Panel denies community objections against .Hotels applicant
Objectors were upset with single registrant application for .hotels.
An International Chamber of Commerce panelist has denied two community objections filed against .hotels applicant Booking.com.
The cases were filed by Hotel Consumer Protection Coalition and HOTREC, Hotels, Restaurants & Cafés in Europe, and the cases were consolidated.
Although there were 7 applications for the .hotel (singular) top level domain, it seems that the groups were concerned about Booking.com’s .hotels (plural) application because it proposes to make the domain a single registrant TLD. Some objections were filed against other variations of hotel strings, but not most of the typical applications. Booking.com wants to restrict third parties from registering second level domains under it, and the groups are concerned that Booking.com will register domains including hotel trademarks (e.g. hyatt.hotels) at the detriment of the hotel chains.
Panelist Jennifer Kirby determined that the “hotel community” is a clearly delineated community, and that both objectors have standing to object.
But the objectors failed to prove material detriment to their community as a result of Booking.com getting the contract to run .hotels. Kirby wrote that the objectors did not show how not being able to register a .hotels domain would hurt their businesses:
Having said this, I agree with the Objector that the Applicant’s proposal to operate .HOTELS” as a closed gTLD indicates that it intends to act in accordance with its own interests, not those of the hotel community. But the Objector’s members and other members of the hotel community already have many avenues through the DNS to have a presence on the Internet – avenues the Objector’s members and many others in the hotel community already exploit. So while the Objector’s members and others in the hotel community might want to register domain names in “.HOTELS” if it is delegated, it is not clear what the marginal benefit of doing this would be worth to them, if anything. The Objector has simply put on no evidence of the nature or extent of any concrete or economic damage to the hotel community that would result from the Applicant’s operating “.HOTELS” as a closed gTLD.