has the right to exclusively own an entire registry of domains
based on a generic dictionary word. That would be akin to issuing
a patent or trademark on a common word. No company or entity has
such a right. Languages evolved over thousands of years and belong
equally to all human-kind. This common ownership of the spoken
word is a fundamental and universal human right."
Tyrer, founder, SuperMonopolies.com
Registry Operators to segregate and limit access to common words
for which they do not possess legally recognized intellectual
property rights, allows them to circumvent the legal process for
securing those rights. That is, they could obtain intellectual
property rights in a generic term that they would not otherwise
obtain via established trademark protection processes."
Kleiman, Internet Counsel, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth,
Letter to ICANN Board et al.
words used in a generic way belong to all people. It is inherently
in the public interest to allow access to generic new gTLDs...
to allow individual Registry Operators to segregate and close-off
common words for which they do not possess intellectual property
rights in effect allows them to circumvent nation-states
entrenched legal processes for obtaining legitimate and recognized
Neylon et al, Blacknight,
co-author, objection letter to ICANN.
impending sanction of generic Top-Level Domains by the Internet
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers poses serious questions
on equity and competition...
entity that is assigned a domain becomes the equivalent of a landlord
in cyberspace, with the ability to extract rent from other users.
Such control may not pose problems where corporates such as Google
are assigned domains that are specific to their companies or brands,
.google or .android, for instance. But giving companies monopolistic
control over generic words such as .book, .site, .news, .beauty
or .app even through an auction process would distort the openness
that characterises the Internet."
No, ICANN (Sep 2012) Established in 1878, The Hindu
has 4m readers.
these applications are granted, no one other than the applicant
and its chosen designees will be able to register second-level
domain names in the TLD, leaving the applicant free to exclude
competitors and exploit the generic TLD for its sole benefit.
The owner of the registry will be positioned to gain advantage
in direct navigation and online search; may become uniquely associated
with the category of products it offers through its association
with the relevant domain; may be able to prevent substantially
similar TLDs in the future; and will likely obtain a perpetual
monopoly in the online space since the ICANN registry agreements
permit unlimited automatic renewals. This combination of market
advantages from control of the gTLD could create significant barriers
to entry for others in the industry, which would ultimately harm
the interests of consumers and the general public."
American Intellectual Property Law Association
on Closed Generic gTLD Applications on ICANN Forum
Time Is Running
Out To Act
the best domain strings are divided up and the inaugural sites
are launched, it will be hard if not impossible
to do anything to stop them. Fait accompli.
unbelievable and unjustifiable costs of making an official objection
to the closed gTLDs seem highly suspicious the fees quoted
on the Objections page are simply
website can't afford an official objection. It is no wonder ICANN
isn't receiving many objections. How very convenient for certain
interests. This is only an opportunity for million dollar
companies and corporations. This is in spite of ICANN's continual
claims to be backing choice and competition.
raises the question since ICANN received $350m in application
fees for the new gTLDs why are small players and developing
countries being excluded?
opinion may be the only avenue left to achieve a fair distribution
of the upcoming new domain assets.
to US congressmen, write to company CEOs (the ones who will miss
the boat), tell your friends, spread the word. A very real anti-competitive
risk is on the horizon.
you can't afford an official objection, send one without the exhorbitant
fee anyway, preferably by certified mail so you can retain proof.
at the time that countless bricks and mortar companies are closing
shop, and the business world shifts online, a tiny minority of
major corporations is planning to exclusively own huge tracts
of the new gTLD domain space. This is where a lot of growth of
international commerce will happen in the next decade and beyond.
This is where significant new economic foundations will be built.
This is where the most valuable generic dictionary words in the
world are up for grabs. This is the time where words like "home",
"shop" and "news" will be carved up by the
is where the new frontier of the biggest game in town will be
created, the next incarnation of the worldwide internet. The new
domains are coming to a screen near you.
The Official Comments
comments window for the new gTLDs closed on 26 September, 2012. "Unofficial"
comments may still be made on ICANN's
gTLD comments page, and this is highly recommended by SuperMonopolies.
Even though these may not necessarily be officially considered by the
ICANN board or its evaluation panels... though they are morally obliged
to do so... All comments should be seriously evaluated since ICANN's
own guidelines specify that all stakeholders and their viewpoints should
to the views of all stakeholders when considering policy issues. ICANN
is a unique multi-stakeholder environment. Those who take part in
the ICANN process must acknowledge the importance of all stakeholders
and seek to understand their points of view...
the maintenance of robust mechanisms for public input, accountability,
and transparency so as to ensure that policy development and decision-making
processes will reflect the public interest and be accountable to all
Standards of Behavior
NOTE: SuperMonopolies has only read a small number
of comments on the ICANN site. There is certain to be a great deal of
additional information on those unread pages and recommends doing a
deeper search in areas of strategic value to you. The following examples
and excerpts serve to demonstrate some opinions.
