Amazon, Google warned as government panel files more than 250 objections to custom top-level domains

Amazon, Google warned as government panel files more than 250 objections to custom top-level domains

Five months after Internet advisory organisation ICANN revealed a huge list of companies seeking to register custom generic top-level domains (gTLDs) — including Apple, Google and Microsoft — a government panel has filed objections against more than 250 domains, giving potential registrants the chance to address issues or withdraw their application.

The Government Advisory Committee (GAC), which represents around 50 of the world’s governments, filed its “Early Warnings” earlier today, explaining issues it had with geographic registrations, associations with words that have “overtly negative or critical connotations,” or connections to a broad market sector.

Internet retail giant Amazon features heavily, seeing its proposals to register .app, .book, .cloud .mobile .movie, .game and .mail, as well as 23 other domains criticised. For many, the GAC sees the “proposed string” as a “common generic term relating to a market sector.”

The GAC explains:

Amazon EU S.à r.l. is proposing to exclude any other entities, including potential competitors, from using the TLD – restricting common generic strings for the exclusive use of a single entity could have unintended consequences, including a negative impact on competition.

Early warnings provide a mechanism to initiate a discussion between a government and an applicant on particular issues or questions. It is intended that a constructive dialogue through this process will assist applicants to better understand the concerns of governments, and help governments to better understand the planned operation of proposed gTLDs.

Google is also listed, but only under its shadow company called “Charleston Road Registry Inc.” Google has been warned for its intention to register .app, .blog, .search and .cloud gTLDs.

For each domain, the GAC explains how the company would be able to remedy the situation. In Amazon and Google’s case, it is told that if it would have to make .app (and other generic domains) available to its competitors, ensuring it doesn’t “set anti-competitive or discriminatory conditions relating to access by third parties.”

If Amazon or Google doesn’t agree to address the GAC’s concerns, they can withdraw their submission and reclaim 80% of the $185,000 application fee.

Perusing the list, it is easy to see why the GAC has filed so many concerns. Many domains cover country and city names, which in some cases aren’t registered by a company acting in the interests of a local authority. Representatives from each country belonging to the GAC are able to support the early warnings, requiring the registrant to take action.

Other interesting warnings include the use of .wtf, .fail, .islam, .sucks, .hair and .makeup (to name a few).

In the tech world, applications came from the likes of Amazon (.amazon, .zappos and more), Google (.google, .youtube, .android and more), Apple (.apple), Yahoo (.yahoo) and Yandex (.yandex). Google and Amazon registered the most, applied for 101 and 76 gTLDs respectively.

ICANN believes that despite the number of objections, the first wave of domains will go live from the first half of 2013.

Image Credit: AFP/Getty

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