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The Internet Networking

ICANN Asks FTC To Rule On .sucks gTLD Rollout 108

DW100 writes: "ICANN, the body in charge of overseeing the management and rollout of new top level domains, has asked the FTC to investigate whether the registry running .sucks is acting illegally . ICANN's in-house legal team raised concerns that the registry was selling the domains to brand owners in a 'predatory' manner. "The issues relate to concerns brands wishing to buy the .sucks domain, which went on sale on 30 March for a three-month ‘clearing house' period, will have to pay $2,500 to register it for their brand. This is far in excess of the price that will be offered to the general public and the price of other top-level domains."
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ICANN Asks FTC To Rule On .sucks gTLD Rollout

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  • by Slashdot Parent ( 995749 ) on Friday April 10, 2015 @12:22PM (#49447079)

    But who will register .sucks.sucks?

  • Seems fair (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vihai ( 668734 ) on Friday April 10, 2015 @12:22PM (#49447081) Homepage
    The new gTLDs are a monstruosity under any technical viewpoint. So it seems fair someone abuses them.
    • Re:Seems fair (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Ark42 ( 522144 ) <slashdot@@@morpheussoftware...net> on Friday April 10, 2015 @12:31PM (#49447203) Homepage

      I just keep adding these low-value (as in, user content) TLDs to blacklists, particularly for email. I'm sure I'm not the only sysadmin doing that, so the overall utility of all these stupid TLDs is basically as a spam-filter and nothing more. No serious business is going to operate on anything other than a .com/.net/.org even if they have to get a longer domain.

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        Well I would add to that list a little bit, the national tlds are perfectly reasonable for serious business, and perfectly well intentioned individuals to use as well, I don't have a problem with .us, .uk, .ca, ...

        The anything goes as a TLD situation though is what sucks. We have enough problems with 'identity' when we care about it online as it is without adding ambiguities like, does example mean example.example.com because I have example.com. in my search suffix list or is it a tld, well okay if it was

      • by dissy ( 172727 )

        I just keep adding these low-value (as in, user content) TLDs to blacklists, particularly for email. I'm sure I'm not the only sysadmin doing that

        You are not the only one taking such a stance, however a couple years ago it became clear that a whitelist method will be far easier, quicker, and softer/fuzzier to your sanity.

        There are currently 1300 active english gTLDs added and active in the past 16 months alone.
        There are over 7000 unicode gTLDs for other languages and alphabets.
        There is no end in sight for those numbers to stop rising.

        http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/program-status/delegated-strings [icann.org]
        http://money.cnn.com/infographic/technology/new-gtld-list [cnn.com]

        • I'm not sure where you got your numbers from, there are only 919 root-delegated Top Level Domains [he.net]. There are a few hundred more pending new gTLD application with ICANN so the total for the next few years won't exceed 1200. (There are plans for a second round of new gTLD applications. The first round cost each applicant $185,000 USD.)

          Definitions:
          TLD = Top Level Domain
          gTLD = Generic Top Level Domain (.com, .net, .org, .info, .biz)
          new gTLD = New Generic Top Level Domain recently allowed by ICANN (.club, .bik

      • I just keep adding these low-value (as in, user content) TLDs to blacklists, particularly for email. I'm sure I'm not the only sysadmin doing that, so the overall utility of all these stupid TLDs is basically as a spam-filter and nothing more. No serious business is going to operate on anything other than a .com/.net/.org even if they have to get a longer domain.

        You are correct: you're not the only one. I noticed a massive increase in spam the last couple of months from snowshoe spammers using .science, .rocks, .cricket (cricket!), etc, etc, etc. And not a single legitimate message that I can tell. They're the new .infos

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday April 10, 2015 @12:24PM (#49447101) Homepage

    So, basically the ICANN approved this, sold it ... and only then did they stop and think "is this a good idea"?

    Way to do your due diligence.

    No, wait, this is exactly how you don't do something like this.

    This pretty much could be seen as a potential for a shakedown racket from miles away ... don't want McDonalds.sucks to be a valid website? Well, you keep adding zeroes to the check until I tell you to stop.

