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SuperMonopolies dot com Objects To Closed Registries

  • To: <comments-closed-generic-05feb13@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: SuperMonopolies dot com Objects To Closed Registries
  • From: Super Monopolies <dave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 05 Mar 2013 18:58:41 +1100

SuperMonopolies.com Objects To Closed Registries

------------------------------------------------

I object to all the closed registry applications for new generic top level
domains (gTLDs) being examined by ICANN such as .shop, .store, .news,
.beauty, .tires, .search and all the rest.

These words are the common heritage of all people and should not be
commandeered for the exclusive advantage of the world's largest
corporations. There is a real risk that the anti-competitive ownership of
these immensely valuable domain strings will lead to the rise of global
super monopolies.

Right at a time when the internet is undergoing massive growth in
e-commerce, it is critical that the new domains be allocated as fairly as is
humanly possible, for the benefit of all people, particularly the
disadvantaged.

Consider this excerpt from FrontPageIndia.com by Professor Madabhushi
Sridhar:

"If developed world is given a chance to grab the usage of common heritage
excluding others based on the criterion of $185,000 fee, the developing
world is put to serious disadvantage and will further deepen the digital
divide creating a new low of inequalities.

"It is an anti-competitive practice, unnatural and even immoral. Such
monopolization of words generic in nature is antithesis of globalization and
openness of world business beyond boundaries. It even amounts to
colonization of Internet, which whole democratic world needs to oppose tooth
and nail."

SOURCE: 
http://www.frontpageindia.com/views/monopolizing-words-as-gtld-on-internet/3
9525

Instead, many of the world's largest corporations (for example Bridgestone -
the market leader in the tire industry - an applicant for a closed .tires
registry) are seeking to own the key word in their industry to further their
market advantage and simultaneously block competition.

Amazon is seeking to control the .shop, .store and numerous other sales
related domain extensions - all the best retail names. L'Oreal is seeking
exclusive ownership of all the .beauty domains. There are many more cases of
large corporations in various niches seeking to carve up the web into
"walled garden" private internets.

Consider this March 2013 report in The Australian newspaper which states:
"National Australia Bank's latest Online Retail Sales Index showed online
sales grew to $13 billion over the 12 months to the end of January, up 27
per cent at a time when overall retail sales grew by just 0.4 per cent."

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/economics/online-retail-sales-soar-
to-13-billion-up-27-per-cent/story-e6frg926-1226589903899

The report is just one example among many of how supremely important the web
is becoming in terms of global economics and trade. Traditional business is
at a near standstill, while online commerce is soaring dramatically. It's
clear to see that the fairness of the domain name system and its equitable
disbursement is a key part of the world's economic trajectory.

Maintaining an open and balanced internet is clearly of vital importance to
the coming century of internet e-commerce.

With this in mind, it is fundamentally important that registry and registrar
functions should be clearly separated. ICANN should move decisively to
correct this oversight.

ICANN's key commitment with the US Department of Commerce (DOC) is
completely contradicted by some of the closed registry applications, for
example, that of Bridgestone, which is already the world's largest tire
company.

Here is an edited excerpt from ICANN's key commitments with DOC:

"3. This document affirms key commitments by DOC and ICANN, including
commitments to: ...(c) promote competition, consumer trust, and consumer
choice in the DNS marketplace..."

(NOTE: DNS = domain name system)

SOURCE: 
http://www.icann.org/en/about/agreements/aoc/affirmation-of-commitments-30se
p09-en.htm

And here is an excerpt from Bridgestone's contradictory closed registry
application for the .tires string:

"...the .tires gTLD registry will be operated in a centralised manner with a
restrictive registration policy. Registration of domain names will only be
available to BATO (Bridgestone)... ...the proposed new gTLD is not intended
to instigate competition and consumer choice at the level of registration of
domain names among prospective registrants."

SOURCE: 
http://www.pool.com:80/gtld/applicationdetail.aspx?q=Id_s:1751&page=17

Such applications completely and diametrically contradict ICANN policies.

Similarly, ICANN's own website states:

"ICANN developed the New generic Top-Level Domain Program to increase
competition and choice by introducing new gTLDs into the InternetĀ¹s
addressing system."

SOURCE: 
http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/program-status/application-results/strings-1200
utc-13jun12-en

Again, this is totally contradicted by many applications such as this Amazon
one for the .store string:

".STORE will be a single entity registry, with all domains registered to
Amazon for use in pursuit of AmazonĀ¹s business goals. There will be no
re-sellers in .STORE and there will be no market in .STORE domains. Amazon
will strictly control the use of .STORE domains."

SOURCE: 
http://www.pool.com:80/gtld/applicationdetail.aspx?q=Id_s:1663&page=16

If Bridgestone wins the .tires domain registry, then their commercial rivals
will be expressly prohibited from owning Goodyear.tires, Dunlop.tires,
Toyo.tires, Pirelli.tires or Yokohama.tires. Equally important, your local
mechanic down the road will be prohibited from owning Joes.tires or
WestSide.tires. Bridgestone will then be able to leverage sophisticated
marketing to "own" the expression ".tires" with imaginative advertising the
like of which we have never before seen.

I further object to all so-called "open" generic word applications where
more than one domain is being claimed (aside from the applicant's own brand
name).

In narrow niche industries, 90 per cent of the value of the domain names in
those niches may lie in as few as 10 or 20 names. Some applications state
that they will operate "open" registries, but they also state or imply that
they will retain a "small number" of domains for their own use.

This leads to the real risk of de-facto or virtual closed registries, though
technically they are "open".

To continue with the same example, if a tire company with a hypothetical
open application wins the .tires string, and then takes control over the
domains: car.tires, truck.tires, aviation.tires, buy.tires, auto.tires,
safety.tires, maintenance.tires, tractor.tires, suv.tires, farm.tires,
Detroit.tires and Malibu.tires etc, i.e. a "small number" - then what
remains are purely and simply "leftovers". The successful tire company would
still enjoy a powerful domain monopoly.

The winning registrar effectively operates a closed registry, since they own
90 per cent of the best names as measured by "value" (however that is
determined). With the best names taken and deployed, only "leftovers" would
remain for all other tire companies.

Please consider my objection to closed (and de-facto closed) registries for
generic domain strings for the sake of the internet and the implications for
the economic well-being of the global economy. I have explored these issues
in greater detail on the SuperMonopolies.com website:

http://www.supermonopolies.com

I have also signed and recommend the important online petition at Change.org
titled: ICANN: Stop Corporate Takeover of New Internet Names:

http://www.change.org/petitions/icann-stop-corporate-takeover-of-new-interne
t-names

Dave Tyrer
Founder, SuperMonopolies dot com

This objection will also be published on the website.




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