Comments and Viewpoints
new gTLD program is underway and applications have commenced the comprehensive
evaluation process. Yet several applicants have misinterpreted the
rules and propose to operate generic word strings in a
completely closed and vertically integrated fashion, simultaneously
serving as registry, registrar and registrant even though this
gTLD model was intended to be reserved solely for brand strings. Such
a monopolistic framework will, if implemented, radically disrupt competition
and consumer choice on a global scale, and more importantly, threaten
the very existence of the free, open and competitive Internet that
has flourished under ICANNs steadfast governance since 1999.
applications, if approved, will grant the registry exclusive authority
and market power within the Internet ecosystem to (i) deny entry to
current and future competitors who operate within the same business
vertical integration between registrars, registries and registrants
in generic word TLDs not only represents competitive and consumer
harm, but also threatens the single, open and competitive Internet."
Kleiman, Internet Counsel, Fletcher,
Heald & Hildreth, Open
Letter to ICANN Board et al.
representative example is Erie Insurance Group's objection to
Allstate's (AFCIC) application for the .autoinsurance
string. The comment with the subject "Anti competitive impact"
begins by stating that Allstate's application is contrary to stated
ICANN principles such as: "The new generic Top-Level Domain program
was developed to increase competition and choice by introducing new
gTLDs into the Internets addressing system" and "Open
doors to increase choice and competition in the marketplace."
on to draw attention to some elements of Allstate's application:
.AUTOINSURANCE gTLD registry will be a standard registry restricted
to AFCIC and its qualified subsidiaries, affiliates, business partners,
or others having the Required Agreement. The registry will be closed
to registrants who do not have a formal, written agreement from AFCIC
or an affiliate... There will be no market for second-level registrations
outside of registrants that are affiliated with AFCIC
filing would impede information dissemination and stifle competition."
(referring to the general internet).
on ICANN's website.
current application procedure for the non-brand and non-city domain
strings should either be cancelled outright and started again or significantly
adjusted with a strict policy to separate the registry/registrar/registrant
roles and mandate fair global and public access to all generic domain
should either be offered a full refund if they are no longer interested
or be given the opportunity to revise their applications. A starting
point for planning a fair distribution of the new gTLDs would have to
be something like the following draft:
TENTATIVE DRAFT POLICY
successful registry is allowed to keep it's own brand name(s) in the
newly acquired gTLD extension. Further, the registry is allowed to
keep a small number (one? three?) of generic words in that extension
to help justify the expense, motivation and strategy of the application.
So in the example of Amazon's application for the .store
string, Amazon would be permitted to own Amazon.store, Kindle.store
and a limited choice like Book.store, while all other dot store
domains would be placed on the open market. Only a policy like this
can prevent domain monopolies and meet ICANN's claims of being in
favor of competition.
that, the roles of registry, registrar and registrant must be separated.
A fair procedure such as a public auction should be implemented so
all interested parties can have a fair chance to acquire their most
wanted domain. The registry would still be permitted to bid in a fair
and open auction on all domain names. Independent registrars must
be allowed to access and resell all other domain names at fair prices
to prospective registrants (based on prior successful models such
as the dot COM or dot NET strings).
have emerged over the decades that the successful dot COM string has
been in existence, yet they have been inexplicably overlooked. Why abandon
the achievements of the past?
The Serious Issue
also many other issues that need clarification and resolution
such as the initial cost of registration, the cost of annual renewals
(and permissable rate of annual price increases).
of the "public interest" is visited again and again in discussion
of the proposed closed gTLDs. As stated above, ICANN itself claims to
have a commitment to "reflect the public interest" in its
policy development. If the closed registries are allowed to become reality,
then ICANN will have profoundly failed to have achieved its commitments.
must understand that it is a governance system with the responsibility
of protecting and promoting public interest. It is not a private company
offering products and services with an aim to maximise profit. For
this reason, it may have to be more prudent than innovative. Icann
is taking important decisions on behalf of people of the whole world.
Giving off generic words as private TLDs is a zero sum game. What
it gives to a private party for exclusive use is denied to everyone
else to that extent. Icann is providing a few companies highly privileged
association with some very important symbolic terms, thus compromising
the common ownership of these elements of our cultural heritage."
lies in the domain of the highest bidder. Parminder
Jeet Singh, Executive Director, IT for Change
reported on the significant implications of closed gTLDs being permitted,
and pointed out that the new TLD program was intended to promote competition
and choice on the internet, not stifle it:
much more significant issue is whether any generic word should be
owned by a company for use as a closed registry. For example, nine
companies, including Amazon, applied for .book. Amazon indicated in
its application that it would operate .book as a closed registry...
Internet users seeking information about books in the .book domain
would be captive to Amazon, a single company.
have charged that the ICANN policy of allowing such generic closed
registries will lead to anticompetitive results. It would allow already
dominant, well-capitalised companies to entrench market power. This
result flies in the face of the original purpose of creating new gTLDs.
The expansion of the domain space was supposed to increase competition,
consumer choice, internet freedom and market differentiation. How
do closed, generic domains accomplish this mission?"
Christine Haight Farley. Professor of Law, American University
Washington College of Law. Will
thousands of new top level domains change the internet?
generic word gTLD's is anti-competitive and contrary to the basic
principals that ICANN is supposed to adhere to, as well as being oxymoronic.
Generic name and closed registry? Is this a return to the Soviet Union
style of operating?"
Duke, commenter on the Change.org petition:
"ICANN: Stop Corporate Takeover of New Internet Names "