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hypothetical ad for
No, this is not yet a real music ad.

It may come to pass that a single company will own, in perpetuity, and to the exclusion of the musicians themselves, every single .music domain in the world.

Madonna will be prohibited from owning Paul McCartney will be prohibited from owning Gibson the guitar company will not be allowed to own and the same scenario applies to every music label, shop and promoter.

All under the watch of ICANN by the authority of the US Department of Commerce.


Amazon has applied to operate the .music domains as closed gTLDs. There are seven other applications for .music — all of which are either fully open or "restricted/open" (meaning they do have some eligibility requirements).

NOTE — Amazon has also applied to operate both .song and .tunes as closed registries, and there are no other applicants for these two strings. If the company succeeds in acquiring all three extensions, it will obviously accrue significant commercial power across the entire music industry.

Application Excerpt

"The mission of the .MUSIC registry is: To provide a unique and dedicated platform for Amazon while simultaneously protecting the integrity of its brand and reputation.

"A .MUSIC registry will:...

...Enable Amazon to protect its intellectual property rights.

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

".MUSIC domains may not be delegated or assigned to third party organizations, institutions, or individuals."

Excerpt source:, Amazon's .music application


It seems extraordinary that ICANN rules may prohibit such diverse entities and people such as the Bolshoi Ballet, Warner Music, Bruce Springsteen, Sony, Sydney Opera House, Apple, Gracelands, Beyonce, Fender and EMI from owning a .music domain.

So much for ICANN's firm commitment to competition...

Here is one objection:

"...Amazon has applied for 3 culturally significant music-themed gTLDs (.MUSIC, .SONG and .TUNES) that affect the entire music sector and are attempting to corner the entire music domain space by closing all 3 music-themed gTLDs for the purpose of advancing only Amazon’s goals...

"The notion of the second largest digital music retailer controlling and owning every artist’s name and valuable music-related keyword in the second-level across three — not one — 'closed' music-themed gTLDs in perpetuity creates material economic and cultural harm to the legitimate interests of the entire music community..."

Constantine Roussos, DOT MUSIC

Details: ICANN Forum 1 page.

Compare excerpts from Amazon's application above with this excerpt from DOT MUSIC's rival application:

"Balanced domain registration restrictions and a broad Music Community definition ensures the entire Music Community can register .MUSIC domains, provides fairness in .MUSIC domain availability, advantaged branding position, avoid anti-competitive concerns and anti-trust actions."

Source:, DOT MUSIC 's .music application

Here is another objection, this one from a coalition of groups representing hundreds of independent music labels:

"...We write to request that ICANN not accept any bids... that have a likelihood of creating material detriment to the rights or legitimate interests of the music community. Concerns include:

"...Monopoly issues and registration policies that exclude significant portions of the music community from participating or registering their name(s) under the music-themed TLD..."

American Association of Independent Music plus global groups including WIN, AIM and IMPALA

Details: ICANN Forum 3 page.

NOTE — Amazon also has closed applications in process for the .song and .tunes gTLDs — just a few of their applications to control no less than 76 domain extensions.

.INSURANCE (withdrawn)

SPECIAL NOTE — Progressive Casualty Insurance Company had an application in place to operate .insurance as a closed gTLD, but withdrew their application in March 2013.

See TheDomains for the story.

Closed Extension Excerpt

"Progressive plans to operate the proposed .insurance gTLD as a restricted, exclusively controlled TLD and as such, the second-level domain names within the gTLD will not be commercially offered for registration to the general public...

"...Given the customer experience offered by Progressive, competitors and other entities in the industry will be pushed to offer better customer service as well, to the benefit of the entire public at large...

"The proposed .insurance gTLD will enable consumers to gather information and shop for insurance with the peace of mind of knowing that the gTLD is a restricted, exclusively controlled online environment, run by a trusted brand and industry participant."

Progressive Casualty Insurance Company

Excerpt source:, Progressive .insurance application


Progressive may well have withdrawn its application to avoid defying the American Insurance Association (AIA), who actually singled out Progressive specifically in their objection on an ICANN forum:

"The business of insurance is a highly regulated industry that relies on competition and consumer trust. As such, delegating generic strings such as .insurance... for the exclusive use of a single entity not only undermines the purpose and goals of the new gTLD program, but also challenges the basic foundation of the insurance industry. For example, Progressive’s application for .insurance...

