February 7, 2014, 2:26 PM

‘.Ski’ web domain makes an Olympic entrance

Registry operator Starting Dot has unveiled the Internet address ending, though it won’t be available for purchase until July. Starting Dot and the International Ski Federation will moderate how .ski is used on the web.

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July and its beach vacations, outdoor grilling and distinct sunscreen scents could perhaps not feel any further away right now for most of the country. But Internet domain name registry operator Starting Dot wants to make sure that, when the summer months arrive, ski enthusiasts, resorts and retailers remember the excitement of Sochi, Russia’s snow-covered slopes—and purchase a .ski web address.

Paris-based Starting Dot this week unveiled the web address ending, announcing the International Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, has approved .ski availability for public use. ICANN is a nonprofit organization that coordinates the names and numbers making up web addresses. In 2013, it began approving a new batchof web domains—the terms after final the “dot” in a web address, like “.com”—to be deployed online.

The .ski domain name could be used by a retailer or brand like outdoor sports gear seller Columbia Sportswear Co., for example, to create a web site dedicated specifically to ski gear at Columbia.ski. A spokesman for Columbia says it is too early to comment on whether it might consider using the domain name.

Moosejaw Mountaineering, which also sells apparel and gear for outdoor sports, is not likely to purchase a .ski web address, or any other new web domains, says CEO Eoin Comerford. “As the owner of a URL that’s over 19 years old, we see limited value in these new domains,” he says. “Some may see them as a way to differentiate sub-sites, but we’ve really had that ability with subdomains for a long time—would a customer really see a big difference between www.moosejaw.ski and ski.moosejaw.com?”

Any organization or individual will be allowed to purchase a .ski web address starting in July 2014, Starting Dot says. The domain name will be available from at least 20 registars, which are the companies that market web domains to end users, for example, 1&1 Internet Inc., Name.com and MailClub S.A.S. Starting Dot recommends they sell .ski domains for 59 euros (about $80), a spokeswoman for the company says.

Starting Dot and the International Ski Federation will regulate the use of .ski by checking all .ski web addresses annually, she says. For example, they won’t allow the domain to be affiliated with any people or businesses related to doping or racism, she says. A web site that has nothing to do with skiing might also be considered an inappropriate use of .ski.

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