  • by The New Guy 2.0 ( 3497907 ) on Friday April 10, 2015 @12:25PM (#49447115)

    $2500 per trademark is a lot to pay for trademark owners compared to the $15 or so .com, .net, and .org domains, and the intent of this is so that competitors and detractors can post attack ads against the trademark holder. This shouldn't have been allowed... who's profiting off of this?

    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      Personally I don't think that domain names should be as inexpensive as they became, as it promoted cybersquatting equal to what this registrar is attempting to charge. $2500 is too high, but the original Internic prices were, in my opinion, not unrealistic because it generally priced people out of holding more than a few domains. A business that needed a domain for their business probably only needs a few, and persons that wanted their own vanity site didn't really need more than one either.

      When domain
      • A business that needed a domain for their business probably only needs a few, and persons that wanted their own vanity site didn't really need more than one either.

        OTOH I think allowing people to have freedom to move hosting provider for their email and for their personal/hobby site without changing address on each move or more than doubling the cost was a very good thing.

        • by TWX ( 665546 )
          Did anything that I said about owning one domain name because owning more domain names is cost-prohibitive prevent someone from being able to move their domain name from one hosting company to another, or even from one registrar to another?
          • The point is with expensive domains many people will chose not to buy a domain, they will then end up using their hosting providers domain and therefore locked in. I do not see being locked in as a good thing.

            • by TWX ( 665546 )
              I think that you overestimate the number of people that this affects. After all, even a lot of technical people use Google or Yahoo or MSN/Hotmail, or any of a large number of non-ISP e-mail servers that we don't in-fact control, as a choice over using our ISP's e-mail servers.

              I've hosted my own services before. It's a pain in the ass. I do not think that most nontechnical people could do it, and would be at the mercy of another company they'd be paying money to, separate from their ISP.
    • who's profiting off of this?

      ICANN when they sold it, but mostly the guy who bought it.

      Heard a radio interview with him the other week. He defended it as "free speech" and a useful way for customers to interact with brandholders.

      He straight up denied it wasn't a shakedown racket, but, then, he would.

      I'm sure any company wishing to buy it from the registered owner would need to up that $2500 by at least a zero or two.

      Hell, why not have ICANN create an ".isanasshole" domain?

      This is pretty much what lots of us

      • by blang ( 450736 ) on Friday April 10, 2015 @12:47PM (#49447373)

        .isapedofile sounds like a good "business" idea as well.

      • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

        I'm sure any company wishing to buy it from the registered owner would need to up that $2500 by at least a zero or two.

        The next question to ask is, why should it bother a company so much that a companyname.sucks domain name exists that is not under their control? (i.e. why would they feel the need to spend $2500 or more to obtain it?)

        It's pretty apparent that anyone who spontaneously types that domain name into their web browser probably already feels that (companyname) sucks, otherwise they wouldn't have typed in that domain name.

        The other way people would find that domain name is by entering "companyname sucks" into a se

    • You can get a $15 .sucks domains -- BUT it must be hosted on the registry's website, which provides a "moderated forum" for expressing speech about something you think sucks.

      The $2500 for trademark holders is extreme relative to other new gTLDs. Many charge a few hundred dollars for "trademark enabled sunrise registrations" (where you must have a registered trademark with the ICANN approved Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) which costs a few hundred dollars a year to maintain).

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday April 10, 2015 @12:26PM (#49447145) Journal
    So, when ICANN floated the gTLD idea, everyone told them that it was pointless bullshit that would only end in trademark wrangling, shakedowns, and vast swaths of slum domains used for little more than scamming.

    They decided to go ahead anyway.

    Now they are shocked, hurt, and betrayed that someone would be using one of the new TLDs for less than upstanding purposes. What utter fools.
    • I couldn't agree more. Who's brilliant idea was this? I would like to think that 'we' have been trying to elevate the decorum of internet; away from trolling, abuse, and bullying. Having a ".sucks" domain has not use for anything but hatefull speech (or vacuum cleaners) and seems like a backwards direction.
    • They decided to go ahead anyway.

