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

The hypothetical ad concept above illustrates just one of the hundreds of tire websites that will soon be launched on the internet. Its inherent value is starkly obvious. Simplicity and memorability are what domain names are all about.

exploding tires buttonIf either Goodyear or Bridgestone succeed in their exclusive walled garden domain applications, one of them will control every variation of the .tires string with obvious and significant benefits for their own market share. With further huge residual benefits in terms of excluding their competitors from the space. And not just competitors — no consumer rights group (or even Dave Letterman) will be permitted to register for example.

Put simply, owning every single .tires website in the world will create a massive chance for one leading company to out manoeuver all its competitors in one fell swoop.

A gTLD list of applications for the new domains such as .tires can be read at

Donuts open .tires Application

Fortunately, there is one single application for an open registry for .tires. However, this application by Donuts LLC seems unlikely to succeed in the face of competition from two of the industry's cashed up tire giants. They simply have far more to gain from possession of the string and a great deal to lose by failing. Heavily edited excerpts from Donuts' application follow:

"Donuts Inc. is the parent applicant for this and multiple other TLDs. The company intends to increase competition and consumer choice at the top level...

ICANN and the new TLD program share the following purposes:...

"2. helping to ensure there is a vibrant competitive marketplace to efficiently bring the benefits of the namespace to registrants and users alike.

"ICANN harnesses the power of private enterprise to bring forth these public benefits. While pursuing its interests, Donuts helps ICANN accomplish its objectives by:

"1. Significantly widening competition and choice in Internet identities with hundreds of new top-level domain choices...

"... the TLD will introduce significant consumer choice and competition to the Internet namespace — the very purpose of ICANN’s new TLD program.

"This TLD is a generic term and its second level names will be attractive to a variety of Internet users. Making this TLD available to a broad audience of registrants is consistent with the competition goals of the New TLD expansion program, and consistent with ICANN’s objective of maximizing Internet participation. Donuts believes in an open Internet and, accordingly, we will encourage inclusiveness in the registration policies for this TLD...

As a senior government authority has recently said, “a successful applicant is entrusted with operating a critical piece of global Internet infrastructure.” Donuts’ plan and intent is for this TLD to serve the international community by bringing new users online...

...the Donuts approach is inclusive, and second level registrations in this TLD will be available to any responsible registrant with an affinity for this string...

"...Donuts will not limit eligibility or otherwise exclude legitimate registrants in second level names.

"Question 18(c): What operating rules will you adopt to eliminate or minimize social costs?

"Generally, during the Sunrise phase of this TLD, Donuts will conduct an auction if there are two or more competing applications from validated trademark holders for the same second level name. Alternatively, if there is a defined trademark classification reflective of this TLD, Donuts may give preference to second-level applicants with rights in that classification of goods and services. Post-Sunrise, requests for registration will generally be on a first-come, first-served basis."

("generally" — my emphasis, sounds like an exit clause — ED)

SPECIAL NOTE: I didn't read the entire Donuts application and did not notice any reference to any .tires domains Donuts may intend to withhold (if any). I also didn't see any reference to the procedure Donuts plans to follow when multiple applicants want the same domain name, such as, and Presumably there will be auctions held as with trademark domains as mentioned above. ICANN should have created a mandatory blueprint for this vital issue.

The significant question arises, if Donuts is somehow successful in acquiring the .tires string, will the richest tire company simply circumvent this obstacle and obtain most of the best .tires domains via the auction process for their own enviable market advantage? Will ICANN move to counter this possibility to achieve its stated claim of promoting competition and choice?

Excerpt source:, Donuts' .tire application

tires pull quote graphic

The Corporations That Didn't Apply

Only two actual tire companies have applied for the .tires domain string and hence other tire companies are likely to be completely excluded from this valuable internet play. And for reasons explained at right, it is very unlikely that the sole application for an open registry on the .tires string will succeed against the closed registry applications by two of the largest tire giants.

In short, either all Bridgestone's or all Goodyear's competitors will probably be completely excluded from the .tires category.

If Bridgestone wins, there will be no or

If Goodyear wins, there will be no or

In either scenario, there will be no,, or many other brands which did not apply. Further, they will be prohibited from doing so by their competitor's closed registry.

See also a note about Michelin's strong objection at right.




.Tires domains

Two closed registry applications — one open

It's interesting to analyse a specific product domain string like "tires" as compared to category generics like "store" and "beauty" as examined on other pages.

