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.family 2013

According to a recent New York Times piece by Matt Richtel marriages in much of the world rarely last much longer than a decade or so. He suggests that marriage itself probably needs an “overhaul” in the form of limited marriage contracts between 5 and 20 years.  A  law proposing short-term renewable marriage contracts was recently considered in Mexico City and though that particular law did not pass, what it tells us is that short-term marriage contracts are in the future for many couples. These contracts likely already exist in Hollywood: at least that is the skuttlebut on Tom Cruise’s and Katie Holmes’ surprisingly non-pyrotechnic divorce. They knew it was coming the same day they said “I (sort of) do!”

This accepted anemic state of marriage also spells a boon for one of the new proposed generic Top Level Domains (gTLD) now offered by ICANN : Google’s proposed .family gTLD.   It also means that in 2013, when the .family comes online, there will be some new and exciting opportunities available for web designers and web hosting.  Here’s how:

Since nuclear families are having difficulty lasting for more than a few years, keeping families coherent and connected is also becoming vastly more complex and problematic. Perhaps part of the reason most marriages end before their tenth year is that nuclear families simply slip entirely out of orbit from their extended families and then dissolve. But let’s face it, even if Mommy-Daddy-Me families don’t last long, genes are forever.  And the wild wild web might just help that state.  The .family gTld would provide the ideal domain for developing platforms to give each extended family diaspora a way to stay connected.  Get the family app for your Android and your Ipad. See the folks right between Angry Birds and Twitter:  Mobile phones, mobile devices, mobile families.  Remember, Michael Lock VP Americas Google Enterprise was absolutely clear at Cloud Slam 2012:  if a platform isn’t mobile it isn’t worth the investment. “Mobile fam could someone PayPal me a few bucks? Rent’s due, lov U – Jim”

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A .family gTLD would be a tremendous benefit for families trying to maintain coherency between continents and might even help some marriages succeed or at least manage dissolution more effectively. Planning family gatherings or even attending virtual family reunions, weddings, funerals, etc, would be easy and less stressful. .Family websites would help families find out if someone is sick or needs a bone marrow transplant, a kidney, or perhaps reconnect runaways or family members who have found themselves homeless.  Just click the “who’s sick” tab or the “knocked up” tab or the “who’s not speaking to whom” tab.  Know your own family drama 24/7…from a distance. The point is, the needs of families –spread across the world– to connect are enormous, and no doubt various web-hosting groups would be able to host and help create web sites for families who want a single family internet address, with dedicated email.  One can imagine all sorts of family web sites meeting the needs of all sorts of families. The websites would be as diverse as the families themselves.

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Of course there are the old TLD work horses .com and .org, .biz and .xxx, none of which seem to quite fit the bill–the latter two in particular (one hopes!).  And there are a variety of closed TLDs, including .edu and .gov  but the new proposal to ICANN for  generic “.family” has arrived just in time.  This is exactly what Google knew on June 13, 2012 when they submitted their gTLD application to ICANN through their subsidiary, Charleston Road Registry Inc. In fact, under the name of Charleston Road Registry Inc., Google has so far applied for 101 gTLDs. Google created Charleston to chew up a bunch of new gTLDs, and they project that if all goes well .family will be available sometime in 2013.

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According to Charleston/Google’s proposal, their .family generic Top Level Domain (gTLD):

“ will provide the marketplace with direct association to the term, ʺfamily.ʺ  The mission of this gTLD, .family, is to provide a dedicated domain space in which registrants can enact second-level domains that provide content relevant to the term ʺfamily,ʺ including but not limited to families, parenting, family life, famous families and⁄or family history.  This mission will enhance consumer choice by providing new availability in the second-level domain space, creating new layers of organization on the Internet, and signaling the kind of content available in the domain.  Charleston Road Registry believes that registrants will find value in associating with this gTLD, which could have a vast array of purposes for businesses, organizations or individuals seeking to associate with the term ʺfamily.ʺ   Charleston Road Registry expects these uses may include but are not limited to individual family registrants (smiths.family), industry (travel.family), and businesses seeking to market to families (brand.family).”

Carmine.family:  A new web site for our entire family…especially all my rich uncles, and my wife of course will be Web Master!

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Emily Cantin researched, co-authored and created original artwork for this article.

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