      Of course they did - 18 cents on every single domain registered goes to ... ICANN! Why get 18 cents from every trademark holder when you can get 18 dollars?

      Now they are shocked, hurt, and betrayed that someone would be using one of the new TLDs for less than upstanding purposes. What utter fools.

      I doubt they care. They want the FTC to bless it as free speech so they can wash their hands of any culpability.

      • I doubt they care. They want the FTC to bless it as free speech so they can wash their hands of any culpability.

        Well, the problem with this is ... doe the FTC really have jurisdiction here?

        This was intended to be global names, affecting multiple countries. So WTF does the FTC get to decide on global things for?

        So, say in some fictional language .sucks is the same as .awesome ... is the FTC responsible saying the people in this fictional country can't have their domain name?

        This was the predictable pile of

        • So WTF does the FTC get to decide on global things for?

          Are you confusing a widely-acceptable excuse with a logical predicate?

          ICANN just needs to say, "look, we ran this by the FCC and they said it was OK". That will satisfy most people that ICANN is in the clear and maybe that rightsholders shouldn't bother tying up the courts for a decade.

          Oh, and then ICANN says, "here's where to mail the check for the ICANN fees." Do you think they truly care if the FCC has jurisdiction or if their money keeps coming in

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They're nominally a US institution but keps on insisting that they were neutral and shit, really. Down to the US govt. telling them to figure out how to govern themselves* that so far has resulted in bickering and arguing and more showing off of how incompetent and untrustworthy ICANN really is.

      But so now they ask another US govt. department for a ruling. Not a judge, no the, FTC. That means that they're simply a US govt. department after all. So much for global independence. Foot, meet mouth.

      * Which is ano

  • Here's an idea... let's get rid of the TLDs that exist today, and instead award a domain every time a trademark is awarded at USPTO. Those with untrademarkable names like "Acme" can add a word saying where they are or what they do. It worked as AOL Keywords and Prodigy JumpWords back in the old days of online services, so why can't we use that, and then the list of trademarks can be a list of everything that's on the Internet. These new TLDs are really just a money grab... making everybody register yet anot

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      So each country is going to have its own unique set of TLDs? Recall that US Trademarks are only valid in the US, similarly depending on where the .sucks company operates the FTC may not any authority.
      • We solve this with "country codes" in the phone system... so maybe .us can be presumed for American users, and the rest of the world still accessible by cTLD.

        • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Friday April 10, 2015 @12:57PM (#49447459) Homepage

          Na, we solve this by getting rid of DNS and just going to straight IP addresses.

          That will shut down this eternal September nonsense right quick.

          • The problem is that IP addresses change too often, just like phone service before the existence of number portability. Somebody needed to spring up to map trademarks to IP addresses, and that's the domain name system.

            The problem was, the invention of .com, .net and .org allows similarly named unrelated entities to start confusion.

            • ** Not Serious ***
              ** Not a valid technical solution ***
              ** Do not try this at home **
              ** Professional driver on closed course **

        • If nothing else to this point has convinced us to use .us, nothing will. We have .com and the only people using .us are public schools, it seems.

          Besides, some trademarks only cover a geographic region or a type of product (Apple Records vs. Apple Computer). Some names just aren't unique enough to be granted nationwide usage.

          • Apple Records and Apple Computer went to trademark court and ended up settling. Apple Computer got the ability to just be called Apple as a result.

            • Yes, yes - in that case. That's because Apple Computer got into the music business. I just picked it as an easy example. But it's possible for two companies to have trademarks for the same name in different fields.

              "You can do it, we can help"
              Trademarked by Nicorette Gum

              "You can do it, we can help"
              Trademarked by Home Depot

              The same trademark but used in two different fields

              • That's a slogan rather than a company name. Additionally, Home Depot got sued by a smaller hardware store for that one. Google doesn't find the tobacco definition of that one anymore.

                What I'm really saying is that Coca-Cola should only have to register Sprite at the trademark office, not at every domain suffix in the world. This .sucks TLD is just an extortion program.