There are two applications for closed registries for the valuable .tires domain names. Unsurprisingly, they are from two of the world's largest tire companies — Bridgestone (#1) and Goodyear (#3).

There is just one application for an open registry — from Donuts LLC — and this contrasting application is covered in the column at left. Despite their name, Donuts is not a tire company.

car tires buttonEvery single tire domain illustrated by the chrome buttons on this page is very likely to be owned in exclusivity by just one company. Whichever company becomes the dot tires registry will then control every conceivable dot tires domain in the world.

Despite their repeated claims to be committed to competition as shown on the ICANN Claims page, ICANN has accepted the $185,000 application fees from Bridgestone and Goodyear for "walled garden" registries. So one wealthy company will most likely own the following websites (and hundreds more) with all its competitors conveniently locked out from the tire channel:

new tire domain samples

SPECIAL NOTE: Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) also owns Firestone and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company owns Dunlop, Kelly, Debica, Sava and Fulda.

tire domain examples

Asymmetric Domain Applications

The problem with this three way contest — as with some other domain contests — is the fact that it is very unequal.

For the two closed registry applicants, the .tires string is a "must have". The potential income and future business flowing from exclusive ownership of the string could run into the billions. No-one knows exactly how successful the new domain names will be, but the $350 million already collected by ICANN merely in application fees from many of the world's most successful and innovative corporations gives an indication of the anticipated scope.

If the .tires extension goes to auction between Bridgestone and Goodyear, there is no real reason it won't go for hundreds of millions of dollars. Because a monopoly in the lucrative tire market would be worth that much. But it would be bad luck for the unfortunate tire companies and tire dealers who aren't affiliated with the winning bidder.

The key point is — the rewards for Goodyear or Bridgestone to win possession of .tires could be quite massive, looking ahead 20 years and beyond at the next generation of the web. In contrast, the benefits for Donuts in owning the .tires string would be relatively modest, a fraction of the value that could accrue for the giant tire companies. In any case, Donuts have raised only about $100m to be spread around their 300 or so applications for domain strings. Their budget for the .tires domains will surely be vastly exceeded by Goodyear or Bridgestone.

And so Donuts will almost certainly be outbid for the extension by one of the tire conglomerates. So much for competition, so much for ICANN's commitment with the US Department of Commerce.

Over time, through powerful advertising of the extension .tires, it's likely that Bridgestone or Goodyear will seem to be synonymous with the word "tires" — a powerful way to dramatically increase market share. Read more about this type of "virtual trademark" on the Brands page... I wish I could express this principle as well as Parminder Jeet Singh does on the Beauty String page.

joes tires buttonSo how does all this affect Joe Shmoe? Let's say Joe has a gas station in Santa Monica. He will be prohibited from owning and he will be able to blame ICANN policies as authorized by the US Department of Commerce. won't be permitted in Paris. won't be permitted in Shanghai. won't be permitted in Ireland.

There are almost 30,000 independent tire dealers in the US alone. All these dealers will likely be blocked from any use of .tires domain names.

SPECIAL NOTE: Tire is spelt "tyre" in some countries such as Australia.

Bridgestone closed .tires application

Bridgestone is the world’s largest tire and rubber company. Edited excerpts from their .tires application follow:

"The .tires gTLD will create a new generation gTLD serving the interests of end users by providing an authoritative Internet space where information regarding Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC (BATO), its Bridgestone and Firestone tires brands, maintenance information & services will be closely controlled by BATO.

"BATO’s mission and purpose of the proposed .tires gTLD share ICANN’s initiatives to promote public interest. BATO is committed to contribute towards achieving such initiatives in line with ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments, which includes:

"- consumer trust: the .tires gTLD registry will be operated in a centralised manner with a restrictive registration policy. Registration of domain names will only be available to BATO, at this stage, which will provide added consumer trust that .tires domain names are trustworthy...

"- competition: the proposed new gTLD is not intended to instigate competition and consumer choice at the level of registration of domain names among prospective registrants...

bridgestone tires quote"- consumer choice: the proposed new gTLD will enable user-driven improvements and innovations assisting BATO’s marketing efforts through its ability to create new second and third level domain names on demand. These names will provide the consumers with more choices for interacting with BATO. As BATO has effective control over the registration and use of domain names under .tires domain space, this will also contribute towards general service innovations on the internet...

"The key goals of the proposed new .tires gTLD are in line with ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments: to promote consumer trust, competition and consumer choice.


