Amazon's bid for domains is "anticompetitive"

Amazon's bid to purchase a variety of new top level domains (TLDs) has been criticised by their competition, the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild. Amazon wished to purchase .book, .author. and .read - amongst others, such as .kindle and .prime - from the ICANN auction of new TLDs, with Amazon's rivals, Barnes and Noble, saying that Amazon's bid being successful would "stifle competition in the bookselling and publishing industries." 

Authors Guild president Scott Turow wrote that awarding Amazon such generic TLDs could be "anticompetitive" as the "potential for abuse seems limitless." The Association of American Publishers held similar thoughts, pointing to Amazon's application for the new TLDs which says Amazon has no plans to sell the .book domain to others, allowing Amazon to "strictly control" the use of the domain to further their own business goals. Amazon says that "closed" domains don't equal market power. 

A number of other big tech conglomerates applied for TLDs, including Apple (.apple), Google (.google, .docs, .youtube, .lol) and Microsoft (.xbox and .windows). 

The list successful domain applications will be released on April 23rd

Source: Wall Street Journal Image via жилинский.рф

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22 Comments

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The whole thing is rather stupid, and I think the most impact it will have is phishing and spam schemes being able to use more "sophisticated" fake addresses that casual users (AKA noobs) will have a harder time with.

It isn't like someone is going to go to .book and magically find Amazon, or Google (or Bing) a book and not see Amazon's listing.

What about .gmail? So... yourname@something.gmail instead of yourname@gmail.com? Whoop-dee-doo.

Even the most utilitarian thing I can think of is http://update.windows/ , and that isn't all that much of a real convenience for anyone.

All that will come is more spam, phishing, and confusion.

gonna buy the .asm TLD, so i can create an mailbox like praetor@yourmom.org.asm

also, why ICANN did this? it just promotes chaos.

It isn't Amazon's move that is noncompetitive, but the nature on how ICANN made those custom top-level domains available.

But then, I am not sure how this could be any different. Make them cheaper? Perhaps not through a bidding process? Would that be any fairer? I don't have a formed opinion about it.

Something that the author title missed, on that list are some GTLD's that amazon is applying for that are the same as some of their competitors.

Example: .AUDIBLE

They're not anticompetitive.
Amazon just want the $$$ that comes from those who want to use those particular TLDs.

All the new TLD discussion does is complicate from the registrar back.

I doubt that Amazon only want money from people registering domains. I suspect that with .book, they would probably automatically create ISBN mappings to a .book domains, which simply redirect to Amazon.com's page for that book.

With that said, I don't find it anti-competitive specifically because they have no guarantee to get the TLD. Personally, I think that Amazon would be crazy to not _try_ to get .book before some competitor does. Similarly, I think that Google would be crazy to not _try_ to get .search ( https://gtldresult.icann.org/a...tus/applicationdetails/1431 ). In both cases, I hope that ICANN says no.

It's only anti-competitive when they do something anti-competitive with it. Simply attempting to buy something that gives one a market advantage is not anti-competitive.

After all, take a look at https://gtldresult.icann.org/a...pplicationstatus/viewstatus and one will note that it's not just Amazon that tried to buy .book. It was Amazon and eight other people or businesses. The top one is a much less friendly sounding company, "Top Level Domain Holdings Limited." It appears that Amazon applied for around 100-125 TLDs.

It should be noted that Google also applied for .book, using a third party to do so: Charleston Road Registry Inc. Among many more applied for using that company, they applied for many, like ".dad" and ".you" (arguably shorthand for YouTube, but in context that is unlikely).

I would rather see a Company called "Top Level Domain Holdings Limited" have ALL the TLD's than see one company be able to have complete control of a TLD related to a generic product that they sell.

I would imagine the generic holding company would be far more willing to sell a .anything than someone who sells "anything" would.

On the flip side, would the same be true if the catholic church if they went after .religion?
I wish common noun's and adj could not be used for custom top level domains.

Edited by Jason Stillion, Mar 11 2013, 7:31pm :

Jason Stillion said,
On the flip side, would the same be true if the catholic church if they went after .religion?
I wish common noun's and adj could not be used for custom top level domains.

Imo its a no brainer that common words should not be allowed to be strictly owned by one company. How could amazon owning the books tld even be considered alright? I don't see a problem with Kindle since that's their property though.

CJ33 said,
can you imagine what microsoft's commericals would be like if google decided to go with gmail.lol

You actually raised a very good point. if I own .lol or .crap and start creating sub-domains to ridicule others, how would that go.

Sure that from a technical standpoint it wouldn't be that different from google.crap.com, but in an age where companies keep suing one-another like kids telling on their little friends to their mommies, I can't help but wonder...

Nothing, probably, but if companies didn't apply, then they'd be turned into porn sites. For example, Apple didn't purchase iphone4s.com and it was used as a porn site (until they got an injunction).

Can see some of them being OK but think its a bad idea for generic words.
E.g. Apple (what about the actual fruit or the beatles record label)
Microsoft (windows is generic. What if a glass company of double glazing company etc. wanted a .windows address?)
Googe (.docs is generic. Could apply to any word processor)
etc. etc.
Things like .xbox and .youtube are specific enough to be ok.

HSoft said,
What if a glass company of double glazing company etc. wanted a .windows address.

Then they would pay the owner of the TLD the application fee they use today for existing TLD owners.