ICANN CEO Fadi Cherhade has announced that his organization will start recommending the first of all new generic top-level domains
, or gTLDs, for delegation on or around April 23. However, there is a great deal of controversy about these “very generic” domain names like .book. The applicants have applied to register 76 names.
The companies or registrars that get the right to manage the new top-level domains don’t necessarily have to open them up for sale to the public, so these so-called “closed generics” like .art and .music (all of which Google and at least two more companies applied for) are currently at the center of debate among those interested in owning and or operating these new domains.
The main companies interested in control of the generic TLD domains are Google and Amazon.
Google in a letter to Icann indicated various uses and business models, with a possible outline for its uses of common word domains such as .web, .music. .love as well as of course .google.
Amazon stressed it may just use the terms in house and not make them available to the public. Google also did not rule out the same scenario.
Others aren’t convinced that corporations owning common use words are good for freedom and free speech.
In an open letter to the ICANN Board John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director wrote; “If these applications are granted, large parts of the Internet would be privatized and become walled gardens.”
ICANN plans to expand domain names beyond those that are familiar, like .com, .net and .org. You can read the full Consumer Watchdog’s letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltricann092612.pdf
“We believe the plans by Google and Amazon are extremely problematic and call on you to deny their applications. It is one thing to use a Top Level Domain name that is associated with your brand name. In Google’s case that might be .Google or .YouTube or .Android. Similarly it makes sense for Amazon to acquire .Amazon or .Kindle. But, that is not what they are seeking,” wrote Simpson.
In the end we must ask ourselves if,this is a good thing. Icann has some answering to its board as well. Many of the applications for closed domain registries directly contradict ICANN policies which supposedly promote competition on the internet.