Duelling Latin American gTLD Proposals Gain Curious Bedfellows

UPDATE: LACNIC has advised the proposal for .LAC is a possible fraud and they are investigating commencing legal actions.

It may not be as sexy as .XXX, but the proposed .LAC generic Top Level Domain for Latin America and the Caribbean has opened for free pre-registration with the grand total of nine pre-registrations with an anticipated launch date of mid-2012. But there is an earlier proposal for a gTLD for the Latin American and the Caribbean region – .LAT – with many of the same supporters and board members.

The idea of a gTLD for Latin America and the Caribbean is similar in many ways to the existing .EU and .ASIA TLDs and also to the proposed .AFRICA, the latter having competing organisations proposing to bid for the gTLD.

Within Latin America and the Caribbean, the proposal for a continent-wide gTLD has the support from many in the industry who believe it will be beneficial for uniting a continent largely united by language, but often by little else.

But to be successful, it is likely there will need to be agreement and cooperation between the regional internet organisations – LACTLD (Latin America and Caribbean Top Level Domain association), LACNIC (Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry) and eCOM-LAC (Latin American Federation and Caribbean for Internet and Electronic Commerce).

The proposals for a gTLD encompassing Latin American and the Caribbean is facing competition with proposals for both a .LAT and .LAC with both proposals having some of the same board members and representatives.

The .LAT proposal appears to have technical support from the .MX registry whose CEO, Oscar Robles, is the president of LACTLD and on the board of LACNIC. On the .LAT website, it is noted that eCOM-LAC in partnership with NIC Mexico will shortly release a proposal to apply for .LAT.

However there is another crossover of interests with the president of eCOM-LAC, Oscar Messano, also being the president of LACNIC.

Meanwhile both gTLD proposals have the same treasurer – the Brazilian registry. And the El Salvadorian registry has representatives on the boards for both proposed gTLDs.

It seems there are some who do not want to appear to miss out and are wanting to guarantee their involvement no matter which proposal is successful.

But the .LAC proposal has tried to get a jump on .LAT with pre-registrations commencing. At the time of writing there were nine pre-registrations, these being news.lac, holiday.lac, jamaica.lac, internet.lac, fangdigital.lac, dealmob.lac, domain.lac, united-domains.lac and uniteddomains.lac.

Pre-registration for the proposed gTLD is being handled by United Domains, an existing registrar that supports over 1.4 million domain names for more than 250,000 clients.