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April 12, 2013

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg and Top Tech Leaders Launch New Political Action Site on .US Domain

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg and some of the world's top tech leaders, representing companies including Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, PayPal and Cisco and many others, has launched a new bipartisan political advocacy group called Forward U.S. that has set up shop on the domain FWD.us.

Zuckerberg wrote about the joint effort to keep the American workforce competitive in the 

global marketplace in an op-ed piece he penned for the Washington Post. Zuckerberg made it clear that immigration reform and support for education would be the first issues the organization will tackle. 

Zuckerberg, whose grandparents came through Ellis Island, wrote "My parents are doctors. I started a company. None of this could have happened without a welcoming immigration policy, a great education system and the world’s leading scientific community that created the Internet. Today’s students should have the same opportunities — but our current system blocks them. We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants. And it’s a policy unfit for today’s world."

Josh Constine has a very good article at TechCrunch.com today detailing who all of the players in the Forward U.S. effort are, what their goals are and how they plan to reach them. Constine noted, "Beyond immigration, FWD.us plans to campaign for policies that will produce more math, science, and technology graduates, and ensure every child gains a great education from high-quality teachers in accountable schools."

Domainers will find the choice of FWD.us as the powerful group's home base to be an interesting sidelight. While .US, as America's country code, is a perfect fit for the organization's mission, these kinds of groups typically choose .org or .com domains. Though it may not have been part of their educational plan, it's likely that many average citizens will learn about the American ccTLD for the first time by virtue of Forward U.S.'s use of the extension.

I found it interesting that the group didn't find it necessary to elaborate on its .US address - the assumption apparently being that people will recognize it as a web address and no further explanation is needed. If more Americans see it the same way, that vote of confidence will give their country's TLD a welcome boost.

Given the Zuckerberg group's name, I did wonder why they didn't go after the exact match Forward.us domain rather than an acronym (one would assume money would be no object to this group of players). However, a WhoIs search showed that Forward.us, though currently inactive, is owned by the State of Wisconsin who may have other plans for it. If they don't, it would be nice if Forward U.S. could get the name, or at least have Wisconsin re-direct it to the FWD.us site. After all, the group's efforts to create more and better American jobs could benefit Wisconsin and the rest of the country greatly, given the amazing line up of tech powerhouses supporting the initiative.

(Posted April 11, 2013)

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