Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Publishers Object to Amazon’s Top-Level Domain Plans

Last year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, invited organizations to submit applications for new top-level domains that would provide alternatives to .com, .org, .edu, etc. within Web addresses. Amazon submitted applications to run numerous domains, but now those plans are coming under fire.

The Wall Street Journal’s Greg Bensinger reported, “Two publishing industry groups, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, are objecting to the online retailer’s request for ownership of new top-level domain names that are part of a long-awaited expansion of the Web’s addressing scheme. They argue that giving Amazon control over such addresses—which include ‘.book,’ ‘.author’ and ‘.read’—would be a threat to competition and shouldn’t be allowed. ‘Placing such generic domains in private hands is plainly anticompetitive,’ wrote Scott Turow, Authors Guild president, to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, the nonprofit that oversees the world’s Internet domain names. ‘The potential for abuse seems limitless.'”

TGDaily’s Emma Woollacott added, “Barnes & Noble has already made a similar complaint, as has the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF). Amazon’s take on the matter is that there’s no more monopolization going on than there ever has been: that owning ‘.widget’ is no different in principle than owning ‘widget.com.'”

The Daily Mail’s Daniel Bates explained, “Last year, nearly 2,000 businesses and groups submitted bids for about 1,400 different names. The initial domains, expected in mid-2013, will likely be in Chinese and other languages besides English, said Fadi Chehade, CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. That will be followed within weeks by English suffixes that do not have competing bidders.”

Roger Kay with Forbes noted, “Other companies besides Amazon are looking at similar land grabs. Microsoft is, of course, interested in locking up .microsoft, but also has applied for .bing, .azure, .docs, .live, .office, .windows, and several others. Google doesn’t show up as an applicant, but applications can be made by proxy, and the search company isn’t going to be fenced out of this latest bonanza. Domains .goog, and .google fall into applications by Charleston Road Registry Inc., which also has .youtube, .store, .search, .plus, and, in competition with Microsoft, .docs among its approximately 100 registrations. Charleston Road happens to be based in Mountain View, CA, the same town as Google’s headquarters.”

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