Skip Maine state header navigation
Maine State Government
Dept. of Administrative & Financial
Office of Information Technology
Standard for the Use of External Domain
State agencies will understand how to apply for approved web
II. Purpose and
The purpose of this standard is to govern the
acquisition and use of State agency web domain names.
The State of Maine
establishes these principles in order to promote effective services associated
with the State of Maine Domain Name
1. Sovereignty – The State of Maine will establish its identity as the sovereign State
of Maine by
complying with the national domain name program.
2. Integrity and Authenticity – The State of Maine will establish the
sole, official, internationally-recognized domain name of the State of Maine,
and thereby authenticate to its citizens and customers that they are conducting
business with the legitimate State site.
a. Name formulation standards in all
namespaces will be rigorously adhered to.
b. Names assigned to one entity may
not be requested by or granted to another.
3. Protection – The State of Maine will protect its dotgov domain name
and subordinate domain names by complying with the national domain name
program, ensuring that Maine.gov domain names cannot be misappropriated by
4. One Government – To the maximum extent
possible, the State of Maine
will provide access to State services and information through a single domain
name, making it easy for citizens and customers to find and use the official
site to reach all services. Services thus coordinated through a predictable
method are of higher value to citizens. Service provisioning through multiple
government domain names, based on agency or program or other organizational
silos, are confusing to citizens, and therefore, is discouraged.
a. Branding – In support of the One Government principle, the State of Maine has established
Maine.gov as the single domain name through which its services and information are
presented. Establishing Maine.gov as a
readily identifiable brand with a common look and feel helps ensure name
recognition, simplifies marketing, and provides easy access to and consistent
navigation of services. Supporting Maine.gov as the prime brand of Maine State
Government avoids confusion among our citizens by focusing on a single point of
predictable, reliable access. Secondary brands are strongly discouraged. New
names must be approved and in-hand well in advance of public marketing efforts.
Please refer to section V.2 Alternative Domain
5. Privacy and Security – The State recognizes
and values the privacy and security of its citizens’ information. By providing
services through the official domain that uses common policies and standards,
the State will assure citizens that their personal information is handled
according to law. The State will also assure that monetary transactions
conducted between the State and its customers are securely handled.
6. Cost Effectiveness – The State of Maine will reduce costs and increase
effectiveness by providing standardized services and approaches wherever
This standard is intended to manage the acquisition and
use of all domain names by
1. Executive Branch and
semi-autonomous State agencies irrespective of where their sites are hosted; and
2. Agencies from other Maine State
government branches that are hosted on computer devices operated by the Office
of Information Technology or that traverse the State’s wide area network; and
3. Counties and
Municipalities of the State of Maine seeking domain names in the Maine.gov
This standard permits and encourages cooperation with the
other branches of Maine
government in the coordination of domain name services. This cooperation
includes municipalities and counties who elect to participate.
Chief Information Officer (CIO) and his designee, the eGov
Manager, are responsible for approving domain names, ruling on waiver requests
to authorize the use of alternative domain names, and overseeing the Enterprise
Domain Name Registry.
1. Enterprise Domain Name Registry: The registry
will be executed jointly by InforME and, on behalf of the CIO, the OIT Office
of Networking Services with the former acting as the primary technical agent
for commercially acquired domain names (also referred to as alternative domain
names) and the latter as the primary technical agent for those in the dotgov
State agencies will apply for a Maine.gov domain name via the Enterprise Domain
Name Registry portal (see Procedure
for Agencies requesting Domain Names). If an agency desires an alternative domain
name to Maine.gov (and Me.gov), they must make the request as directed in that
Maine Legislative and Judicial Branches: Because
the federal dotgov guidelines indicate state courts and legislatures follow their
state’s internet policy and the dotgov Domain Registration Federal Policy,
these branches shall apply for Maine.gov domain names via the Enterprise Domain
E. Costs: All external costs, such as registration and
renewal fees for GSA, will be borne by the subscribing
party. The fees for commercially acquired domain names will be borne by OIT. There
is no initial or recurring internal cost associated
with the registration and maintenance of domain names in the Maine.gov
namespace. The Chief Information Officer (CIO) reserves the right to impose
applicable processing and or maintenance fees to recover the costs associated
with the management of all domain name assets.
V. Naming Standards
Executive Branch Agencies: The State of Maine
subscribes to the second level domain name Maine.gov for the general internet
addressing services for State agencies. .
