March 13, 2014
Senator Rockefeller Voices His Displeasure Over .Sucks Top Level Domain
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Senator John (Jay) Rockefeller (D-W.V) on Wednesday urged Internet regulators not to move forward with a proposed online neighborhood for website addresses ending in “.sucks.”
The senior senator from West Virginia, who is the great-grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller and who announced in January that he won’t seek reelection later this year, made it clear that he is no fan of .sucks. In a sharply worded letter the chairman of the Senate Commerce committee told the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that it should not approve .sucks for websites.
ICANN, which oversees the domain name system, is now in the process of vetting hundreds of new potential endings that will complement the existing suffixes currently in place including .com and .net. These generic Top Level Domains (gTLD) could include corporate names, but Rockefeller added in his letter that three companies have applied to be the operator of .sucks, and called the move for such as new gTLD as “little more than a predatory shakedown scheme.”
Rockefeller reportedly said that such a suffix is designed to “force large corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and even individuals, to pay ongoing fees to prevent seeing the phrase ‘sucks’ appended to their names on the Internet,” Politico.com reported.
California-based ICANN has called upon an expansion of gTLD to address the growth of the Internet. New names are essential to provide enough addresses to meet the growing demand. Since January ICANN has expanded the online neighborhood with new domains including “.guru,” “.bike” and even “.singles.”
One of the companies that had applied for the .sucks suffix was Vox Populi Registry, which announced last year that it would charge as much as $25,000 for early brand registrations. Politico noted that was “a hefty price tag for companies that want to keep their names off any potentially damaging .sucks websites.”
However, Vox Populi Registry CEO John Berand saw it otherwise, and claimed that such sites could allow consumers to have a place to vent frustrations.
“I hope it will be seen as a way to bring activity currently happening in the dark corners of the Internet into the light,” Berand told Politico. “It’s pricey if you see it as just a domain name, but if you view it as a part of a greater campaign to drive consumer loyalty, it becomes mere pennies.”
Rockefeller, who heads the committee that held the discussion about domain name expansion, argued that .sucks would undermine the credibility of ICANN. Supporters of his actions have already spoken up.
“We think .sucks threatens to be no more than an invitation for defensive registration with little positive value in the marketplace,” Dan Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers, added to Politico.
In 2012 ICANN said the United States is accounting for nearly half of all new applications, with 884 requests for new suffixes out of a total of 1,930.
While .sucks likely won’t make the cut, plenty of other suffixes will likely be seen in the coming months. In November of last year the GMO Internet Group company, GMO Registry, announced that it has signed contracts with ICANN to operate two new geographic Top Level Domains adding “.tokyo” and “.nagoya” to new suffixes. In January ICANN’s domain name expansion program topped 100 new gTLDs.
ICANN will continue to delegate new generic Top-Level Domains on a regular basis. Just don’t expect to see the likes of .sucks or similar defaming examples making the cut.