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Amazon wins! ICANN on verge of approving .amazon despite government outrage

Kevin Murphy, May 19, 2019, 14:56:04 (UTC), Domain Registries

Amazon has one foot over the finish line in its seemingly endless battle for the .amazon gTLD.
ICANN last week nudged its application along to probably its final hurdle and gave the strongest indication yet that the controversial dot-brand will soon be delegated in the root.
Amazon has essentially won, beating off objections from the eight South American nations of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization.
In a May 15 resolution, published late Friday, the ICANN board of directors resolved that there is “no public policy reason for why the .AMAZON applications should not be allowed to proceed”.
It now plans to approve the application for .amazon, along with the Chinese and Japanese translations, after Amazon’s “Public Interest Commitments” — enforceable voluntary commitments that would be incorporated into its registry contract — have been subject to 30-day public comment period.
These PICs would require Amazon to give each of the eight nations, and ACTO itself, one domain name under .amazon that they could use to provide non-commercial information about the region whose name the company shares.
Amazon would also have to block up to 1,500 culturally sensitive terms in each of the TLDs, so that nobody could use them.
There’d be a steering committee comprising Amazon and the ACTO members, which would get to decide which domains are blocked. Amazon would have the ultimate veto, but ACTO states could appeal by filing PIC Dispute Resolution Procedure complaint with ICANN.
The text of Amazon’s proposed PICs can be found in an April 17 letter to ICANN (pdf).
As far as I can tell, the public comment period has not yet been opened. If it has, it’s so well-hidden on the ICANN web site that even my voodoo powers have been ineffective in unearthing it.
It seems likely that it will attract comment from ACTO and its members, along with others with an interest in protecting the Amazon region.
Whether their comments will be enough to make ICANN change its mind about eventually delegating .amazon seems highly unlikely.
Amazon, in my view, has basically won at this point.
The victory comes over seven years after the original application was filed.
Amazon fought off a Community Objection from the Independent Objector in 2013, but its applications were rejected by ICANN after receiving consensus advice from the Governmental Advisory Committee.
The GAC reached consensus against Amazon only after the United States, which had been protecting what is one of its largest technology companies’ interests, caved to pressure from the rest of the committee.
But Amazon filed an Independent Review Process complaint, which in July 2017 came back in the company’s favor. The IRP panel ruled that the GAC’s advice had been flimsy and baseless, and that ICANN should un-reject the .amazon applications.
Since then, it’s been a fight between Amazon and ACTO, with ICANN trapped in the middle.
As far as ICANN is concerned, the GAC had only advised it to “facilitate” a resolution between the two parties. It does not appear to believe it was under an obligation to assure that both parties were happy with the outcome.
ACTO had wanted much stronger protections from Amazon including majority control of the policy steering committee and, hilariously, a button on every single .amazon web page linking to an ACTO site promoting the Amazon region.
The company rejected those requests, and instead put its own unilateral proposal to ICANN.
Following ICANN’s approval, it’s now very possible that Amazon could start using .amazon this year.
However, given the usual speed at which the company launches its delegated gTLDs, some time in the 2030s is just as likely.

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Comments (3)

  1. Horse says:

    The earlier they finish it, the better. After everyone realizes that is has completely no sense, almost no use, and close to zero recognition, these people are going to chill and forget it.

  2. Snoopy says:

    Agree with Horse, it has now got to the point where it is a squabble over nothing. .Brand has failed in the marketplace.

  3. Amazon creates standards. Can’t wait to see what use they find for their “.amazon” domain names.

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