In a recent twist of the plans to launch over 1,000 new domain name extensions starting late 2013, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has just announced that applications for “closed generics” will go on hold. This means that applicants will not be allowed to sign their contract and go live on the Internet without further discussions with Governments.
A huge sigh of relief was felt within the Internet community this morning, there was even dancing in some of the offices around the world! A last minute reprieve on the start of the “silent privatisation of the Internet” has been granted. Even though the battle isn’t won, a glimmer of hope is on the horizon.
For the first time ever brands will own their own extension and with major brands such as Amazon applying for .app, .author .book .buy .cloud .deal .game .mobile .movie .music .news .read .save .shop .song .store .talk .tunes .video etc. all for their own “exclusive” use, the open and free Internet that many small businesses rely on to survive, seemed under threat.
ICANN has defined a “closed generic” as… “a string consisting of a word or term that denominates or describes a general class of goods, services, groups, organisations or things, as opposed to distinguishing a specific brand of goods, services, groups, organisations or things from those of others that has been applied for as an exclusive extension… no external registrations”. Bit of a mouthful, but I promise you all the applications I listed above from Amazon fall into this.
The travesty of Amazon owning .books and not allowing our bookshops, authors and readers to own their name .book was something that the Internet community fought hard against and for the moment ICANN has listened.
For those who really want the in depth story, all of the minutes from the ICANN resolution can be found here: ICANN Minutes
This is by no means the final twist in the bid by ICANN to promote choice and competition on the Internet by allowing thousands of new domain extensions. Follow our blog thread, Facebook and Twitter accounts and we’ll keep you up to date with any new developments before the first new gTLD launches at the end of this year (fingers crossed).