Taylor Swift is a pop star and a Diet Coke spokesperson. She's a gossip-mag favorite, and she's a Kanye West lyric. One thing she's not is a healthcare professional. But that didn't stop her from applying for taylorswift.health, a website registered with the recently launched .health domain extension.
She was just one of 287, including Apple and Facebook, who applied for sites ending in .health earlier this year. But the domain isn't just for Instagram-ready celebrities and companies seeking world dominance—it's for healthcare brands, as the company that manages the domain, dotHealth, opens registration to the healthcare industry Thursday.
DotHealth intends the top-level domain extension to be used by the healthcare industry to signal that websites contain reliable health information. "We want to create a focused and meaningful space for health information," said Jose Rasco, CEO of dotHealth. "This is a new industry standard for health information online."
The .health ending was a popular one, with four companies vying for the rights to it in 2012, when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers decided to add many more to the 21 that existed then. DotHealth, one of 2,000 companies that applied for all sorts of names, won out, securing the rights to the domain extension that it's in the process of launching.
To make sure the domain is used effectively, the dotHealth team, which includes people who worked on the .co domain extension, wrote policies that they say will prevent owners of .health domain names from improperly using the sites. "Our goal is for the information our customers present to be credible," Rasco said. "Our terms and conditions reinforce that mission."
Opening access to healthcare organizations is the second phase in dotHealth's rollout. During the first, trademark holders with trademarks in Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' trademark clearinghouse were allowed to claim names.
There were almost 300 applications from entities that included Mayo Clinic, United Healthcare, Oscar and other healthcare organizations, as well as non-healthcare companies, such as Apple and Facebook, and even non-healthcare people, like Swift.
"We have no idea [what she'll do with the domain], but we hope she'll put it to good use," Rasco said.
Big brands' interest in the domain validated the overall project of establishing a new domain extension, he said.
"Oscar Health registered a .health domain name because of the increased credibility, trust, and accessibility it offers our website visitors," said Sara Rowghani, Oscar Health's vice president of marketing, who was in charge of the decision to get a .health domain name.
The connotations of .health also drove Boston Children's Hospital and Duke Health to get a .health domain for their Caremap project. ".health is a really relevant domain to the work we do," said Dr. Michael Docktor, clinical lead in launching www.caremap.health. "It really clearly states what the intent and mission are."
Matter, a healthcare technology incubator based in Chicago, saw .health as a branding tool, Rasco said. In an effort to broaden its brand beyond Chicago, the incubator changed its website from www.matterchicago.com to www.matter.health. "They're a great example of a complete rebrand," Rasco said.
The period for healthcare-only applications runs through the end of November. Then, on Dec. 5, 2017, dotHealth will open registration to anyone—given that registrants adhere to dotHealth policies, a requirement that won't change as access expands. But the focus for now is on the healthcare industry, "where this really belongs," Rasco said. "I'm super pumped."