The Dot Sucks Debacle

dotcom_04While the brands are trying hard these days to protect their trademarks, marking a territory on the internet has also become an obvious step for their global recognition.

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) the international organization responsible for governing domain names worldwide announced liberalization of the generic Top-Level Domain Names resulting in 500 plus new domain extensions in the last few years. The recent addition to the pool is the controversial ‘.sucks’ domain name which has lately hoarded the cyberspace limelight.

Last year in November,VoxPopuli Registry Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Ottawa based Momentous Inc. won ICANN’s auction securing the right to operate the .sucks domain name. The early registration period called as “sunrise” is the official term started in March and general availability began in June 2015.The .sucks registry website declared that the domain is designed “to help consumers find their voices and allow companies to find the value in criticism.Each .sucks domain has the potential to become an essential part of every organization’s customer relationship management program”. Thus the consumers will have yet another platform to castigate, besides the latest trend of social media trolls, leaving the brand holders perpetually exposed and helpless.

The reason for .sucks popularity, besides the ‘unique’ name itself is the exorbitant prices charged at about $2,500 per year.This practice is perceived as digital extortion by some as the big brands will either have to buy or block their .sucks domain name as a protection measure from cyber squatters and other malicious actors, who might misuse it if left unregistered.

As of now, tech companies like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Amazon, WhatsApp, Facebook etc. have registered their .sucks domain names, and so have celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Adele. Joining them are the airlines, hotel chains and professional sports teams which also seem to be on a .sucks registration rampage. So far, Air France, New York’s Yankees and JW Marriott have joined the bandwagon.

However, many organizations like Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia and India’s Wipro and Infosys have not taken any action as yet.