June 18, 2012
LifeChurch.tv Wants to Own .Church Domain
Should one ministry control all ".Church" URLs?
No other church has been more innovative online than the Oklahoma-based LifeChurch.tv. With over 40 online services each week, as well as a virtual campus in Second Life, the megachurch has seen digital communication as a key to its influence and mission. LifeChurch.tv was also the team behind the free YouVersion Bible app that has become one of the most downloaded apps on iTunes.
Now the church is seeking to pioneer a new online frontier. LifeChurch.tv has officially applied to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for ownership of the .church domain name. If successful, LifeChurch.tv would control the distribution of all .church domains worldwide.
Bobby Gruenewald, Innovation Leader at LifeChurch.tv said:
"When people are searching for answers, one of the first places they go is online. Exploring matters of faith is no exception, and many individuals experience a church's website before they ever step through its doors. There are countless examples of the church creatively utilizing technology to maximize its ministry. The '.church' extension is another way the church can meet people where they are in this digital era."
Responding to the news about its ICANN application for .church, LifeChurch.tv said:
"First of all, the '.church' extension will help churches label who they are without awkward URLs that are difficult to type or remember. Secondly, the new extension will help those searching about faith online to easily see which sites are ministry-related. With the '.church' label, churches and ministries will be able to stand apart from government entities, corporations and other organizations and allow individuals searching to clearly find what they need.”
.Church is not the only new domain that will be introduced in the coming years. Applications have been received for others including .bank, .green, .pizza, .auto and .dentist. Reports say each application costs about $185,000. Soon the web will have dozens of industry-specific domains. Of course those who own each domain are positioned to profit from controlling their use and fee-based distribution.
If the application is approved, any church or ministry desiring a .church web address would have to seek approval from LifeChurch.tv. But Gruenewald said they are not interested in profiting from fees.
LifeChurch.tv has a history of producing digital tools, like the YouVersion app, and giving them away for free. As one pastor noted, "It seems they would control the market on it, but knowing LifeChurch's history, I don't think they are looking at it for the purpose of financial profit, I'm glad they are going after it because they are very Kingdom-minded. They are good people to control it."
For more information about LifeChurch.tv’s application go to: http://dotchurch.org/.