A consortium of tech heavyweights including Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle have officially objected to the Google domain name bid. Google has applied to ICANN (the global organisation entrusted with domain name management) to control a large number of new generic domain name extensions, including ‘.search,’ ‘.fly,’ and ‘.map’. The consortium argues that Google will gain an unfair competitive advantage:
ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has already come under fire for their policy to open up generic domain names to private companies. If granted, the new domain name extensions would allow not only sites like google.com, but google.search and google.map.
The industry consortium describes Google’s bid to control new domain name extensions as:
Private companies have been bidding huge amounts of money for the rights to control these new domain name extensions, restricting them to already dominant, well-capitalised market heavyweights like Google. This anti-competitive bidding structure has been criticized by most people. For instance, publishers have been scathing of Amazon.com’s move to control the ‘.book’ and ‘.read’ domain names.
Google has defended its move to control the new domain names, saying that new domain name extensions do not have inherent value from which they can derive a competitive advantage. They argue that any new controller of a domain name extension will need to invest a significant amount of money to raise awareness of the new domain name and persuade users to make use of the new domain name.
Most small domain name registrars (like IT Itch) are opposed to Google’s bid to operate these new domain name extensions and the whole process of ICANN ceeding control of domain name extensions to the highest bidder. New generic top-level domains (gTLD’s) will lead to a loss in value for domain portfolio holders and lead to confusion for users. When companies that own the new domain name extensions start to use them to differentiate themselves from the competition, they could block their competition from registering the domain to further exert their market dominance and eliminate competition.
The tech consortium has also raised valid concerns that Google will access the data that flows over any other website who asks to register under a domain name owned by Google, as Google makes it money by tracking internet users in order to serve them targeted advertising.