In 2018 Afnic, best known as the registry operator for
France’s ccTLD .fr, was designated by the Paris-based International Council of
Museums (ICOM) as the backend registry provider for .museum. There are changes
happening as a result of the change, not least being to increase .museum’s use
and adoption, thus supporting the digital transformation of museums.
According to Afnic estimates, in 2016 only 38% of museums or
related organisations in the world had a website.
So for the past year Afnic has been working in close
conjunction with ICOM to set the criteria for allocating .museum domain names,
as well as their distribution and pricing conditions in order to accelerate the
access to digital technology of museum institutions and promote the adoption of
There are three main changes happening. The first is a relaxation
of eligibility rules. Now any museum or museum professional (curator, chief
librarian, etc.) or anyone with an interest in a museum can register a .museum
domain name. It is no longer required that they be a member of ICOM, as was the
case beforehand. For example, a fan of the Prado Museum can create a website
with a .museum internet address. There are plenty of opportunities. Afnic note
an Artprice study in 2017 that says 700 world-class museums open each year.
Second, Afnic is overseeing a widening of the registrar
network for .museum with there currently being 23 registrars globally as
opposed to 3 at the end of 2018.
And thirdly and very importantly for many cash-strapped
museums is a major reduction in the registry fee charged to registrars. It’s
expected the average registration fee will be around €60 per year, whereas
previously it was around €200.
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