Background To The Proposed Closed gTLDs
In historical terms, the internet is young. Given that several million new companies launch around the world each year, it has become increasingly obvious that there has been a escalating shortage of relevant and usable domain names on the web for these would-be companies to build on and deploy.
To address this perceived shortage an expansion program was implemented back in 2008. In May 2012 the applications for 1930 new domain strings were released. ICANN has published a full list of applications here. The site claims that: "ICANN developed the New generic Top-Level Domain Program to increase competition and choice by introducing new gTLDs into the Internet's addressing system."
However, to the immense surprise of many, and somewhat inexplicably, it does not appear to have been made mandatory for successful registry applicants to onsell the potential millions of domain names soon to be placed under their control.
Inexplicable because the current domain name system, though not without problems, has provided reasonably fair and open opportunities for access to all names and has been proven quite successfully over several decades. Why ignore these lessons?
Monopolistic Closed Domain Registries
Various companies are planning to privately own every single domain in many of the world's most valuable categories, locking out their competitors. Categories like .news and .store. These proposed closed gTLDs threaten free world online commerce.
How in the world does this "increase competition and choice"?
This is the fundamental reason for the creation of the Super Monopolies site.
If you or your family is involved in selling any product or providing any service on the internet, it is highly recommended that you closely investigate any applications for new domain strings in your field of interest. This site has not comprehensively investigated the 1930 applications for new gTLD domains. It has only focused on a few like .news, .beauty, .tires and .store as representative examples. The .news, .store and other strings are relevant to every single product and service in the world.
The ICANN list of applications is a good starting point for your own investigations.
BrandShield has provided an excellent list of the coming gTLDs illustrating which applications are for closed registries. There are many.
NewgTLDSite (organizer of the Change.org petition see graphic at left) has also created a great list of closed registry applications on their site. Details of the petition and the opportunity to sign are presented on the Petition page.
Back in 2009 ICANN made the following claim:
ICANN. Message from the CEO.
However, years later, the world is facing the prospect of ICANN overseeing the rollout of a large number of monopolistic and closed domain registries in defiance of the public interest. How can ICANN (in allowing closed registries) describe it as "opening up the top-level domains"?
Read more about ICANN's contradictory claims on the ICANN Claims page.
A second motivation for founding this website was a perception that there is a dramatic lack of awareness, understanding and underestimation of the coming domain revolution. Fortunately a small number of visionary experts do understand it, and awareness seems to be growing by the day. A small (but not comprehensive) selection of important articles with various perspectives is presented here...
Internet Commerce Association Post
Phil Corwin in a special guest post on DomainNameNews * wrote a landmark article about the wide implications and potential dangers of the impending new strings because of the nature of their regulation. This is an absolute must-read article. Phil Corwin is also the CEO of the Internet Commerce Association. The article is called:
New gTLDs: Competition or Concentration? Innovation or Domination?
New gTLDs: Competition or Concentration? DomainNameNews
Domain Name Wire (Amazon article)
Andrew Alleman wrote an important story: Amazon.com won't offer domain names to the public at DomainNameWire pointing out that Amazon is applying for no less than 76 private internets:
Domain Name Wire also includes a lengthy excerpt from one of Amazon's applications which includes the following:
Amazon's applications are clearly in direct contradiction to ICANN's policy statement, cited above, that: "ICANN developed the New generic Top-Level Domain Program to increase competition and choice by introducing new gTLDs into the Internet's addressing system."
More about ICANN's grandiose but false claims can be read on the ICANN Claims page.
An Alarm Bell Tolls In India
FrontPageIndia.com published an exceptional and incisive milestone article on 1 October, 2012 by Madabhushi Sridhar:
Monopolizing words as gTLD on Internet
Madabhushi Sridhar, a Professor and Head of Center for Media Law and Public Policy, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
Objections and Comments
This site was founded because of the lack of publicity concerning the applications for exclusive ownership of various proposed domain strings. Not many people on the street seem to even be aware that more than 1,000 new strings are coming, let alone be aware that an unknown number of them are intended to be monopolistic.
Of those who are even aware of the coming tide of new domain strings, only a tiny proportion would have any idea that equality and opportunity of access will be denied by ICANN with regard to a large number of applications.
Despite having hundreds of millions of dollars in funds at hand, ICANN has chosen not to significantly publicise the new gTLD rollout.
A finely worded objection to ICANN organized by Michele Neylon of Black Night with 16 signatories and described in a blog post called "The Registration of Generic Key Word TLDs Should Be Available to All People" perfectly describes the situation:
Awareness of this serious issue is growing and in 2013 ICANN opened up a forum about the proposed closed generic domain strings. Excerpts from about 100 comments are published over six pages on this site on the ICANN Forum pages.
