Since the beginning of domain time (the first was registered in 1985), man has searched for the perfect domain name. This name was said to be short, easy to remember and pregnant with meaning. COM was the first to fit that bill; NET and ORG and all the rest were afterthoughts. Well, COM finally has some competition. Several hundred new domain extensions have been loosed on the Internet. One of the most popular is GURU.
What does the word Guru mean to you? Prior to the Summer of Love in 1967 in San Francisco (be sure to wear flowers in your hair) it wasn’t a word Americans used often, if at all; it can’t even be found in my old late-50’s Funk & Wagnalls. A Hindi word meaning “teacher” or “priest,” guru is found in the earlier Indian language of Sanskrit as “one to be honored.” It’s first popular use in American English was in reference to Canadian communications-theory philosopher Marshall McLuhan in 1966. Deemed the first “media guru,” McLuhan was the man who famously said “the media is the message.” Today the word is often defined as a leader, expert, and authority in some field; or a charismatic or spiritual figure who attracts a devoted following. Or some combination of the two.
Today the term is applied to anyone deemed an expert in their field: media guru, management guru, literary guru; the list includes all human endeavors however humble or exalted. With that in mind the domain registry division of the investment group Donuts petitioned ICANN (International Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers) for the right to created the new generic top-level-domain extension Guru. Donuts, by the way, has petitioned for several hundred different extensions: from dot.agency to dot.zone and everything between. ICANN granted this petition and dot Guru went online in November of 2013, thus allowing anyone and everyone who fancies themselves experts in their field to call themselves gurus on line.
Since the inception of.Guru, the extension has become one of the most popular new generic top-level-domains. By the first quarter of 2014 over 30,000 Guru domain names were registered. The tech titan Apple bought several including (big surprise) iPad dot Guru, iPod dot Guru, iPhone dot guru and mac dot guru. It is easy to see why Guru is so popular. It is among the most recognized and understood terms in English. Teacher, leader, expert, master, professional, all come to mind when we hear the word Guru. And yet, it is not a term of pomposity; when someone refers to himself as a Guru, we understand it to mean that he isn’t taking himself all that seriously and that we mere mortals can approach him without fear of looking foolish.
I’m fond of saying that this flood of new domain extensions means “it is 1985 all over again,”and everyone has a second chance at getting the domain they need. That’s true, but just like 1985 it means they have to “strike while the iron is hot” or find themselves empty-handed.
Guru is a great extension for any domain name; memorable as well as meaningful, but a non-scientific analysis by this writer found that APPLE wasn’t the only big company buying up one-word names. If Guru sounds like your extension, you had best get on with claiming it.