The Illinois Domain Project

The Illinois University at Urbana-Champaign made the domainer news recently, with the announcement that due to budget cuts they are looking to find a buyer for their top-tier domain,

Not only is the Illinois University at Urbana-Champaign tech-savvy, it is also one of the oldest educational institutions to have integrated the modern methods of online communications and the Internet into the daily life at the campus.

In fact, the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) server operated by the UIUC in 1994 was our first experience of real-time interaction with people from all over the world, using the Internet. Those were still the days of monochrome monitors, 386 Intel processors and Windows 3.1 – all while domains were still free to register.

An example of the complexity of the management at the Illinois University at Urbana-Champaign can be found in a fine specimen of analysis about descriptive and generic domains, versus acronyms.

The Illinois University at Urbana-Champaign defined what is called “The Illinois Domain Project” – a white paper that is still in development with current updates.

With regards to the Internet branding, the introduction of this white paper states:

[…] Web and e-mail addresses are the vehicles through which many audiences recognize the University. Additionally, the continued use of “uiuc” has caused division in how our internal audiences (faculty, staff and students) refer to the campus. These are the University’s ambassadors to the world. The more consistently we present ourselves as “Illinois,” the better we communicate the comprehensive excellence of the University.

In other words, the Illinois University at Urbana-Champaign defends its use of long, descriptive terms versus the initials UIUC – a slap in the face of other institutions such as UCLA and USC; to them, brand recognition comes from the generic terms “University of Illinois”.

Additionally, the brains of the technology sector reside at the Office of Technology Management – the very folks that recently announced that is for sale.

Surprisingly, in its handbook for investors and innovators, the Illinois University at Urbana-Champaign states that:

With an annual funded research budget of more than $645 million dollars, the University of Illinois is a leader in generating advances that translate into products and services that have a profound impact on human lives.

The research budget volume appears to be tied to the University’s research curriculum – when it comes down to financing other aspects of its budget the numbers would obviously be considerably smaller, hence the intention to sell off assets such as

Whatever the course of action might be and despite the evaluation by domainers of as a domain with high potential, it remains to be seen whether the Illinois University at Urbana-Champaign will choose a “hard cash” offer versus the potential of a higher sale via an auction – an uncertain method of liquidating its valuable asset,

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