"...Consumers will likely be misled into believing that one entity represents the entire insurance industry, has established measures that have set them apart from (or is safer than) the rest of the industry, or has somehow obtained governmental license or endorsement that it is superior to other members of the larger insurance community."

Read details on the ICANN Forum 4 page.

There is also a powerful objection by Prudential on the ICANN Forum 6 page.





Miscellaneous Closed gTLD Applications (2)


Lifestyle Domain Holdings Inc has applied to operate .food as a closed registry.

Application Excerpt

"... .food will be a Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc., ('SNI') branded top level domain and intend to function, per the ICANN-Registry Operator Registry Agreement, as a Specification 9 exempt system that will seek to provide internet users with the confidence that all of the programming, information, social media, shopping and lifestyle opportunities found on the .food branded top level domain is authentic, genuine, safe and secure and affiliated with SNI's family of lifestyle brands.

"...Applicant intends to function in such a way that all domain name registrations in the TLD shall be registered to and maintained by Applicant and Applicant will not sell, distribute or transfer control of domain name registrations to any party that is not an Affiliate of Applicant as defined in the ICANN-Registry Operator Registry Agreement. All domain name registrations intended to be used within Applicant's registry will be registered to and controlled and maintained by Applicant and for the benefit of Applicant and its users, parents, sisters and Affiliates."

Excerpt source:, Lifestyle Domain Holdings' .food application


Dot Food LLC, which has applied for an open registry for .food, has this to say about the rival closed application:

"...Restricting the use of generic words 'food', 'book', 'author', 'security', 'hair', 'read' and more to the furtherance of the 'stated goals' of a single business, or for the personal gain of any one business at the cost of competition, is in no way beneficial to the public interest.

"...the .FOOD closed gTLD is nothing more than an attempt to restrict competition and innovation for content, instruction, education, and programming on the Internet.

"The concept of a closed gTLD is diametrically opposed to the stated core values established by ICANN in fulfilling its mission. Assignment of any closed gTLD will squelch competition and innovation on the Internet."

Details: ICANN Forum 6 page.

It doesn't matter if you are a farmer or a grocery store, a chef or a supermarket. It won't make a difference if you are a doctor, scientist or nutritionist. If Lifestyle Domain Holdings Inc takes exclusive control of the .food extension, then you and everyone else will be shut out — even the Food & Drug Administration.


Richemont DNS Inc has applied to operate the .jewelry domain string as a closed registry.

Richemont is the world's third largest luxury goods company and owner of brands such as Cartier. Exclusive ownership of the entire range of .jewelry websites, like the examples in the graphic above, while simultaneously prohibiting their competitors from the space, should certainly assist their business interests.

Application Excerpt

"...All registrants of second level domain names will be affiliates of Richemont DNS or will be parties operating under a written contractual agreement specifically allowing the registration of a second level domain name within this registry...

"The .Jewelry registry will be a standard, i.e. not a community-based, restricted registry...

"The success of the .Jewelry registry will be determined by the enhancement in the equity of Richemont's jewelry making businesses and in terms of the security and stability it brings to our communications with customers, the press, and governments. Since there will be no market in second level domain name registrations in this registry, success will not be measured by the number of second level domain name registrations.

"...The goal is to position Richemont DNS, on behalf of our specialist jewelers, to exploit this latest internet advance in order to further enhance the Richemont group brands and reputation...

"...It is not intended that .Jewelry domains will be made available to anyone beyond Richemont or Richemont DNS. It could be that we will use .Jewelry domains to promote recognition of our affiliated network of authorized dealers in time but again Richemont DNS will be in control.

"...We have no plans to sell .Jewelry domains. We are applying to protect and enhance our position as a leading creator of jewelry of the highest quality. There will be no market in .Jewelry domains.

"...We are applying for .Jewelry to support Richemont’s strategic goals and to protect Richemont’s IP not to generate revenues from selling domains..."

