Consumer Watchdog Calls On Sen. Rockefeller To Thwart Google and Amazon Plans To Buy Generic Internet Domains

Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Consumer Watchdog Calls On Sen. Rockefeller To Thwart Google and Amazon Plans To Buy Generic Internet Domains

    Control of New Strings Could Threaten Free Internet

    WASHINGTON, DC – Consumer Watchdog today urged Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D –W.VA) to block attempts by Google and Amazon to buy control of huge swaths of the Internet by purchasing new generic Top Level Domains through the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

    In a letter to Sen. Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director wrote:

    “If these applications are granted, large parts of the Internet would be privatized. It is one thing to own a domain associated

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    with your brand, but it is a huge problem to take control of generic strings. Both Google and Amazon are already dominant players on the Internet. Allowing them further control by buying generic domain strings would threaten the free and open Internet that consumers rely upon.”

    ICANN plans to expand domain names beyond those that are familiar, like .com, .net and .org. Rockefeller has urged the organization to move ahead with the plan “slowly and cautiously,” warning: “The potential for fraud, consumer confusion and cybersquatting is massive and argues for a phased-in implementation.”

    Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter here:

    “We believe the plans by Google and Amazon are extremely problematic and call on you to help prevent their implementation. 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 make sense for Amazon to acquire .Amazon or .Kindle. But, that is not what is happening,” wrote Simpson.

    Consumer Watchdog noted that Google has ponied up $18.7 million 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, .like, .game, and .shop.

    “Consumer Watchdog urges you to do all that you can to thwart these outrageous efforts and ensure that the Internet continues its vibrant growth while serving the interests of all of its users,” the letter concluded.

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