November 26, 2012

Trouble in domain name paradise


Earlier this year, MobyLives reported that ICANN, the body overseeing the expansion of domain names, was fielding hundreds of submissions from tech giants Google and Amazon, and many others.

Now Phillippa Warr writes in ArsTechnica, that the Governmental Advisory Committee, a panel representing a number of governments around the world, have registered more than 240 objections to the registrations. The domain names in question, and the reasons for their objections are listed here. Says Warr,

“Maintaining a healthy online business ecosystem is a big consideration, so a number of the notices deal with terms relating to regulated market sectors (.finance, .casino, and .dental) and warn applicants that they must have safeguards in place to mitigate potential misuse and minimise the likelihood of harm to consumers.”

The registration process is bringing up a whole range of problems, from concerns about monopolies to the differences between language. The Indian government is objecting to .shiksha, for example. They want to ensure that the word is only associated with the Hindi meaning of education, and prevented from being registered for “abusive” meanings. One assumes that the Yiddish meaning wouldn’t fly. And whoever is trying to register .italy, has no involvement from local authorities.

Of most interest here, .book, which was registered by Amazon, is being objected for reasons that would seem obvious to anyone. The objection reads,

“The proposed string, .book, is a common generic term relating to a market sector.

Amazon EU S.à r.l. is proposing to exclude any other entities, including potential competitors, from using the TLD.

Restricting common generic strings for the exclusive use of a single entity could have unintended consequences, including a negative impact on competition.

Early warnings provide a mechanism to initiate a discussion between a government and an applicant on particular issues or questions. It is intended that a constructive dialogue through this process will assist applicants to better understand the concerns of governments, and help governments to better understand the planned operation of proposed gTLDs.”

The objection is not a requirement of dismissal, rather it seems as if the panel would want Amazon to facilitate entry for other brands and companies to also use .book.



Ariel Bogle is a former publicist at Melville House.