    • Yeah, brilliant, let's keep making the internet entirely the domain of corporations.

      No, wait, that's a fucking stupid idea.

      • You don't have to be a corporation to register a trademark. The point is, you shouldn't own a .com and have to worry about a competitor becoming the .sucks next to you.

    • by ADRA ( 37398 )

      Sure, I mean it isn't like the majority of the world doesn't operate in the US, but hell, fuck it! Lets only allow unfettered access to the internet for people presenting their SIN, blood samples, and birth cirtificates while we're at it!

      • The Internet was a USA invention, then we invited other nations to play too. Which is why .com, .net, .org, .gov and .mil all represent American sites.

        You already have to provide identity information to run a server or exist on a shared server... your domain name must be in whois or you must have somebody stand in between for whois purposes, and you must provide billing info to a web hosting or server hosting company and/or your bandwidth provider.

        What I'm saying is that that domain names are trademarks, an

  • by Krazy Kanuck ( 1612777 ) on Friday April 10, 2015 @12:31PM (#49447199)
    .farts .smells .stinks ... its like Mad Libs for tlds
  • When they have put that dick in their mouth, they might as well swallow.

    What fucking asshats occupying these committee seats thinks that just because you can find a word in the dictionary, should it be allowed as one of the core road signs on the internet.

    Let ICANN eat a bowl of dicks for breakfast until eternity.
    And guess what ICANNS Irish Oat meal might not be what you think it is,
    I never though I could ever write such a post and be 100% on topic....

  • I can see Dyson, Electrolux, Hoover, Bissell and many others having legitimate claims to those domains, and that price seems more than a tad steep. I'll be interested to see how this pans out.

    After all, if I were to create the Adespoton Super Straw as a startup, there's no way I'd want to have to buy this sort of a domain for such a price, especially if they're planning to drop it down to $8 in a few months.

    • I imagine several porn personalities remorsing over the outcome of losing *.sucks
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      I don't see why legitimate companies would want to own this TLD. Let is go to people who want to attack the company online. If you have a good product your customers are not going to be overwhelmed by the negative reviews on a site that that has the sole purpose to be negative. New customers are going to see negative reviews, on a site that is intended to be negative, but again if the product is good they will also see other reviews elsewhere

      The only thing a .sucks is going to do is provide a platform f

  • Pot vs kettle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sqr(twg) ( 2126054 ) on Friday April 10, 2015 @12:37PM (#49447275)

    How is this different from what ICANN did when tried to get every major brand to pay them $185.000 for a gTLD?

  • by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Friday April 10, 2015 @12:41PM (#49447321) Homepage Journal

    If no one paid for a .sucks domain, Google (where all information discovery starts out at on the internet anyway) would simply rank .sucks domains nice and far down and mcdonalds.sucks would be no more relevant than mcdonalds-sucks.tumblr.com so you can thank whoever it is that bought the first .sucks for this shitstorm. I just can't believe that it's 2015 and we are still debating how best to handle basic squatting. If someone owns a particular trademark, why not just wait for someone to shell out for the .sucks version, and then lawyer the shit out of them? Maybe because it would cost more than $2500 anyway.

  • by Tokolosh ( 1256448 ) on Friday April 10, 2015 @12:49PM (#49447385)

    Still available (https://www.nic.sucks/domainsearch):

    ftc.sucks
    icann.sucks
    slashdot.sucks
    electrolux.sucks
    beta.sucks

    Taken:

    voxpopuli.sucks

    • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      Still available (https://www.nic.sucks/domainsearch):

      slashdot.sucks

      Of course it is, even slashdot doesn't want Beta now!

    • by Megane ( 129182 )

      Congratulations ! The domain DISCO.sucks is available for Registration.

    • by Pikoro ( 844299 )

      Funny thing is, if you look at the ticker showing recent registrations, NONE of them are by the trademark holders. They're all 101 Domains and CSC Corporate Domains. So these companies are buying up the domains, in order to sell "trademark protection services" to the actual trademark holders.

