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OPLIN 4cast #433: This .sucks

Posted in 4cast

sucks stampBeginning a little more than a year ago, the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) began implementing a plan to expand the number of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) on the Internet – domains like .com, .net, and .org – from 22 to (eventually) over 1,000. The first seven new gTLDs added in early 2014, for example, were .bike, .clothing, .guru, .holdings, .plumbing, .singles, and .ventures. One gTLD that’s about to be launched is causing concern: The .sucks gTLD is commanding very high prices, as big companies and celebrities pay top dollar to keep the general public from buying top-level domains like <celebrityname>.sucks. In retrospect, it’s hard to see how this gTLD could not have turned out badly. Fortunately, libraries do not suck.

  • Internet naming body moves to crack down on ‘.sucks’ (Associated Press)  “The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, on Thursday sent a letter to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs to see if the actions of company Vox Populi Registry Ltd. are illegal. ICANN initially approved of the so-called top-level domain name, among nearly 600 it has added recently to expand beyond common names such as ‘.com,’ ‘.org’ and ‘.us.’ But it is backtracking after an advisory panel made up of industry groups and companies like Microsoft, Verizon and eBay complained last month.”
  • Internet naming group asks FTC to investigate .sucks controversy (Yahoo! Finance | Aaron Pressman)  “The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit that sets policies for the global domain name system, said in a letter to the FTC and Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs that companies have complained the system is ‘predatory, exploitive and coercive.’ ICANN asked the regulatory bodies to determine whether any laws had been broken. ‘ICANN is concerned about the contentions of illicit actions being expressed, but notes that ICANN has limited expertise or authority to determine the legality of Vox Populi’s positions, which we believe would fall in your respective regulatory regimes,’ the group said in the letter.”
  • “.sucks” registrations begin soon—at up to $2,500 per domain (Ars Technica | Lee Hutchinson)  “The pricing situation around .sucks domain names is complicated. Companies with registered trademarks will have to pay an astounding $2,499 to register their trademarked names in .sucks. Registration of non-trademarked names during the ‘sunrise’ period (March 30 until June 1) before .sucks goes live will cost at least $299 per name, while the standard registration fee after June 1 goes to at least $249 per name. Companies are typically hyper-sensitive about brand usage, and few will want their .sucks domains under someone else’s control.”
  • New .sucks domain stirs up storm over free speech (The Star Online)  “John Berard, chief executive at Vox Populi, told AFP the new domain is something that companies can use to engage with consumers, and that he sees the word ‘sucks’ as ‘edgy’ but not pejorative. ‘We think we’re creating an opportunity for interaction that is meaningful,’ he said. ‘If a company were to establish its own .sucks site and drive that discussion to a centralized location it might be quite a valuable asset.’ Berard added that the pricing ‘reflects what we believe to be the value of the names.’”

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