- The Board and Government Advisory Committee of ICANN
ICANN: Stop Corporatization of New Web Addresses
Help us Preserve the Open Internet Namespaces
Large Companies are Attempting to Takeover Top New Internet Names.
Do you think Amazon should own every website that ends with .music, .shop, or .book? Should L'oreal have exclusive right to every .salon, .beauty, .skin website address?
A Transformative Change to the Internet is Coming
Most people are unaware that the internet as we know it is about to undergo a monumental transformation. The organization that governs all internet addresses – including every .com website, every .org, .de, .jp, .cn website, is called ICANN, or The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
ICANN is allowing over 1000 New Top Level Domains (TLDs – what comes after the dot in a web address) to be introduced to the internet. Most experts agree this is the biggest change to the internet since it began.
These new website name endings will occupy the space that "com" takes in website name addresses today. about ICANN New gTLDs
Instead of a site name that ends with 'com', websites will be able to have address suffixes that represent brands (.Google, .Gucci), cities (.NYC, .Vegas, .London), consumer niches (.book, .music, .baby), interests (.art, .recipes, .game) and hundreds more. One could register and use 'not-com' names such as www.sightseeing.london, or www.hiphop.music as a web address. See the list of proposed new domains.
The purpose of this program was to create a fresh supply of website name options for people and businesses so they could choose a good website name at an affordable price. The domain name market today is overcrowded and new online businesses have difficulty finding a good name address for their website.
Corporate Takeover Attempts
But some companies are trying to exploit loopholes in the process to control these namespaces entirely for themselves, shutting out individuals and other businesses from these valuable new web addresses.
If companies like Amazon and others have their way, there will be no .MUSIC website names available for musicians and bands, No .SALON domain names for real salon owners, no .APP web addresses for app developers. There are over 100 high profile New TLDs that companies are trying to prevent anyone else from using.
Risks of Harm – Competition, Expression
These attempts to restrict access are an abuse of the system and pose great risk of harm to business, consumers and internet users globally. New generic word top level domain names should be open to the general public to use. Individuals and small businesses should be able to use .music, movie .shop and .whatever to create, innovate, and promote their business or interests online. These takeover attempts have potential to give large companies enormous power in their respective markets. If Amazon alone controls all web addresses ending with .music, .app, .book and others they will wield an enormous competitive advantage in these markets online. The result would be further consolidation of wealth at the top.
Corporate takeover here will also stifle creativity and expression online. How could one company alone possibly determine all possible creative applications of website names that end with .video, .store, .song and more? Artists should be able to use .art names to showcase their craft. App developers should be able to get a .app domain name for their new app website. There are millions of new small businesses that could use a .SHOP name for their website. But Amazon wants them all. No single company should be sole arbiter of how these new names can be used for innovation, expression and commerce.
New TLDs in languages like Chinese and Japanese are at risk also. Large corporations are asking to close off Chinese domain symbols; .家電(consumer electronics) .手表(watches) .書籍(book) .珠宝(jewelry) .食品(food) .通販(online shopping) and Japanese characters; .クラウド (.cloud), .ストア (.store), .セール (.sale ), .ファッション (.fashion ).
People and businesses in Japan and China would not even have access to use website names in their own language! The very group that these new names are supposed to serve will be shut out from them.
- Update - ICANN has opened a comment period on this subject. Submit your views directly to ICANN here.
ICANN Must Listen
ICANN and its Government Advisory Committee are obligated to protect the public interest and listen to public comment. This petition can make a difference!
If you believe that generic word namespaces should not be controlled by one company exclusively – that authors or booksellers should be able to use a website name ending with .book – musicians, bands and promoters should have the right to choose a .music domain ending for their site - that a fashion designer in Japan should be able to get a .ファッション (.fashion ) website name . . .
Please, let your voice be heard. Sign the petition, Tell your friends, family and associates.
We hope to deliver a strong message - with over 100,000 signatures by April 2013 to ICANN to protect this global public resource.
Help Us preserve open generic internet namespaces for individuals and small business.
- The Board and Government Advisory Committee of ICANN
I strongly urge ICANN to reject New Top Level Domain applications for words that represent a broad market sector or have broad use and meaning, and that for which the applicant has no trademark rights and is proposing a closed registry business model.
I do so for the following reasons:
1.Closed generic word registries defeat the mission and purpose of ICANN, The New gTLD Program and are not consistent with the Affirmation of Commitments with the U.S. Dept of Commerce.
2.Closed broad market generic registries are harmful to the public interest in that they will restrict freedom of expression, innovation, opportunity and will result in unfair competition in the market sectors represented by the TLD.
The purpose of the New gTLD Program as stated on the ICANN New gTLD site, "is to promote competition in the domain name market.".
Two of ICANN's Core Values:
"[f]. Introduce and promote competition in the registration of domain names where practicable and beneficial.
[g]. Where feasible, depend on market mechanisms to promote and sustain a competitive environment."
From the Affirmation of Committments:
"3. This document affirms key commitments by DOC and ICANN, including commitments to: (a) ensure that decisions made related to the global technical coordination of the DNS are made in the public interest and are accountable and transparent; (b) preserve the security, stability and resiliency of the DNS; (c) promote competition, consumer trust, and consumer choice in the DNS marketplace; . ."
The ICANN New gTLD Program was initiated to bring much needed competition to the end user domain name marketplace. Closed generic word registries defeat these purposes and are harmful to the public interest. By their definition, closed registries do not add supply and choice to the end user market for domain names. They will exert no pressure on pricing in the domain name marketplace.
There is great potential for public harm in the form of restricting freedom of expression and innovation as well as unfair competition in industries represented by a TLD.
In a world where the right of the dot helps users to identify relevant content on the web; where short descriptive domain names using a generic address ending could be available, there will be no equal substitute to .APP for an app developer or promoter. There will be no equal substitute to .SALON for a brick and mortar salon business. The same will be true for each industry or topic related to every generic word top level domain. .MUSIC domain names should be available for anyone involved in the music industry, or simply lovers of music to use as an address on the world wide web.
No single company or organization should be sole arbiter of all possible uses of domain names under the .music TLD. The same is true for all topical category generic word top level domains.
For non-latin character sets in languages such as Chinese and Japanese, closed registries for .クラウド (.CLOUD), .ストア (.STORE) .セール (.SALE), .ファッション (.FASHION), .家電 (.ELECTRONICS), .書籍 (.BOOK), .通販 (.MailOrder), .食品 (.FOOD) will place entire cultural identities at risk. There will be loss of opportunity for people and business in that native language to express, pursue and flourish in top level namespaces designed for them. This should not be allowed.
New Top Level Domains for generic words that define broad markets or topics, and have many possible uses and applications such as .app, .blog, .music, .shop, .ファッション, .食品 and others should be open for registration and use by the broad public, not controlled and exploited by one organization exclusively.
I urge you to disqualify and reject all TLD applications that seek to close generic word registries to public use.
Tom Gilles started this petition with a single signature, and now has 312 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.