.gov Explosion: Domain Names After the Bailout

By Mark Skoultchi

March 26, 2009

No doubt most of our country’s ignominious government bailout recipients are rethinking their brands right about now. I’ve read a few articles on how various AIG business units are trying to distance themselves from their flailing parent. The naming consultant in me wants to offer a friendly suggestion to help smooth the transition to nationalization. I think any company that is now partially owned by the government (dare I say, the American tax-payer?) should have to switch their domain name from .com to .gov. IMHO, AIG.gov has a nice ring to it. Citi.gov? GM.gov?

To what end? Well for one thing, it is a more accurate description of their status. Originally, .com was supposed to reference business who emphasized commerce. Since GM looses thousands of dollars on every car it sells, and AIG’s collapse has wreaked havoc on everyone’s ability to conduct commerce, it seems only logical to strip those kinds of companies of any reference to commerce or commercial activity.

Actually, since it seems these companies are now IN THE BUSINESS OF ASKING FOR HANDOUTS. Maybe .gov is too kind. Maybe these folks should have to switch to .org domains. I wonder if GM could apply for non-profit status. Now there’s a thought.

Or, since these guys all need to go back to school to learn how to manage a business, perhaps .edu is more in order? “GM.edu: where you can learn how to turn around more than your car.”

So many options — all more logical than allowing them to continue the charade of a sponsoring a .com site.

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