By Julian Hattem - 03/12/14 04:30 PM EDT
Websites should not be able to end in “.sucks,” Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said on Wednesday.
In a letter to the international organization in charge of approving letters after the “dot” in a website, like .com or .gov, Rockefeller said the .sucks domain should be blocked.
“A gTLD [generic top level domain] 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 wrote to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
ICANN is in the midst of a process to approve hundreds of new gTLDs to go along with the 22 traditional extensions like .com and .net, along with a variety of country-specific top-level domains like .us and .fr. New gTLDs include words in non-Latin alphabets like Arabic and Chinese.
Companies and organizations from the Republican Party to Nike are racing to take advantage of the new online branding tools.
But in the wrong hands, Rockefeller wrote, a domain like “.sucks” can turn the gTLDs into a weapon.
Three different companies have already applied for the domain, including Vox Populi Registry, which is selling trademark reservations for $2,500.
On its site, the company claims that .sucks can be used “as a feedback forum for companies who are willing to address issues about their service, products and/or overall corporate ethos,” as well as for debates “with the goal of fostering change.”
Rockefeller, however, said that he saw the effort “as little more than a predatory shakedown scheme.”
The business model behind the gTLD will likely be to force companies large and small to “pay ongoing fees to prevent seeing the phrase ‘sucks’ appended to their names on the Internet,” he wrote.