.Art is a new top-level domain created by venture investor Ulvi Kasimov through his company UK Creative Ideas Limited (UKCI), which has an exclusive agreement with ICANN, the internet regulating body.
The .Art website suggests that the domain will become “the ultimate signifier of ‘belonging’ to the art world”, and that the business model is “built around extracting value from words; the shorter and more popular the word, the greater the value. We are selling a unique alchemy of key words.”
Based around core values of “inspiring, connecting and educating”, .ART’s long term goal is to “collaborate with the artistic and cultural community to invent new and exciting digital services in the name of art and creativity.
In a press release announcing that the domain has now reached its General Availabilty (GA) stage, the TATE, Louvre, Sotheby’s, the Marina Abramović Institute, Beyoncé, Banksy, the Fondation Cartier, BMW, and Google, Apple and Whatsapp are all listed as early adopters to have joined the domain, alongside many other prestigious names form the worlds of art, fashion, and luxury brands.
According to the release, .ART domains can either be bought as a personal identity i.e. the name of an individual or organisation, which are sold at a standard price, or through an inventory of 3.5m words or word combinations.
These are priced “individually by a big data mathematical algorithm” that helps to predict what a user may be prepared to pay for such a name, rather than “what cyber squatters could be spending on it.”
The release adds that the intention is not to sell every word or name, but merely to “appropriately value them”.
A personal identity registration price starts at $15, and it is expected that 90% of the inventory will be sold at a price of between $50-$300 dollars.
Says Kasimov: “Most registrations have come from real people and institutions establishing their active presence on .ART. We know that parents are buying .ART names for their children, so they can develop their creative identities from an early age.”
“How we identify ourselves is a fundamental part of communications. .ART helps everyone creative to identify, express, be found and connect, all within an online ecosystem.”
Even crowdfunding site Kickstarter has launched its own .Art domain, as a way to “speak directly with the arts community in a more targeted and focused way.”
In a testimonial, Lev Evzovich, “E” of Russian art collective AES+F, reveals that “reactions are very positive, because everything is.COM or something else, but art must be .ART.”
The domain first launched on 7th December 2016, and after the General Availability was announced on the 10th May, 3,000 domains were purchased within the space of 24 hours, with 95% being standard names of people or organisations, and the rest belonging to the .ART inventory of names and word combinations.
The first name sold was HappyArt.Art, whilst other names purchased included Invaluable.art, and Moleskinefoundation,Art, whilst the most expensive was MyLove.Art, which is worth over $9,000, according to a post on the .Art site.
Much like art itself, the concept can be hard to get your head around, and throws up all kinds of questions, not the least of which is commercial in nature.