ICANN having second thoughts about dot-sucks domains

After making way for .sucks to become a destination on the Internet, ICANN is looking for a way out of a mess it helped create.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is now asking the Federal Trade Commission and Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs to decide whether the online real estate craziness over .sucks that’s now going on is illegal — so it can crack down on it. The Associated Press reports that ICANN sent the regulatory bodies a letter Thursday.

Canadian company Vox Populi bought the generic .sucks top-level domain, and starting last month began charging companies up to $2,499 a year for each .sucks domain. I wrote then that Ralph Nader was featured in a commercial promoting .sucks domains, calling the word sucks “a protest word.” An advisory panel representing companies such as eBay, Microsoft and Verizon disagree; the AP reports they complained last month that the whole things was “predatory.”

Amid the domain land grab begun after ICANN approved hundreds of new top-level domains, some companies — and people — have paid up, taking the offensive before they have to get on the defensive against potentially detrimental domains. Pop star Taylor Swift has reportedly snapped up .porn and .adult with her name attached. Domains such as YouTube.sucks, Yahoo.sucks and Bing.sucks have reportedly been bought.

Vox Populi CEO John Berard told the AP his company’s business is “well within the lines of ICANN rules and the law.”


Photo: ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom, left, and Kurt Pritz, senior vice president, talk about expanding the number of domain name suffixes during a press conference in London in June 2012. (Associated Press archives)


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