      Nothing good will come of this, but the guy who owns the .sucks gtld is making money hand over fist.

  • For all future .TLD rollouts, allow trademark owners to put a "bar" on names they own and any similar spelling variants for no more than the cost of processing the paperwork - well under $5 plus a penny less for each additional name in the same request (companies typically have many trademarks, and each has many close spelling variants that typo-squatters would abuse). If a name is barred, anyone coming along later wanting to use the name would have to demonstrate that the entity holding the "bar" no longe

    • Many registry operators have them, they are called "blocks" where you put a block on your TM'd string like "slashdot". For example, the Donuts registry which has over 200 new gTLDs allows you to buy a "block" which applies to all their TLDs for a fairly reasonable fee (a few hundred dollars).

      .sucks does have blocking... but it kinda sucks (-:

      • by davidwr ( 791652 )

        A few hundred dollars is not reasonable. Reasonable is at most the cost of a generic, not-in-demand domain name (i.e. under $5/year) and even that is high. The cost of the block should be high enough to cover the cost to the registrar for the paperwork involved plus a token profit (no more than, $1).

        Anything more is tanamount to extortion: "Pay us $HUNDREDS or some other company will buy the domain and do who knows what with it. It will cost you $THOUSANDS in legal fees to get a court to enjoin that co

        • Considering it costs around $250 to "register" your nationally Registered Trademark with the Trademark Clearinghouse (http://trademark-clearinghouse.com/) in order to even purchase ANY new gTLD in Sunrise, it's not too far fetched to purchase a "block" that covers hundreds of TLDs for a few hundred dollars. Alternately, trademark holders can purchase domains in Sunrise at a few hundred dollars each which is what the registries charge.

          I don't disagree that the whole new gTLD "market" is a cash cow for ICANN,

  • by MpVpRb ( 1423381 ) on Friday April 10, 2015 @01:27PM (#49447723)

    ..from registering their name in the ,sucks domain

    It should only be available to their critics

    Otherwise..why bother?

    Who would want to go to McDonalds.sucks to see a pro-McDonalds ad?

    • Brand owners should be prohibited... from registering their name in the ,sucks domain

      It should only be available to their critics

      Otherwise..why bother?

      Who would want to go to McDonalds.sucks to see a pro-McDonalds ad?

      Maybe vacuum cleaner manufacturers can work with this... or prostitutes.

    • It's a free market, a for profit company like ICANN should be able to do whatever it wants to get money, and if you don't like it you should entrepeneur your own ICANN. /s
  • I wonder how much they want for .tld?
  • The TLD should never have been approved in the first place. It simply invites abuse. This should have been obvious. What kind of idiots decided this?

    A company/brand simply cannot win on this. If the company caves-in and buys the domain, now they are in a position of owning a domain that says that their company/brand sucks. What do they do then? Put up a page saying "not really"?

    • ICANN allowed it and now they're back pedaling since these brand and trademark holders pretty much have to purchase their brands in every new gTLD anyway, so the ICANN fee of 18-25 cents per domain really adds up.

  • by jythie ( 914043 )
    Talk about creating a problem only you can solve, for a price.
  • If the brand itself didn't end up purchasing their name in .sucks first, and some upstart made a viral site that was protected enough legally to resist DMCA notices, how much would the market bear to purchase a domain from a viral nay-sayer? $2500 is cheap in that light.
  • Any company that falls for the "Buy your-company.sucks before anyone else does!" deserves whatever price they pay -- they can't buy up every .sucks domain for every permutation of their company name, so why bother? Is "http://microsoft.sucks" significantly worse than "http://micro.soft.sucks" or "http://microsoft-inc.sucks" or "http://microsoft-really.sucks" or "http://microsoft-software.sucks" or any of the other thousands of permutations of the name?

  • Quit conflating trademarks with domain names.

    Make a ".trademark" TLD. Everyone will ignore it, of course.

    Problem solved.

  • I'm not aware of a single person who thought this gTLD roll out was a good idea. This was exactly one of the reasons why. ICANN deserve to be sued into obliteration.

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