Hardheaded governments vs. Amazon.com
Amazon details some of the concessions it was willing to make to governments in the Amazon region.
One of the more peculiar new top level domain name battles is the one between Amazon.com and and governments of the Amazon area, including Brazil and Peru.
At the request of these countries, the Governmental Advisory Committee has effectively killed Amazon.com’s bid for .amazon and two internationalized equivalents in Japanese and Chinese.
It’s sometimes difficult to get inside the head government bureaucrats. But it’s safe to say that most governments fear change. When they have the power to stop something that may have repercussions, they do it. That’s even if those repercussions are imagined.
Would the countries of the Amazon actually be harmed if .amazon were delegated to the internet’s biggest retailer?
I struggle to find a single way it could be harmed. If it were harmed, surely the countries could point to actual examples from Amazon.com’s use of its second level Amazon.com domain name.
And the IDN equivalents? Is it going to hurt tourism from China and Japan? How?
ICANN just published a letter (pdf) sent by Amazon.com that details some of the concessions the company was willing to make to the governments in the Amazon region. The concessions included blocking second level domain names that may be relevant to the region, or even offering second level domains to relevant groups so they could use them.
Would the governments actually accept a second level domain, such as brazil.amazon? Of course not. They themselves have no use for .amazon. They didn’t apply for it. They would have no idea how to use it. They won’t be harmed at all by the company getting .amazon.
Yet they’ve blocked .amazon, just because they can.
Perhaps Amazon.com came in with guns blazing and upset the governments. If you weren’t in the negotiations, you can’t know for sure.
Still, I think the death of .amazon is bad for the new TLD program. Amazon.com applied for 76 domain names. It’s one of the two companies people point to when they say internet companies are excited about new TLDs (the other being Google). Yes, Amazon.com’s plans for closed domains are controversial. But for those that wish to see new TLDs be a success, pointing to a robust .amazon domain is important.