November 21, 2012
New Internet Names Face Objections From Government Panel
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has been taking applications for new Internet address endings, allowing companies and organizations an opportunity to have specific, specialized web domains for themselves and their products. For example, Apple has applied to the domain ending “.apple,” meaning one day looking up information about the latest iPad could be as easy as typing in “iPad.apple.”
Just as they´re allowing companies to apply for their own endings, they´re also allowing for the objection of these names to protect intellectual property or even avoid potentially controversial and dangerous situations.
Yesterday, a panel representing 50 of the world´s governments submitted a list of more than 250 domain endings to ICANN which they believe could potentially cause trouble. The panel, known as the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), submitted these “early warnings,” giving the applicants a chance to reconsider or withdraw their applications and reclaim 80% of their $185,000 application fee. The GAC will then decide in April which of these early warning domain endings warrant a formal complaint to ICANN.
Some of these applications include references to groups of people, a move the GAC worries could offend and cause trouble. For instance, the GAC has listed the applications for .roma, .islam, .africa and .zulu in their early warnings list.
Some companies have applied to own the rights to domain endings which correspond with the products they sell. For instance, Amazon has applied for .app, .book, .movie and .game. The Weather Channel (which already operates as Weather.com) has applied for .weather, and Symantec has applied for .antivirus. The GAC has placed each of these endings on their Early Warnings list, suggesting these names are too broad and shouldn´t be held by just one company.
France has objected to the application for the .hotel or .hotels ending, saying only those who are in the hotel business should apply for this ending. There are 7 organizations which have applied for this ending.
"The guarantee of a clear information of the customer on hotel accommodation services is the best way to promote the tourism industry," a spokesperson for the French government told the BBC.
"Behind the term hotel as a generic denomination, any customer in the world must have the guarantee that will be directly connected to a hotel."
Amazon has also applied for the Japanese suffix for “fashion,” a move which Australia raised objections about.
"Restricting common generic strings for the exclusive use of a single entity could have unintended consequences, including a negative impact on competition," wrote the Australian government.
While some organizations feel businesses shouldn´t be able to hold such broad domain suffixes, one government has objected to the application for a religious term, .islam.
"It is unacceptable for a private entity to have control over religious terms such as Islam without significant support and affiliation with the community it's targeting," said a spokesperson for the United Arab Emirates.
A few of the opposed endings are even a little shocking. Atomic Pipe, LLC, for instance, spent $185,000 and applied for the domain ending .fail. Domain registration company Donuts Inc has 307 subsidiaries. One of which, Hidden Way, LLC, has applied for the domain ending .wtf. This ending made headlines earlier this year and has already faced much opposition.
Another of these Donuts Inc. subsidiaries, Dog Bloom LLC, has also applied for the ending .sucks. But Dog Bloom isn´t alone, as Cox Populi Registry, INC has also applied for .sucks.
Another Donuts subsidiary, Corn Sunset, LLC, has applied for the .gripe ending.
Despite all of these objections, ICANN has said they still expect to release the first batch of these new endings by May 2013.