Whenever an ICANN decision intersects with the business interests of a well-known brand name, media coverage ensues, and last week’s Governmental Advisory Committee objection to .amazon was no exception.
While a scores of headlines were generated, there wasn’t a great deal of editorializing or analysis. Most bloggers outside of the domain industry seemed content to link to and summarize a Wall Street Journal report.
But a handful of bloggers also passed comment on the decision. Views were a diverse as you might expect. Here are a few selections:
Geoffrey Manne of Truth On The Market was not impressed with what the decision said about ICANN as a regulator. He wrote:
If Latin American governments are concerned with cultural and national identity protection, they should (not that I’m recommending this) focus their objections on Amazon.com. But the reality is that Amazon.com doesn’t compromise cultural identity, and neither would Amazon’s ownership of .AMAZON.
Brand Aide called Amazon a “brand bully” and recounted a client’s past experience:
For years now, Amazon’s attorneys would have one think the Amazon River never existed. A number of years ago, one of my firm’s clients was sued by Amazon over use of the “Amazon Networks” in a domain for computer services, a term our client innocently registered about the same time Amazon launched as a bookseller. Amazon falsely claimed in federal court our client was a domain cybersquatter. In fact, the homepage of our client’s first website featured an image of the Amazon River.
Hot Hardware empathized with the GAC:
These countries make a good point. It may seem obvious that Amazon.com would get a crack at .amazon, but many in the U.S. would be upset if, say, a German company laid claim to .grandcanyon or another important U.S. geological site.
Retail trade pub Storefront Talkback sided with Amazon:
what initially looked like just a very expensive way to acquire their own .brand names is now turning into a process that’s effectively stripping some chains of their brands.
Geek.com didn’t like .amazon as a string anyway:
I also think this decision is doing Amazon a favor. .amazon is a bit long for the end of a URL. The company would be better off using a shortened version such a .amzn, it’s quicker to type and looks better when paired with categories, e.g. dvd.amzn, bluray.amzn, ebooks.amzn.
WebProNews perhaps misses the point about geographic names a bit in its speculation about .apple:
It’s going to be interesting to see if Apple meets a similar fate to Amazon. It only applied for one gTLD – .apple. Like Amazon, the word apple isn’t exclusive to the company. I find it hard to believe that ICANN would hand Apple exclusive control of the .apple gTLD, but it’s possible.
Finally, book publisher Melville House said on its blog:
The principle the South American nations are referring to is, as I understand it, a little known agreement from the early days of Arpanet that in the case of a governmental disagreement, anyone who could best a region’s most dangerous wildlife in unarmed combat was welcome to that region’s domain name. The protocol hasn’t often been used since the gory events of June 1998, when one intrepid developer hoped to claim .yukon for his online baked potato delivery service.
Patagonia was similarly denied their request for .patagonia last week, after a company representative found himself facing down the pointy end of a condor.