Internet land rush may lead to .nazi, .gay and .god domains

File photo of the character Sgt. Schultz from “Hogan's Heroes.”

Sgt. Schultz need not get started: .nazi domains will reportedly be reserved for educational purposes. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/Cannis Group)

The masses have pushed the .com domain name to the limit. Now the Internet domain name system devised by the the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is preparing for some competition from a battery of subject-specific domains like .love, .god, .gay and .nazi. These and other colorful domain names may be headed to your Web browser soon, reports the Washington Post.

Internet land rush fever in full effect

Simple domains like .com, .net and .org have managed to get the job done for individuals and private enterprise for a while. Domains like .edu, .mil and .gov are popular in the public sector. Yet domains like .nazi, .god, .gay, .muhammad and others seem destined to stir controversy, suggest critics. Or in the case of such things as .amazon, conflicts of ownership could arise. Who would own .amazon: the online retailer or Brazil? These are the types of issues ICANN expects to resolve by March or April. Soon, ICANN will open the floor for companies and governments to solicit their claims in what is being called the Internet land rush.

What it costs to stake a claim

The good news for corporations and celebrities is that the price for one of the potential new domains is far beyond what a basement armchair Internet prospector can afford. According to the Washington Post, it costs a whopping $185,000 to get started and $25,000 annually to maintain the domain. And if a party applies for a brave new domain with ICANN and is rejected, they only get back some of the application fee.

This has online activists like Lauren Weinstein of the Los Angeles-based People for Internet Responsibility up in arms. Weinstein alleged that the outrageous fees are merely a moneymaking venture for ICANN, and that the rainbow of highly specific domains will cause aggravation for trademark holders – not to mention users. ICANN chairman Peter Thrush’s defense for the high fees for .gay, .nazi or any of the proposed new domains is two-fold. First, the non-profit ICANN is expecting there to be lawsuits, and second, the organization believes it needs that much money to help defend against cybersquatting.

“Our job is to protect competition and give extra choices for consumers and entrepreneurs,” said Thrush.


Washington Post

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