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"Nobody 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."

Dave Tyrer, founder,

"...allowing 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."

Kathryn Kleiman, Internet Counsel, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, Open Letter to ICANN Board et al.

"Generic 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 trademark protections."

Michele Neylon et al, Blacknight, co-author, objection letter to ICANN.

"The impending sanction of generic Top-Level Domains by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers poses serious questions on equity and competition...

"...Any 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."

The Hindu, Editorial: No, ICANN (Sep 2012) Established in 1878, The Hindu has 4m readers.

"If 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."

Jeffrey I.D. Lewis
American Intellectual Property Law Association
Comment on Closed Generic gTLD Applications on ICANN Forum

Time Is Running Out To Act

Once 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.

The 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 jaw-dropping.

This 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.

This raises the question — since ICANN received $350m in application fees for the new gTLDs — why are small players and developing countries being excluded?

Public opinion may be the only avenue left to achieve a fair distribution of the upcoming new domain assets.

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Write 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.

If you can't afford an official objection, send one without the exhorbitant fee anyway, preferably by certified mail so you can retain proof.

Just 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 wealthy elite.

This 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 Procedure

The official 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 be respected:

"Listen 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...

"...Support 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 stakeholders."

ICANN's Expected Standards of Behavior

SPECIAL 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

"The 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 ICANN’s steadfast governance since 1999.

"These 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 landscape...

"...allowing 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."

Kathryn Kleiman, Internet Counsel, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, Open Letter to ICANN Board et al.

Another 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 Internet’s addressing system" and "Open doors to increase choice and competition in the marketplace."

Erie goes on to draw attention to some elements of Allstate's application:

"The .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…"

Erie's comment concludes:

"Allstate's filing would impede information dissemination and stifle competition." (referring to the general internet).

Erie Insurance Group, comment on ICANN's website.


pull quote graphicThe 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 names.

Applicants 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:


Each 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, and a limited choice like, 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.

After 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).

These principles 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 Of Pricing

There are 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).

More Comments

The concept 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.

"Icann 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."

The Hindu. Beauty lies in the ‘domain’ of the highest bidder. Parminder Jeet Singh, Executive Director, IT for Change

AlJazeera 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:

"A 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.

"Many 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?"

AlJazeera. Christine Haight Farley. Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law. Will thousands of new top level domains change the internet?

"Closing 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?"

Charles Duke, commenter on the petition: "ICANN: Stop Corporate Takeover of New Internet Names "



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au time logo — A hypothetical analysis of the new top level domain names — coming in 2013-14.



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