1. Agencies shall align their domain
names in support of the primary domain designation, according to the following
a. Path Level – would typically be one
of two forms: www.maine.gov/dept/sitename, targeted
at the department’s business partners but not citizenry at-large, or www.maine.gov/appname, targeted at
citizenry at-large. Both of these forms support the Maine.gov brand and enjoy
the protection and advantages of the official, trusted State of Maine government web
b. Third Level or Higher –
Occasionally, for technical reasons, a server (but not a branding URL) must be
assigned a unique host name. In these cases, the naming convention shall be
either myserver.agencyname.maine.gov or myserver.maine.gov. Again, this
provision pertains to server names only and not to branding URLs.
c. Networking Infrastructure – The
naming convention for networking infrastructure shall be device.net.maine.gov.
This naming convention is reserved exclusively for networking infrastructure,
and is never appropriate for any service targeted at either business partners
or citizenry at-large.
d. Applications hosted by OIT – The
naming convention for applications hosted by OIT should follow either of the
following two naming conventions: gateway.maine.gov/application
e. State Secure Public Portal – The
State secure public portal is branded as Public.Maine.Gov.
f. Any domain name that is not aligned
with the above naming conventions will be subject to the review of the Manager
of eGovernment services and may be subject to
approval via the standard waiver process..
2. Alternative Domain Names: Alternatives
to the primary domain designation may be permitted where there exist compelling
business or public policy reasons to do so. Alternative domain names whose
end-of-life has been determined should plan for that event.
Users of alternative domain names
need to be mindful that Maine.gov is the primary brand for electronic
interaction with the State of Maine
and it is primarily through this brand that constituents can be assured that
the information and services that they obtain are from approved Maine State
(i) It has been a practice for some
State agencies to acquire alternative domain names outside of the Maine.gov
name space. The two major purposes for
these have been:
The perception that non-State branding or
‘handles’ will improve user acceptance of State services
A more convenient branding to promote
agency programs and services.
Experience has shown that expectations about
the utility of alternative domain names are far higher than supported by reality, specifically citizens predominately use Maine.gov
to find information and services, even to find alternative domain names.
There also exist significant
risks in the use of alternative domain names, including domain hijacking, like
domains that may link to inappropriate content, etc. Because they are leased
rather than purchased, they are ill-suited for long-term marketing use. Therefore,
the following best-practices are required:
Registrations and renewals of all non-dotgov
domain names will be performed by the Enterprise Domain Name Registry to
leverage expertise in that realm.
Leases should be acquired for a minimum of three
Once acquired, domain name leases should be
(ii) Agencies are responsible for the costs
associated with acquiring and administering alternative domain names.
(iii) If an alternative domain name is
approved, agencies are encouraged to redirect or have an alias to a
(iv) The remaining term for
subscriptions to an alternative domain name should at no time fall to less than
1 year unless the planned end-of-life falls within that year.
(v) Existing applications named in the
namespace and domain names derived from the state.me.us names space will be retired
in an orderly fashion and moved to conforming namespaces.
(vi) Non-conforming domain names, not
included in (v) above, will be transferred to a single registrar account
administered by InforME (InforME – Electronic Access to Public Information Act.
Title 1, Maine Revised Statutes, chapter 713, section 1). InforME will pass domain name registration
fees back to the State through OIT.
(v)All alternate domain names
will be subject to periodic revalidation of the conditions supporting a
previously granted waiver.
Non - Maine.gov or Me.gov Second-level Dotgov Domain Names: While the federal dotgov
guidelines permit the state CIO to register second-level dotgov domains, the
State will discourage second-level dotgov domain names.
1. Those requesting second-level dotgov
domain names shall need to provide a compelling justification in order to
satisfy an extraordinary, non-conforming need. In cases where a second-level
dotgov domain is approved, the web site associated with the domain remains
subject to the standards and policies of Maine State Government. Approval will be only for a fixed period of
time, at the end of which the domain name will be expired, barring a successful
request for continuation.
2. Those with existing second-level dotgov
domain names are not grandfathered indefinitely. Since such second-level names
are essentially non-conforming, they may create confusion or wasted browsing
for citizens seeking information or services.
Those with such second-level dotgov domain names will be encouraged –
and in some cases required – to develop and implement a migration to a
predictable, conforming Maine.gov name.
of the State: States are authorized to
develop policy on how non-state governments shall be registered under the state
1. The (third level) naming convention
to be used by participating municipalities shall be municipalname.maine.gov. ‘Municipalname’ may include the word “city”
or “town” at the discretion of the local government.