Excerpt source:, Richemont's .jewelry application


"We think that allowing a single Registrant to have an exclusive control over a 'closed generic' TLD would award an unfair competitive advantage on this organization to the detriment of the industry as a whole...

"In the case of a 'closed generic' TLD .WATCHES, the exclusivity granted to Richemont DNS Inc. to have sole use of the TLD in the Watch industry would create an unfair advantage, and be detrimental to the industry as a whole."


Details: ICANN Forum 5 page.

NOTE — Besides .jewelry, Richemont has also applied to own a closed registry for the .watches domain extension and here is an excerpt:

"The success of the .Watches registry will be determined by the enhancement in the equity of Richemont's watch making businesses and in terms of the security and stability it brings to our communications... Since there will be no market in second level domain name registrations in this registry, success will not be measured by the number of second level domain name registrations.

"It is not intended that .Watches domains will be made available to anyone beyond Richemont or Richemont DNS."

Excerpt source:, Richemont's .watches application

The Retail Council of Canada "...believes that competition will suffer if gTLDs that comprise important industry terms are granted. In particular, important pathways between retailers and online customers will be unavailable to competitors, and the registry operator will gain an unfair advantage in direct navigation and online search. It will also effectively gain exclusive rights to be associated with the kind of products or services they offer, which is something that could not be achieved through trade mark laws in Canada."

Retail Council of Canada

(The RCC represents the interests of 45,000 stores in Canada - Ed.)

Details: ICANN Forum 4 page.


Symantec Corporation has applied to operate the .security domains as closed gTLDs.

Application Excerpt

"...The .SECURITY gTLD will become one of Symantec’s core assets...

"Symantec intends to initially limit registration and use of domain names within the .SECURITY gTLD to Symantec and its qualified subsidiaries and affiliates. This initial limited use will allow Symantec to establish its operations and achieve full sustainability...

"After Stage 2... Symantec will evaluate whether opportunities exist to carry out the business strategy for the gTLD... through fee-based registrations to parties other than Symantec and its qualified subsidiaries and affiliates.

1. Stage 1
The initial stage of implementation of the gTLD will involve Symantec registering a limited number of .SECURITY second-level domain names...

2. Stage 2
Once all testing has been successfully completed, Symantec will begin allocating domain names in .SECURITY for more widespread internal corporate use. It is in Stage 2 that Symantec will evaluate expanding the operations of the gTLD to permit registration by other registrants such as licensees and/or strategic partners. Should an assessment of its expansion strategy lead to a decision to extend registration rights to other parties, this expansion is currently planned to take place during Stage 3...

3. Stage 3
Based on its evaluations, Symantec will assess and determine whether its business plan and expansion strategy should be augmented by extending registration rights to a broader class of licensees, strategic partners, customers of Symantec, and/or other third parties. It is anticipated by Symantec that changes to the domain name industry, and particularly the impact of generic term gTLDs, will take at least five years to be realized and assessed..."

Source:, Symantec's .security application


Symantec says they will operate .security domains exclusively for the first five years, if not forever. And only if it matches its "business plan and expansion strategy". Even if they do eventually open up the registry (which seems unlikely unless they are forced to do so) they will still enjoy five long years of first mover advantage and close association with the word "security" among consumers. Not to mention they would have five long years to identify and secure the most valuable security names, leaving only the leftovers.

The application has received strong opposition from many other security companies, particularly those in the physical bricks and mortar alarms and security industry.

For example, this objection from the Alarm Industry Communications Committe (AICC):

"ESA and CSAA, representing the alarm monitoring and installation industry sector, collectively have 2434 member companies providing alarm service to the public. Together with these trade association members, AICC member companies protect a wide range of sensitive facilities and their occupants from fire, burglaries, sabotage and other emergencies. Protected facilities include government offices, power plants, hospitals, dam and water authorities, pharmaceutical plants, chemical plants, banks, schools and universities.

"...Such denial of access would lead to consumer confusion, and place security companies at a competitive disadvantage in marketing their services on the Internet."

Details: ICANN Forum 1 page.

There you have the truth. If ICANN allows closed gTLDs to proceed, a legitimate security company with armed guards will be blocked from using a .security domain to promote its business aims.

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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