Significant Petition Started
In February 2013, a finely-crafted petition was launched on the Change.org platform to give members of the public the opportunity to voice their opposition. I hope you will join me by signing. There is a whole page devoted to this important petition here.
Change.org petition against monopolistic domain allocations.
Letter to Senator Rockefeller
TheDomains posted an article about an objection sent to Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.VA) chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, by John M. Simpson, Privacy Project director of Consumer Watchdog. Consumer Watchdog says:
Difficult to comprehend though it is, ICANN seems to be sanctioning the sell-off of dictionary words that belong to all people equally around the globe to the wealthiest bidders.
Consumer Watchdog also filed a comment on the ICANN closed generics forum which they called: Keep Generic TLDs Open For All. You can read an extract on the ICANN Forum 3 page.
GAC's Beijing Communiqué
ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee issued a communiqué in April 2013 acknowledging the serious issue of closed gTLDs and recommended that any such closed registries should serve the public interest:
Beijing Communiqué, April 2013 (page 11)
Well, what are some of these new domain names?
A tiny fraction of the millions of possible "usable" domains that will materialize are presented all over this website. Countless, high potential names like Play.games, Latest.news and Online.bank.
In October 2012 DomainIndex published an illuminating list of thousands of potential domain names, including hypothetical valuations. This is an eye-opening list, absolutely eye-opening. These valuations seem to be based on sophisticated algorithms and research (true valuations will come later) and will depend on many factors yet to play out. Not least the question of whether the public will resist the countless millions of dollars that will be spent (mainly by the coming brand domain owners) on the marketing of non dot COM domains. Will people break the habit of visiting Something--dot--COM and get into the habit of visiting My.mail or Funny.movies? That is the billion dollar question.
The DomainIndex list really opens up the realms of possibilities in your mind. Home.insurance, Cheap.hotels, Web.page, Rental.cars, Stock.market and on and on and on...
Awareness And Criticism Spreads
Isolated but passionate opposition to the proposed closed registries is spreading. For example, this Names.co.uk article from October, 2012 sums up the situation very well:
SPECIAL NOTE SuperMonopolies has a page about LOréal's application to own and operate .beauty as a closed domain extension.
An article in Forbes in November 2012 by Reuven Cohen continued the theme, helping to illustrate the commercial power and possibilities of exclusively owning entire domain strings:
Politico published a concise overview of the controversy by Michelle Quinn in February 2013 (with a comment by SuperMonopolies): "ICANN's debating what's in a domain name".
That is the big question being asked by Politico. Should one tire company be permitted to exclusively own all the great tire domains like Car.tires and Truck.tires? Should one insurance company be allowed to own Life.insurance, Home.insurance and all the rest? Should a single company like Amazon be able to own every book domain like Buy.book, Paperbook.book, Text.book, School.book and Romance.book and simultaneously shut out all its competitors? These are significant questions.
I add to that statement the possibility that the Ford rival who might theoretically own the .truck string would very likely seek to prevent Ford from owning all generic .truck names such as Pickup.truck, Buy.truck or Used.truck, not just the brand domain Ford.truck to which they have a clear moral right.
SPECIAL NOTE SuperMonopolies has published a page about the proposed .tires string.
TheDomains (Domaining 6.0 article)
An innovative pocket history of the internet from a domaining perspective is published at TheDomains. Six stages are identified in this must-read article. (Owner Michael Berkins is a domain expert and also the owner of MostWantedDomains, a successful domain sales company.)
...It's not hard to imagine that a future article in 2014 might be called "Domaining 7.0 1000 new Top Level Domains".
The relevance of this "pocket history" lies in the way this concise summary of the internet illustrates its implacable evolution. It is not going to stop.
Frank Schilling is widely regarded as the world's number one domain investor and writes infrequent but highly influential articles on his blog Seven Mile. He is also the founder of Domain Name Sales and MD of Uniregistry, one of the biggest applicants for many of the proposed new gTLDs. What Uniregistry says about it's domain registration policies in a kind of 'mission statement' is both revealing and commendable:
Uniregistry emphasizes fair accessibility for the new gTLD strings:
Some applicants for the new gTLDs are seeking to solely own entire domain strings to the total exclusion of their competitors.
Closed registries. Walled gardens. Private internets.
Unfortunately, lack of awareness has meant lack of resistance.
It takes just a moment to sign the online petition.
SuperMonopolies.com presents four in-depth examples about some significant and potentially popular right of the dot domains, the dot store, the dot news, the dot beauty and the dot tires strings. In association with strong and well-argued opposition from individuals, organizations and corporations around the world as described throughout this site, the impending damage to the public interest from the proposed closed gTLDs is clear to see.
SuperMonopolies.com A hypothetical analysis of the new top level domain names coming in 2013-14.
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