Upon review of proposals for generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), the Irish Internet Association (IIA) on behalf of their members have written to ICANN to register their grave concerns in relation to the introduction of “closed generics”.
The very essence of the internet as an open, democratic and free space for users is compromised by the registration of certain generic domains by large corporations. The idea that generic words such as ‘cloud’, ‘blog’ and ‘search’ are owned by commercial entities who’s primary motivation is to profit from an orchestrated monopoly of the market is at odds with the fundamental principles of an internet for all.
The applications to ICANN from a number of large organisations seeking to close-off common words for use by one company is anti-competitive, stifles innovation and creates barriers to entry for new enterprise. Consumers too for example, in using the worlds largest search engine, will be mistakenly led to believe that they are searching the global internet marketplace. Instead they will be presented only with a filtered view of the world, coralled into finding only those blogs that come under its remit. A blog by its very nature is a personal space promoting freedom of expression but where the very freedom to choose a preferred blogging software would be gone (or at least pointless).
The internet is born of dynamic, creative and enterprising innovators. They are the very kernel of it’s existence. The internet has been positively transformative for business and society as a whole. For the most part one of its defining and precious characteristics has been that it allows all comers to compete on a fair platform. Is it now to be turned into a marketplace that is ‘owned’ by a small number of worlds largest brands who have bought the market and where new enterprises are commercially disadvantaged and consumers are restricted in choice?
In making our submission to ICANN by the midnight March 7th deadline we are urging them to reject these applications for such closed gTLDs and in so doing act as the custodians for the future of the internet as a space that allows for true market competition, supporting innovation and ensuring access for all.