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No, this is not yet a real weather ad.

It is entirely possible that under ICANN's "regulation" of the internet DNS, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (and all other global climate and science agencies) will be prohibited from owning any .weather domain names like


The Weather Channel LLC (TWC) has applied to own and operate the .weather extension as a closed gTLD.

Closed Application Excerpt

"...Consumer choice: .weather will provide consumers with new, more personalized and intuitive options to navigate the internet to find weather related information. The .weather gTLD will provide consumers with more choices for interacting with TWC and weather-related content overall.

"Given the restricted nature of the .weather gTLD, the projected number of registrations is likely to be limited. It is anticipated that a rather limited number of around 210 domain names will be registered in the first year... However, over the next few years, the number of registrations is likely to increase to about 100,000 domain names as TWC develops and implements new services...

"As a restricted gTLD, registration will only be open to internal users (affiliate entities) at this stage and no unaffiliated third parties will be able to register domain names under .weather domain space."

The Weather Channel

Excerpt source:, The Weather Channel's .weather application


The issue of closed gTLDs is not merely a commercial matter involving the competing financial interests of players and potential for monopolies within an industry. Public interest & safety is also a serious factor. The .weather gTLD is a compelling example of domains that may be vital to people's lives — as described in the editorial below.

Regulated Industries: Closed gTLDs Particularly Against The Public Interest

Industries around the world are subject to government regulation in varying degrees. The public interest is served by government oversight of each industry to ensure a wide range of benchmarks such as legitimacy, fair competition, financial security and personal safety are achieved.

However, closed registries by definition exclude the very regulatory authorities that regulate those industries.

So, for example, national prudential authorities like the Fed and the Bank of England could be excluded from any .forex or .markets domains. (These two domain extensions are subject to closed gTLD applications by IG Group Holdings PLC - Ed.)

The US Food & Drug Administration and Oxford University may be prohibited from operating a .food domain. Yes, .food has a closed gTLD application pending.

NASA may be prohibited from owning a .weather domain. Yes, .weather is subject to a closed application. Likewise, highly respected agencies around the world like the Met Office in England and the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia would similarly be excluded.

The FBI and Scotland Yard could be excluded from operating a .security domain which Symantec plans to operate as a closed gTLD.

The Department of Homeland Security could be excluded from operating

It would likewise have been an issue with the closed .insurance string application described on the Misc strings 2 page, but that application has been withdrawn.

...The potential list goes on.

A Distinction

It is obviously in the public interest that all the new domains are operated with the maximum degree of honesty, fairness & integrity, and ICANN has significant procedures in place to examine the background and facilitate objections to all applicants before they proceed. So in theory, unsuitable applicants will be rejected under these procedures.

However, there is a serious and perhaps unintended consequence of the proposed closed domain registries if and after they proceed.

An important distinction can be made between a domain extension like .jewelry, which is just a consumer item — and strings like .weather and .markets — where people's lives and livelihoods may well be at stake.

The question of who is prohibited from operating in a particular domain space emerges as an important and perhaps unforeseen issue. Someone with superior or unbiased information about the weather (or the sharemarket) for example.

Even if some people have never heard of ICANN, everyone is vaguely aware that the internet must be controlled and regulated by "the government", somewhere or somehow. It then follows that any registry, such as .weather or .forex for example, could easily be assumed by many to have a sort of de facto endorsement from the government.

So if a web surfer saw an ad or a search result for "London weather" which displayed the domain name: for example, it could easily be assumed to have some sort of authority, status, legitimacy and/or official endorsement.

This "status" or implied "endorsement" however is not justified. Just suppose a fishing boat relied on information from for example, and that website in turn failed to adequately warn of an impending hurricane — then lives could seriously be placed at risk.

A case could thus be made that the Met Office (as the foremost authority for British weather) should be allowed to operate all geographic weather domains in Great Britain. Or at least not be prohibited by The Weather Channel from sharing the space and utilizing some of the most logical and intuitive names.

A similar principle could well apply in many other domain strings — whether it be (hypothetical) negligent financial advice from a site like Mortgage.home or (hypothetically) buying exploding tires from

The DNS has evolved over two decades into a certain hierarchy and to possess a certain equilibrium. The .com domain string has ascended to become the global benchmark for the best businesses, and single word generic domains such as or possess high status and prestige — visitors more or less correctly assume that the owners of such top (and expensive) domains must in turn be some of the foremost companies in that industry.

