen as those with direct ties to the Vatican. These organizations can range from local dioceses and parishes, to schools and hospitals. Their connection with the Catholic church must be official in order to achieve recognition under the .catholic domain. Due to the strict application requirements, users looking for official church websites can be certain that they have reached one under this new TLD.

Estimated Timeline

After initial speculation that the church would roll out the .catholic TLD in October, representatives have stated that there is much more work to be done before anything can get started. The Vatican wants to ensure that it has covered all of its bases by signing contracts, conducting extensive testing, and ensuring the process for applications is in place and sound. Once the church launches the new TLD, it is likely that a flood of domain registration requests will start to pour in from various Catholic organizations and parishes.

The Catholic church is only one of many organizations and companies scrambling to snatch up these new top-level domains. As we begin to enter a new age of the Internet, no one really knows what impact these new top-level domains are going to have. What is certain, though, is that organizations and companies are investing a significant amount of money in trying to get these new dotbrands.

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