Feeds

Governments probe domain land-snatch: many.gTLDs.suck

Patagonia? You mean that's a place?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Governments have started to put ICANN's massive top-level domain name expansion under scrutiny, after the revelation of 1,930 applications for new naming suffixes two weeks ago.

During sessions here at ICANN's 44th public meeting in Prague, government representatives have raised their eyebrows over several types of application.

Some have looked askance at huge keyword land-grabs by companies such as Amazon and Google, which have separately applied for over 100 private name-spaces including .blog, .music and .shop.

There are also emerging concerns over private bids for culturally sensitive terms.

Notably, Argentina is particularly riled over the a plan by American outdoor clothing maker Patagonia Inc to run .patagonia as a private-label “dot-brand” gTLD.

Patagonia is of course also a huge region encompassing southern Argentina and Chile.

Yesterday, Argentina's representative to ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee, Olga Cavalli, became the first GAC member to publicly condemn a new gTLD bid.

“Argentina does not accept the .patagonia request for a closed brand TLD,” she said during an open mic session at the Prague meeting. “The ICANN board must consider that this case of .patagonia should not become a precedent for other brand TLDs capturing names of regions of countries.”

The 350-page Applicant Guidebook that governs the ICANN new gTLD programme gives governments special powers to attempt to kill off applications they don't like.

If the GAC can find a consensus against an application, the ICANN board of directors is pretty much obliged to reject it. Objections that raise less than a consensus may also carry persuasive power.

Right now, Cavalli's objection to .patagonia does not carry any official weight, but it's an indication that the GAC is likely to issue an “Early Warning” this October, and possibly a formal “GAC Advice on New gTLDs” next April, which could kill off the application for good.

Privately, we understand that it's not just geographic terms that the GAC is worried about.

Concerns have been expressed about potentially religiously sensitive terms – .bible, .church, .catholic, .islam, .halal and .kosher have all been applied for – as well as words that look as though they represent regulated industries.

Several terms related to Islam have been applied for by a Turkish company. We understand that these bids are unlikely to find favour in the Arab world.

New gTLD bids such as those for .bank and .pharmacy have also long raised eyebrows in the GAC, but now they're being joined by less obvious potential objection cases such as .food, .health and .beauty, some of which may have public policy implications.

There's also government unrest, we understand, regarding generic strings that appear designed to attract large numbers of defensive registrations by trademark holders.

The three companies that have applied for .sucks, for example, face an uphill battle selling their proposed benefits to the GAC and to ICANN's influential intellectual property lobby.

Worry has also been expressed about attempts by several large companies, such as Amazon, Google, Loreal and others to corner off potentially valuable generic keywords as single-user spaces.

If Google is awarded .blog, for example, it plans to keep all the second-level domain names to itself, to promote its Blogger server, rather than allowing internet users to register them.

Amazon, meanwhile, has applied for 76 gTLDs – covering generics such as .shop, .song and .search – all of which it plans to keep for itself if its applications are successful. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.