Logically, the public might make the same assumption about one of the new closed domains like or Share.Markets — however in this case, the implied status will have been bought rather than earned.





Miscellaneous Closed gTLD Applications (1)

NOTE — The closed applications for .news, .store, .beauty and .tires are covered on dedicated pages to serve as detailed examples. Because of time restraints, brief notes only on a range of other domain applications are published on two miscellaneous pages.


Amazon has applied to operate the .book extension as a closed registry. (They have also similarly applied for .author and .read - Ed.)

Closed gTLD Application Excerpt

"...A .BOOK registry will:... Enable Amazon to protect its intellectual property rights.

"...All domains in the .BOOK registry will remain the property of Amazon.

"Applications from Amazon and its subsidiaries for domains in the .BOOK registry will be considered by Amazon’s Intellectual Property group and allocated in line with Amazon’s business goals...

"Domains in the .BOOK registry will be provisioned to support the business goals of Amazon..."


Source:, Amazon's .book application


If ICANN fails to act in the public interest, authors will be prohibited from owning the titles of their own books with the .book extension.

Amazon will own and prevent J K Rowling from owning it.

The Library of Congress and all other interested parties will be prohibited from the registry.

Strong opposition to Amazon's plan has been voiced on the ICANN closed generics forum by Barnes & Noble:

"Amazon's clear goal is to dominate the bookselling and publishing markets. Their drive to further consolidate these markets will be greatly aided by their control of the .book, .read and .author TLDs. By having Amazon control these TLDs, creativity will be limited and content diversity threatened."

Details: ICANN Forum 1 page.

The Authors Guild, representing 8,000 published writers, made a strong objection:

"We strongly object to ICANN's plans to sell the exclusive top-level domain rights for generic book-industry terms, such as .book, .author, and .read. Placing such generic domains in private hands is plainly anticompetitive, allowing already dominant, well-capitalized companies to expand and entrench their market power. The potential for abuse seems limitless."

Details: ICANN Forum 2 page.

Many bookstores also weighed in, for example:

"To Indigo's direct knowledge, Amazon is a key competitor and a dominant online retailer of books and eReading devices. Indigo strongly believes that competition will suffer if Amazon is granted the right to operate closed gTLDs... In fact, it is difficult to conceive of terms that more clearly describe books and eReading devices, and how they would be marketed, than the words 'book', 'read' and 'author'."

Indigo Books & Music Inc

Details: ICANN Forum 3 page.


Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc (JJSI) has applied to operate .baby as a closed registry.

NOTE — the company already owns the premium domain

Johnson & Johnson's application seems to have been prepared in association with the same consultants as for .security (as described on the Misc strings 2 page). That is, they will operate the .baby registry restrictively for a minimum of five years in a three stage process. In the sixth year, they may, subject to their own internal review, consider opening up the registry, and only under strict conditions. (Is this caveat included simply to obtain ICANN's stamp of approval?)

Will ICANN believe it?

The application may be considered in association with the expert opinion of the American Intellectual Property Law Association:

"Domain names can function like trademarks as source identifiers. This will be especially so with the launch of numerous new gTLDs. Many domain name owners in fact use their domain names as a trademark. The view that domain names are mere addresses with no source-identifying function is a relic of the exclusive .com era."

Jeffrey I.D. Lewis. AIPLA

Read more about AIPLA's opinion here.

Does anyone believe that Johnson & Johnson would voluntarily give up a virtual trademark on ".baby"?

various baby domain names graphic

In any case, as per this graphic representing just 15 possible websites, all the best "baby" names will be registered within the first five years — what could possibly be left for Johnson & Johnson's competitors — apart from their brand names?

Application Excerpt

"The intended future mission and purpose of the .BABY gTLD is to serve as a trusted, hierarchical, and intuitive namespace provided by Johnson & Johnson and its qualified subsidiaries and affiliates for its consumers, healthcare professionals, and retailers with access to authoritative and verified baby-related health, wellness, and skincare information, education, content, and products.

"It is anticipated by JJSI that changes to the domain name industry, and particularly the impact of new .GENERIC gTLDs, will take at least five years to be realized and assessed. Any decision to expand the gTLDs beyond corporate, partner, and licensee use would likely be predicated by a Johnson & Johnson market analysis...

