In 2012, ICANN let corporations, organizations and individuals apply for generic top level domain names. Google and Amazon were especially aggressive in applying for the new gTLDs with both companies applying for domains like .fun, .app and .amazon. There were, however, some more bizarre gTLD applications and one senator has taken offense to one of them.
Market Watch reports that Sen. Jay Rockefeller is not a fan of the application for a .sucks domain name. He argues that the domain name would be used as a “predatory shakedown scheme.” In other words, a domain registrar would sell a .sucks domain to somebody wanting to defame a company or individual. In response, a company would either have to fight to have the domain name removed or preemptively purchase the domain to prevent anybody else from using it.
First, as a feedback forum for companies who are willing to address issues about their service, products and/or overall corporate ethos.
Second for individuals, communities and special interest groups to use as a forum for opinions and debate with the goal of fostering change.
In other words, they want the .sucks domain name to not be used for defamation, but rather as a way to call attention to issues affecting them. For instance, you may feel there’s a problem with the local government in your area so you make a Web site called lexington.sucks. It’s a striking name that draws the attention of the government you’re trying to enact change within.
Granted, Rockefeller could be right. There might indeed be some people who buy a .sucks domain just for the purpose of defaming a corporation or individual. You might have somebody buying up the mcdonalds.sucks domain just to make fun of or defame the restaurant. Fortunately for them or anybody else who may be victimized by a .sucks domain, Vox Populi says it takes a “zero tolerance policy” to cyberbullying and will pull any domain that’s being used in such a manner.
In short, there are going to be a few bad apples. It’s the Internet and it’s unavoidable. What you can’t do is take away something as promising (or as funny) as the .sucks gTLD. There are a number of silly gTLD applications out there, like .yachts or .vodka. The important thing is that gTLDs are going to be another form of expression on the Internet. Just because you have some bad actors doesn’t mean you can deny those who will use it in a good way, like abuse.sucks.
The emergence of new gTLDs is inevitably going to cause some headaches and they may even raise some novel legal challenges. Even so, it’s best to see what happens first before freaking out and assuming the worst possible scenario. This is the Internet we’re talking about here. It’s beautiful chaos and a .sucks domain name fights right in.
Image via Reel Big Fish