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 Amazons Intellectual Property group and allocated in line with Amazons business goals...
"Domains in the .BOOK registry will be provisioned to support the business goals of Amazon..."
Source: Pool.com, 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 HarryPotter.book 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 Baby.com.
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:
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"?
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?
"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: Pool.com, 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 Pediatrics.baby.
You could work for a company like Heinz, but your firm be prohibited from owning Heinz.baby or BabyFood.baby.
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 Googles 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 Googles 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: Pool.com, 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.
SuperMonopolies.com A hypothetical analysis of the new top level domain names coming in 2013-14.
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