"JJSI is committed to providing domain name registration services in accordance with the periods set forth in the Registry Agreement and providing domain name registrants with pricing notice and predictability. However... JJSI' current best thinking envisions offering domain name registration services only to Johnson & Johnson and its qualified subsidiaries, affiliates, and partners at first. Therefore, having an existing relationship with Johnson & Johnson would initially be a condition precedent for the ability to register a .BABY domain name...

"If JJSI moves forward with a validation process whereby parties outside the proposed network of Johnson & Johnson partners, without such a stringent commercial agreement, are permitted to register and use .BABY domain names...(etc) in connection with potential premium generic or geographic domain names there may be additional requirements that would legally bind these registrants in connection with the registration and use of these domain names..."

Excerpt source:, Johnson & Johnson's .baby application


General objections to the concept of closed gTLDs speak volumes:

"For end-users, if ICANN allows closed generic TLDs to proceed; the end-user's freedom of enjoying benefits from the Internet will also become restricted. Choice is what end-users want, not filtered information from a specific company."

Japan Association of New Economy. Read more here.

"The internet has been positively transformative for business and society as a whole. For the most part one of its defining and precious characteristics has been that it allows all comers to compete on a fair platform. Is it now to be turned into a marketplace that is 'owned' by a small number of (the) world's largest brands who have bought the market and where new enterprises are commercially disadvantaged and consumers are restricted in choice?"

Irish Internet Association. Read more here.

You could be a professor of Pediatrics, but be prohibited from owning

You could work for a company like Heinz, but your firm be prohibited from owning or


Amazon, Google and Symantec have all applied to operate .cloud as a closed registry. This gTLD battle will certainly be an interesting spectacle to watch.

Closed Application Excerpts

Amazon: "All domains in the .CLOUD registry will remain the property of Amazon."

Google: "Charleston Road Registry (Google) believes that given its specific use, the .cloud gTLD will best add value to the gTLD space by limiting all second-level domains to the sole use of pointing to Google’s cloud offerings. Google will manage a process whereby users will be able to make use of unique vanity names in the gTLD; such second-level domains will only point to users’ unique Google’s cloud services accounts..."

(Approved Google customers will be able to access .cloud domains, but only to access Google cloud services - Ed.)

Symantec: "Symantec intends to initially limit registration and use of domain names within the .CLOUD gTLD to Symantec and its qualified subsidiaries and affiliates..."

(After five years, Symantec may consider opening the registry to other parties. This seems highly unlikely unless they are compelled to do so. The anti-competitive advantages could be very high and the application contains an exit clause. See Johnson & Johnson's application for .baby above or Symantec's application for .security on the Misc strings 2 page which appear to be identical in strategy for further analysis - Ed.)

Excerpt sources:, Amazon, Google and Symantec's .cloud applications


Unlike many other industries, the IT industry is well aware of the coming .cloud TLD and the fact that it may become a closed registry. Hence, there is strong opposition from many players, such as this objection from OpenForum Europe:

"...In the case of .cloud, we would suggest that allowing a single company to act as sole registrar and registrant not only acts in direct counter to all the openness fundamentals of the Internet... but that it will potentially allow that company to restrict its usage only to its sole benefit or to selected companies which are willing to pledge support to a particular choice of software platform or approach promoted by the .cloud owner. We believe that this could quickly lead to a single dominant supplier initiating controls (under the guise of marketing) which would be seen as anti-competitive...

"We should be supporting choice and competition, not working against it."

Details: ICANN Forum 6 page.

You can read ICANN's full list of domain string applications here.

Pool's list of applications for the new gTLDs can be read here.

BrandShield's chart showing which applications are open and which are closed can be read here.

SPECIAL NOTE: The author has not read all individual applications in their entirety and does not necessarily authoritatively know which applicants if any are applying for exclusive ownership of these domains. The author does not state or imply that any of the applicants is seeking to establish a monopoly in any of these wide-ranging fields. Only that it is not expressly prohibited by ICANN's application process, and that some of the world's largest corporations intend to acquire and implement various gTLDs privately and exclusively as described in various application documents. The consequences of this are quite unknown since there is no precedent for the scale of the rollout. Speculation on this page also applies in principle to many other domain string applications, and as stated elsewhere, this website is not comprehensive and if you have an interest in any specific industry you should conduct your own careful research.



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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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