I posted this comment in response to Rhizome.org's article Internet Real Estate, Art and Power: The cases of Artsy and .art, which downplays the amount of fear and loathing there has been on the subject of the ".art" domain:
Are "new speculative opportunities as dizzying as those of Zola’s 19th-century Paris" a good thing? Bad? Pure hype? Orit Gat's article takes no position on e-Flux's attempt to corner the ".art" domain. An organization taking its name from a diffuse, rhizomatic conception of the Web might just say "whoa, wait a minute" to plans to have a single organization acting as gatekeeper for all of art. If this goes through will Rhizome move to Rhizome.art? What happens to all the artists on Facebook and their "like" economy? Isn't deviantart.com actually more of a democratic conception of art than e-Flux's insider-y mailing list?
Some of these topics were discussed on Paddy Johnson's and my blogs a year ago. See links below. In reply to being called out as a would-be gatekeeper, e-Flux's Anton Vidokle replied "we are not planning to curate the art domain." Is a gatekeeper the same as a curator? All one has to do is say "yes you are art" or "no you aren't art." I wouldn't call that curating but I'd call it gatekeeping.
Also, how about a little skepticism regarding ICANN's claims that the new top level domains will change the face of the internet? Vidokle thinks they will. Others have called TLDs a Mafia-like shakedown of nervous web businesses. Vidokle is paying $185,000 just to bid for the domain. That should make any art-lover nervous. "Trust the Party - we have the best of intentions for your art."
Update: Apologies to Orit Gat for misspelling her name in the (uneditable) Rhizome comment.