Amazon attempts rule fudge to take exclusive control of new dot-words

Who .moi? You must be mistaken

Amazon is trying to get around rules aimed at preventing it from gaining exclusive control of common words online.

If successful, the online retail giant is likely to expand its approach to new dot-words, including ".book," ".song" and ".tunes" – despite the world's governments having explicitly said they are opposed to the idea.

The attempt to bypass current rules is being made through an obscure process called the Registry Services Evaluation Policy (RSEP), run by domain overseer ICANN, and sounds innocuous enough. It asks to be allowed to run a "registration authentication platform" for its ".moi" top-level domain.

However, if approved, the change would give Amazon the right to decide who is allowed to register a domain under ".moi" and to provide unspecified and exclusive "ancillary products or services" to registrants.

That means that while Amazon would still in theory let other companies register domain names under its dot-word, in practice they would be entirely reliant on Amazon to approve the individual applying, and Amazon would be able to offer things that no other company could if people register directly with it.

Given how the domain name market works, the upshot is that Amazon would gain full control of the so-called "generic" top-level domains – despite formal advice from the world's governments that such an approach was not in the public interest, and a resolution of the ICANN Board passed in June last year aimed at stopping "exclusive generic applicants."

Impact

Amazon applied for over 100 new top-level domains. Over the course of the process, it has withdrawn from some, done deals on others, and entered into auctions for still more. It also ended up in a huge dispute with many of the same governments that oppose its exclusive-control efforts over its application for the word ".amazon." They felt the river and region should be given priority. Amazon riled up the US Congress to argue otherwise, to no end.

Currently Amazon has 36 dot-words under its belt, including: buy, joy, coupon, got, room, talk, pin, smile, read, like, call, book, author, and others.

Amazon's proposal was made at the start of the month and under ICANN's rules, the public comment period will close at midnight this Sunday, April 24.

So far only two comments have been sent to the comments-moi-registration-auth-02mar16@icann.org comment address, one pointing to a blog post raising doubts over the proposal and a second asking for a 10-day extension on the deadline. There is no indication whether that extension will be approved. ®

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