2. The naming convention for
participating counties shall be countyname.Maine.gov where “countyname”
must include the word ‘county’ to distinguish its form of government (e.g.,
Aroostookcounty.Maine.gov or CountyofAroostook.Maine.gov).
entities using a dotgov domain must comply with the federal guidelines (the
full federal policy can be accessed at http://www.dotgov.gov.),
1. Advertisements: A Maine.gov domain may not be used to
advertise for private individuals, firms, or corporations, or imply in any manner
that the government endorses or favors any specific commercial product,
commodity, or service.
2. Campaign Information: No campaigning can be done with
dotgov domains. The Maine.gov Web sites may not be directly linked to or refer
to Web sites created or operated by a campaign or any campaign entity or
committee. Separate Web sites and e-mail on other top-level domains, such as
.org, will have to be used to disseminate campaign information.
3. Link Change Notification: When a link on a Maine.gov
domain makes the user leave a Maine.gov web site, a notification or screen
(i.e., a splash message) should alert users that they are leaving the official
4. Domain Termination:
An organization that operates Maine.gov web sites that are not in
compliance with the Maine.gov conditions of use may have its domain name
Name Suitability Guidelines: Names
requested in the dotgov namespace must adhere to and
will be tested against the following criteria:
1. Need: Does the
requested domain name provide utility and/or branding to the target initiative
2. Time: Domain
names in the Maine.gov namespace are intended to serve long-term roles. They are generally not appropriate vehicles
for temporary or short term projects or events. In very rare cases, to serve a
significant need, they may be assigned to serve short-term interests.
Domain names that pose a strong potential for conflict with other state,
municipal, county or other interests should be avoided.
Maine.gov is intended as a positive locale for people to avail themselves of
the governmental information and services in the State of Maine. Names that detract from the brand’s
appeal are strongly discouraged.
Name Formulation Guidelines:
Naming standards avoid confusion on the part of the public and will
improve ease of use and recognition of government brands. Under the direction
of the CIO, the Enterprise Domain Name Registry will review and grant domain
name requests according to the following conventions:
1. No blank spaces may used in the
2. A domain name can only have letters
and dashes (-).
3. A domain name cannot start or end
with a dash.
4. Numbers are strongly discouraged in
a domain name.
5. Dotgov domain name requests will
always end with Maine.gov at the second and first levels.
6. A domain name will be as short as
7. A domain name will be easily
understood by the citizens and visitors of Maine.
8. A domain name will avoid the use of
acronyms as much as possible.
9. A domain name will be based on the
most generally accepted meaning of the specific words that make up the
requested name. For example, a request for “roads.maine.gov” by the Rural
Outdoor Assistive Dog Service would be refused, because the name “roads” is
generally perceived to be related to vehicular transportation.
and counties may register only one domain name. To register any third-level domain within
maine.gov, the following guidelines apply:
1. Programs and initiatives such as the
fire department, the police department, the library, etc. should be represented
by extending the URL to the right. For
example: city (town or county) name.maine.gov/firedepartment.
2. Do not use spaces and underscores
within a domain name. Dashes are fine, but may not be used at the beginning or
end of a domain name.
3. Additionally for municipalities: The
domain name must include the city (town) name. Do not abbreviate the city name.
4. Additionally for counties: The
domain must be registered with the county's name and with the word
"county" (because many counties have the same name as cities within
the same state). Please do not abbreviate the county name; the word "county"
must be spelled out in full.
may also acquire names directly from the GSA at www.dotgov.gov
in the form townmaine.gov, for example www.augustamaine.gov.
See the State of Maine
Domain Name Management Policy.
General Services Administration’s Final Rule (41 CFR Part 1020173) was issued
in March 2003, establishing a basis to permit dotgov domain services for state
and local governments (https://www.dotgov.gov/final_rule_102.aspx). This rule also
established conforming name protocols for URLs in the Gov domain. Within this rule states are encouraged to
make second-level domains available for third-level registration by local
IX. Document Information
1. Document Reference Number: 15
2. Category: Internet
3. Adoption Date: October 24, 2011
4. Effective Date: October 24, 2011
5. Revision Date: October 24, 2011
6. Review Date: October 24, 2013
7. Point of Contact: Paul Sandlin, Manager,
eGovernment Services, Office of Information Technology, State House Station #145,
Augusta, ME 04333, Telephone: (207) 619-2244.
8. Approved By: Greg McNeal, CIO, State House Station #145, Augusta, ME 04333,
Telephone: (207) 624-7568.
9. Position Title(s) or Agency
Responsible for Enforcement: Paul Sandlin, Manager eGovernment Services, Office
of Information Technology, State House Station #145, Augusta, ME 04333,
Telephone: (207) 619-2244.
10. Legal Citation: None
11. Waiver Process: See the Waiver Policy.