Early Access Period (EAP) for .gay starts on September 8, 2020. General Availability (GA) is on September 16, 2020.
Here is the complete .gay launch plan provided by Top Level Design:
Premium Names Explained
Not all domain names are created equal. Generally speaking, domains that are short or contain keywords with strong SEO and/or branding potential are more valuable. These “premium domains” were designated by us at the registry, and our registrar partners sell them at various price points depending on their own retail markup.
For instance, travel.gay is an example of a very valuable premium name. We know that travel is a large, global industry and that LGBTQ travelers are not only sought-after clientele, but have unique considerations such as their personal safety when booking travel. Thus, you can imagine that many businesses, from big companies to small companies, would be interested in a domain like travel.gay to reach LGBTQ customers. Thus, it has a higher cost than a domain like travelnyc.gay or travelsafe.gay. Both of those examples are still great domain names, but they are not as universally sought-after, and therefore they are “non-premium” domains.
Our premium names have a matching registration and renewal fee, meaning that the higher price is not just one-time but is an annual fee. This system has the benefit of deterring domain investing, where one person would register many .gay names only to sit on them until they can resell them at a much higher rate. In this way, the domains are often more readily available for individuals and small businesses that want to actually build .gay websites, rather than sit on a valuable name.
Early Access Period (EAP) Explained [September 8 – 15]
It is exciting any time a new domain extension launches because nearly any domain you can think of is available. Everyone old enough to remember the early days of .com has heard someone say something like, “If only I had registered mcdonalds.com back in the day.” The implication is clear: the earlier you secure domains, the better.
So, as we open up the entirety of .gay to both individuals and businesses, some will specifically be seeking out the most valuable names. The only way to fairly maximize this interest is to have an auction, of sorts.
The “Early Access Period” (EAP) is a Dutch Auction. A Dutch Auction refers to an auction that moves from a high price to a lower price until a buyer is found. This means that each day there is an additional, one-time fee and that it lessens each day over the course of a week, at which point EAP and its extra fees end.
Let’s continue to use the example travel.gay, as it is indeed a very good domain name. You can imagine that both a major airline as well as a major hotel company could be interested in travel.gay. If the hotel company is REALLY interested, then they would either place a pre-order or register live on the first day of EAP. Assuming nobody else does that, and the competing airline company was waiting in hopes of getting it later in EAP or on the first day of GA, then the hotel company would successfully register travel.gay, paying a one-time fee on top of the premium cost of travel.gay so they can beat everyone else out.
General Availability (GA) Explained [September 16]
Finally, on September 16th at 15:00 UTC (11 am Eastern; 8 am Pacific), all available .gay domains will be made first-come, first-served, and remain that way. It’s our official launch day, and the first day of General Availability (GA)!
If the .gay domain you want is not likely to be highly sought after (unlike travel.gay), and if your business plan isn’t dependent on having that exact domain name, then you can likely wait until GA to register rather than worry about EAP. BUT, you should still consider placing a pre-order before GA so that you do not need to wait at your computer, refresh, search, add to cart, create an account, and race through checkout to register your .gay domain!
You can participate in the EAP and GA phases live, on the day they are occurring, OR you could place a pre-order for one of those phases. You would need to determine how important and valuable the domain is to you, and whether or not paying extra in EAP is worth it to ensure that you beat out the competition. Regardless, if you know you want the domain, you should place a pre-order for either EAP or GA, because then there is no need to sit at your computer on your preferred acquisition day.
Not all companies offer pre-orders, but many do. Of those doing pre-orders, some are only focused on GA pre-orders and others also offer EAP pre-orders. It depends on the registrar. We’ve done our best to organize your options here and will work with our registrar partners to ensure this information is updated should their plans change.
Some registrars will charge you now for your pre-order, and others will charge you only once they acquire the name on your behalf. Regardless, all registrars will try at the exact instant that .gay is available to register all their pre-orders. Obviously only one instance of any domain can be successfully registered, and so if there is a competing pre-order from another registrar, then one will get the domain and the other will not. This does not depend on which person placed their pre-order first, but which registrar is able to get the domain first. We expect that refunds would be provided should you not get the domain, or that you would be charged only if the name is registered per your pre-order. However, payment and terms depend on the registrar, and you should understand their policies as you place your pre-order with your chosen registrar.