It's not just .com and .org anymore—have you registered your .health website?

dotHealth, an internet registry company, last week opened up registration for the .health domain name to qualified entities in the health care industry, in the hopes of establishing the name as a reliable, standardized reference for health products, services, and information.

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Domain details

According to dotHealth officials, the domain is intended to be used by the health care industry as a way to indicate a website is a legitimate source of health information. "We want to create a focused and meaningful space for health information," said Jose Rasco, the CEO of dotHealth. "This is a new industry standard for health information online."

To ensure the legitimacy of .health websites, the dotHealth team said they worked with an advisory committee of health and technology experts to establish "stringent terms and policies that ensure the integrity of the extension and deter misuse." Rasco said, "Our goal is for the information our customers present to be credible." He added, "Our terms and conditions reinforce that mission."

According to Health Leaders Media, dotHealth launched the new domain in a phased rollout:  

  1. Between May 8 and July 7, entities that currently hold a trademark in Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' Trademark Clearinghouse were allowed to apply for a .health domain;
  2. Between July 20 and Nov. 30, qualified health industry brands, organizations, and individuals are able to apply for single-use registry tokens, which can then be taken to any participating registrar to register a .health domain; and
  3. On Dec. 5, dotHealth will open registration to anyone who meets dotHealth's terms and conditions.

Who's applying

According to Modern Healthcare, 287 entities applied for .health domain names this year, including Mayo Clinic, United Healthcare, Apple, and Facebook—even Taylor Swift. "We have no idea (what she'll do with the domain), but we hope she'll put it to good use," Rasco said.

Sara Rowghani—VP of marketing for Oscar Health, which also applied for a .health domain—said the company was seeking a .health domain because the extension offers "increased credibility, trust, and accessibility [to] our website visitors." Similarly, Michael Docktor—clinical lead for launching www.caremap.health, a dual effort between Boston Children's Hospital and Duke Health—said ".health is a really relevant domain to the work we do. ... It really clearly states what the intent and mission are."

According to Rasco, some companies, such as Matter, a health care technology incubator in Chicago, are using the .health domain to rebrand themselves. Rasco said the company changed its website from www.matterchicago.com to www.matter.health—reflecting an effort to broaden the company's reach beyond Chicago. "They're a great example of a complete rebrand," Rasco said.

"While education has .edu and organizations have .org, there has never been an identifiable place people could go for focused, meaningful health information online," Rasco said. "Searching for health information is the 3rd most common online activity, so we're excited to address this problem and have .health be the home for health online" (Greene, The Next Web, 7/21; Arndt, Modern Healthcare, 7/20; Wilson Pecci, Health Leaders Media, 3/28).

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