An Internet domain ending in ".sucks"? That idea blows, says Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V.
Requests for the "dot-sucks" domain appear to be little more than "a predatory shakedown" — an attempt to extract money from companies worried their brands would be tarnished, the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee wrote in a Wednesday letter to Stephen D. Crocker, chairman of the board of the ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).
"I believe any potential this might have to increase choice or competition is overwhelmed by the ways it will be used to unfairly defame individuals, non-profit organizations and businesses," Rockefeller wrote. "It is clear that the companies competing to operate this view it primarily as an opportunity to generate income through 'defensive registrations.' In my opinion, it is not in the public interest."
The request to ICANN for the new top level domains were made in 2012 by three competitors: Donuts Inc., Momentous Corp. and Top Level Spectrum Inc. An ICANN spokesman said all three requests are still being reviewed.
If ICANN approves the requests it will either pick one of the three companies or an auction will take place on which gets the rights to the .sucks suffix. Company officials defended their requests last week.
John Berard, CEO of Vox Populi Registry, which is majority owned by Momentus and would handle its registry, told TheWrap that there is no reason to turn down the request for fear of the term sucks. He said a decade ago consumer advocate Ralph Nader wrote ICANN urging the launch of a "sucks" registry.
"If our business model is wrong, the market will tells us it is wrong," Berard said. "There are thousands of sucks web sites out there now. Our mission is to create a more obvious public square."
A Donuts spokesman noted that the term "sucks" is used in tens of thousands of web domain names, including many that are positive. It pointed to BullyingSucks.com as an example.