Domain name dash takes it to .church

LifeChurch.tv, the high-tech megachurch out of Oklahoma, entered the domain-name competition Wednesday, ponying up the $185,000 application fee in an effort to lay claim to .church as the Web faces a massive expansion of domains.

But executive pastor Bobby Gruenewald, whose LifeChurch title is innovation leader, says the goal is not to profit from controlling the domain with fees for listing rights but to make Internet outreach easier and more accessible.

LifeChurch.tv broadcasts Web worship services online to 15 locations in Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Florida and New York. It also has set up a free Bible app for mobil devices and offers resources to 100,000 pastors — “our target market for dot.church.”

Still, Gruenewald says, the domain would be open to all. The application defines “church” as “anyone of similar religious beliefs.”

All? As in the church of I-faithful-play-basketball-on-Sunday-mornings. Or maybe the Church of Scientology?

“Wide open,” Gruenewald reiterated. “We’re not trying to define beliefs or doctrine that people would have to agree upon. This is not an effort to make it exclusive to any type of belief,” he says, just as .com and .org are wide open.

Head to USA Today for the rest of the story.

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