Publishers oppose Amazon on domain names

March 12, 2013 at 8:27 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- Book publishers say they oppose Amazon's application for top-level Internet domain names, including .book, .read and .author, calling it monopolistic.

Amazon's request comes as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers hopes to increase the number of potential Web addresses, with hundreds of new generic top-level domains to be added to the existing .com, .net and so forth.

As applications began to be received last June, it was revealed some large Web-based companies, such as Google and Amazon, were looking to acquire large numbers of domains featuring common words such as .shop and .book.

The Association of American Publishers and Authors Guild President Scott Turow have written to ICANN to express their opposition, TG Daily reported.

"Placing such generic domains in private hands is plainly anti-competitive, allowing already dominant, well-capitalized companies to expand and entrench their market power," Turow, himself a best-selling author of legal thrillers, said in his letter. "The potential for abuse seems limitless."

Amazon has made no attempt to hide its desire to monopolize the .book suffix, explaining in its ICANN application it would "provide a unique and dedicated platform for Amazon while simultaneously protecting ... its brand" with "no resellers in .book and no market in .book domains [since] Amazon will strictly control the use."

Such control would run directly counter to ICANN's stated aim of encouraging competition, the AAP said in its letter.

"From inception, the introduction of new gTLDs [generic top-level domains] has been promoted as a means to increase competition, add consumer choice, support Internet freedom, expand market differentiation and diversify service providers," it said.

"How would handing over ownership of a domain string to any one single private company, such as a retailer, for its own business goals support that public service mission?" it asked.

Similar complaints have already been made by Barnes & Noble, and the European and International Booksellers Federation.

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