updated 09:44 am EDT, Mon March 11, 2013
Publishers, Barnes & Noble issue complaints to ICANN
Amazon has received criticism over its attempts to register new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), in complaints sent to ICANN. The Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, and competitor Barnes & Noble have all objected to applications for the suffixes .book, .author, and .read, citing the potential abuse of Amazon's market position in using the new domain endings.
E-mails and statements picked up by the Wall Street Journal shows Authors Guild president Scott Turow calling Amazon's potential control of the gTLDs "plainly anticompetitive," suggesting that the "already dominant" and "well-capitalized" retailer to “expand and entrench their market power.” The Association of American Publishers complained about Amazon's plan to "strictly control" subdomains of .book, in that it will not offer addresses using the gTLD for sale, saving them for "its own business purposes."
Barnes & Noble, a natural competitor to Amazon, made similar arguments, claiming that "Amazon would use the control of these TLDs to stifle competition in the bookselling and publishing industries." The complaint cites ICANN guidance over applications, requesting for gTLD applications to either be closed brand name TLDs and open gTLDs, and proceeds to allege that Amazon will be using what in theory should be an open gTLD as closed, and therefore ignoring ICANN's suggestions.
The gTLD application process saw 1930 applicants pay $185,000 for each individual application, with failed registrations receiving 80-percent of their registration fee back. A raffle was held in December, dictating the order that domain applications would be processed, the first 100 of which being in languages other than English. The top gTLD of the list is the word "catholic" in Chinese, requested by the Catholic Church, followed by the Japanese word for "store", applied for by Amazon.
The first gTLDs to pass through the registration process are expected to go live later in 2013.