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.SUCKS A 'Predatory Shakedown Scheme'

March 19, 2014

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV has added his voice to the protest against the proposed .SUCKS gTLD (generic Top Level Domain) becoming a reality.

It's a situation every business owner dreads - a disgruntled customers setting up a "sucks" site using the business's name in the domain string. The possibility of .SUCKS being available has bumped up the anxiety levels of some business owners.

Mr. Rockefeller, the senior United States Senator from West Virginia, believes it will be used to "unfairly defame individuals, non-profits and organizations" and says it is merely an opportunity for the companies vying for control over operating the gTLD to generate income from defensive registrations.

Defensive registration is where an individual or company registers a domain name simply to take it out of circulation to prevent potential damage by mischievous parties. In the case of large companies, sometimes the number of registration can number in the hundreds.

Not one to mince words, Mr. Rockefeller  says .SUCKS is "little more than a predatory shakedown scheme" and ICANN's approval of the extension would undermine its credibility with skeptical stakeholders.

"A gTLD like 'sucks' has little or no socially redeeming value and it reinforces many people's fears that the purpose of gTLD expansion is to enrich the domain name industry rather than benefit the broader community of Internet users," he says in a letter to ICANN.

The Australian government expressed its concerns back in 2012, stating the .SUCKS applicant at the time "does not appear to propose sufficient mechanisms to limit the need for defensive registrations." 

The full letter from John D. Rockefeller IV can be viewed here. Note that the file wasn't saved in the correct format and once downloaded will need to have the .PDF extension added to the name in order to view the document in Acrobat reader.

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