"It is anticipated that the proposed .tires gTLD will make positive contributions to the wider internet community by providing:


"The differentiation of .tires gTLD as a trusted site for BATO will drive existing and new TLD registry operators to make improvements in mechanisms to improve consumer trust of their TLDs. Internet users will be encouraged to interact with domain names under .tires domain space. As a result, .tires will have a flow on effect to enable increased competition. Therefore, the benefits of the proposed .tires will be distributed not only to its direct customers, but to the internet community at large forcing improved services and competitive pricing in the market place."

STRATEGIC INSIGHT: Here is Bridgestone's explanation for wanting .tires to be a private internet with their competitors locked out — by owning all the tire domain names, Bridgestone says competition will actually increase due to a "flow on effect". The added advantage for internet users is that other tire companies will be forced to improve services and offer more competitive pricing. That's not the only advantage for web users, they will also have hundreds of new ways to interact with Bridgestone & Firestone websites.

Will ICANN fall for this?

Excerpts source:, Bridgestone's .tire application

Goodyear closed .tires application

Goodyear has 53 factories in 22 countries serving 40,000 outlets.

"The proposed .tires gTLD will be a restricted, exclusively-controlled TLD where Goodyear will have exclusive control.

"Question 18(b):...

"ii. What do you anticipate your proposed gTLD will add to the current space, in terms of competition, differentiation, or innovation?

goodyear tires quote"...Goodyear plans to operate the proposed .tires gTLD as a restricted, exclusively-controlled TLD and as such will not be commercially offered for registration/use by the general public. Thus, Goodyear will have exclusive ownership and control over all second-level registrations within the TLD and their use...

"...Competition – As technology advances, so too do consumer and reseller expectations of companies online. They expect that companies will utilize the latest and greatest technology and online practices to improve the user experience, protect their information and deliver quality service. Goodyear anticipates that the proposed .tires gTLD will enable it to communicate, interact and protect data in ways and under conditions not possible under the existing namespace, thus enabling Goodyear to meet future client expectations and competitive market demands.

"...Differentiation – ...The proposed .tires gTLD will enable clients, authorized retailers, other business partners and Internet users to distinguish on the face of the domain name alone whether the site is an authorized company site because the gTLD will be a restricted, exclusively-controlled online environment where only authorized company web properties and e-mail will exist and operate online.

"Innovation - The proposed .tires gTLD as a restricted, exclusively-controlled TLD will provide Goodyear with a new platform on which to build future innovation of its online brand presence."

STRATEGIC INSIGHT: In its application for the .tires string, Goodyear is asked how its bid adds competitiveness to the web. Goodyear's response is to say that by operating a closed registry it will hence be enabled to meet "competitive market demands."

Source:, Goodyear's .tire application

Michelin Weighs In

In March 2013 Michelin sent an important post to the ICANN forum on closed registries entitled: Michelin Comment on Closed Generic TLDs

Michelin, the world's second largest tire group, has 115,000 employees whose livelihoods depend on the continuing prosperity of the company. They have been using the word "tire" in their communications since 1889.

In its objection, Michelin first stresses the significant and growing importance of the internet channel to its customers for research and purchase and makes this statement: "According to the website Modern Tire Dealer, online retail sales in the US would reach $200 billion in 2012 and $279 billion in 2015."

Michelin then expresses its extreme concern about the potential exclusive use of the .tires string by either Bridgestone or Goodyear with reference to their closed applications:

"6. Monopoly situations are detrimental to consumers

"The main risk of delegating of theses TLDs under the rules requested by the applicants is the capture of the whole tire online sales channel by one of these two operators.

"This would surely have anticompetitive consequences and limit consumer choice across the Internet:

"— competitors will be prevented from using those generic TLDs to compete with the string owner;

"— consumers will have access to offers coming from one single player, which means that they will be captive of one single tire manufacturer.

"Monopoly situations are tackled by legislation or regulations because they are detrimental to consumers. A monopoly on a TLD would probably be in breach of antitrust regulations including the Sherman Antitrust Act in the United-States or the antitrust provisions of articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union."

Read Michelin's complete post about the .tires applications by Bridgestone and Goodyear.

(Emphases by SuperMonopolies.)

The new domains are on the horizon. For years, ICANN has been preaching its commitment to competition. Unfortunately, with reference to multiple applications for closed gTLDs, its actions speak otherwise and ICANN will have to be held to account for this.

You can read ICANN's full list of domain string applications 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 the wide-ranging field of "tires". 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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