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Consumer Watchdog Urges ICANN To Reject Google, Amazon Applications To Buy Generic Internet Domains

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Thu, Sep 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm

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Consumer Watchdog Urges ICANN To Reject Google, Amazon Applications To Buy Generic Internet Domains

Says Control of New Strings Could Threaten Free Internet

SANTA MONICA, CA  – Consumer Watchdog has called on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to reject applications from Google and Amazon to buy control of huge swaths of the Internet by purchasing new generic Top Level Domains.

In an open letter to the ICANN Board and CEO, GAC Members, Evaluators, the Independent Objector and Members of the ICANN Community, John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director wrote:

“If these applications are granted, large parts of the Internet would be privatized and become walled gardens.”

ICANN plans to expand domain names beyond those that are familiar, like .com, .net and .org. Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter here:

“We believe the plans by Google and Amazon are extremely problematic and call on you to deny their applications. It is one thing to use a Top Level Domain name that is associated with your brand name. In Google’s case that might be .Google or .YouTube or .Android. Similarly it makes sense for Amazon to acquire .Amazon or .Kindle. But, that is not what they are seeking,” wrote Simpson.

Consumer Watchdog noted Google, through its subsidiary Charleston Road Registry Inc., has ponied up $18.7 million in its application to buy 101 domain strings like .eat, .buy, .book, .free, .web, and .family. Amazon is close behind the Internet giant, applying for 76 domain strings including such names as .free,

“Both Google and Amazon are already dominant players on the Internet. Allowing them further control by buying generic domain strings even if they say they would operate some of them in an open manner would threaten the free and open Internet that consumers rely upon. Consumer Watchdog urges you not to grant these outrageous applications but rather ensure that the Internet continues its vibrant growth while serving the interests of all of its users,” the letter concluded.

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This post was written by:

John M. Simpson

- who has written 362 posts on Inside Google.

John M. Simpson is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations this year of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements triggered intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the online giant’s business practices. His critique of patents on human embryonic stem cells has been key to expanding the ability of American scientists to conduct stem cell research. He has ensured that California’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research will lead to broadly accessible and affordable medicine and not just government-subsidized profiteering. Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog in 2005, he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. Before that, he was deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition. Simpson taught journalism a Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

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