Web Domain Naming

By university policy, all domain names for Emory websites must be approved through the Domain Name Request process. Requests are considered by a policy group representing University Communications and Marketing, UTS Web Group and UTS Networking.

The group communicates and receives requests through the email ListServ group domainrequest@listserv.emory.edu.

General Guidelines

Your domain name—or "web address"—is a tool for finding your site. It does not need to be the full proper name of your unit, department or program.

University Marketing and Communications works with University Technology Services (UTS) to limit unnecessary proliferation of domain names. Whenever possible, web sites for non-unit entities, such as temporary operations, academic or degree programs, promotions, events, and services, should be hosted under existing permanent domain names where they will not require provisioning of web hosting services, nor DNS configuration and maintenance.

  • Your site name should be SHORT and memorable. You will probably need to publish the address in print, and visitors will need to manually type the address. Make it easy.
  • Your site name MUST be unique. (One name cannot point to two different sites.)
  • The name should not be confusing or so similar to another name that easy-to-make errors lead visitors to the wrong place.
  • The name MUST NOT be obscene or off-color.
  • The name must not conflict with or cause confusion with the name of another site—or potential site—at Emory.
  • The name should not be cute, unless that's the whole point of the site.
  • Avoid three- and four-letter abbreviations and acronyms, such as ECG.emory.edu or CHEM.emory.edu, unless your audience knows your organization or topic by that abbreviation, contraction or acronym.

The Legal Part

A domain name—the address of your site—becomes a trademark asset of Emory University. The material on the site is also copyrighted, even if you don't claim copyright. This comes with responsibility to protect the asset, as well as responsibility to ensure it does not damage the trademarks of others.

Your website will play in a commercial space, even though Emory is a nonprofit educational institution. Other organizations and for-profit enterprises will compete with your site for visitors, reputation, and authority. The name you choose for your site should not infringe on commercial interests of other organizations or exploit the success of others. Do not "borrow" names or use variations of other successful web addresses in an attempt to attract more visitors to your site.

Exhaustively check variations of your site name to be sure no other business or organization (or individual) is using something similar that might cause confusion or create legal issues. This is especially important if you plan to use a non-emory.edu domain name, such a one that ends in .ORG or .COM. Consider slight variations that might be commercially exploited or accidentally visited instead of your site.

The Technical Part

Most Emory websites live on university central web servers maintained by Academic and Administrative Information Technology. On this system, fully qualified departments are granted an EMORY.EDU "virtual domain" such as DEPARTMENT.EMORY.EDU, where "DEPARTMENT" is a short, intuitive reference to your department or program.

Non-emory.edu Web Domain Guidelines

Emory University Communications and Marketing strongly discourages units from registering non-emory.edu domain names, including names ending in .org, .net, .com, and any website domain name ending in anything other than "emory.edu."

Websites under the emory.edu domain follow an established naming convention that web visitors understand intuitively and can remember. Links to sites with names that end in emory.edu leave no question whether they lead to a legitimate Emory website. Only degree-granting institutions can acquire new .edu domain names, so names under emory.edu carry almost no risk of legal dispute and reduce the possibility of confusion due to similar site names or deliberate spoofing. Names under emory.edu are also cost-free to authorized Emory units and seldom require redundant registration of similar names merely to protect them from misappropriation. Sites under emory.edu also are generally afforded higher rank in search engine results.

Technical or business reasons may sometimes necessitate non-emory.edu domain names for unit or program websites, especially in cases of co-branded partnerships or vendor-hosted services. In such cases, whenever possible, web redirects should be created under emory.edu and used for promotional purposes.

Again, all requests for new domain names—including names under emory.edu—must be sent by email to domainrequest@listserv.emory.edu for review under terms of the policy for Emory Domain Names.

Please send an email to theweb@emory.edu for more information.