June 12, 2014
You see them all the time while navigating the web — generic top-level domains. These are the .coms, .orgs and .nets commonly tagged onto the end of website addresses. For specific countries, you’ll variations such as .ca for Canada.
But how would you feel about a website with an address ending in .sucks?
An organization called ICANN is busy cranking out hundreds of new top-level domains with just about every word you can imagine. Among the latest are .global, .engineer, .nhk, .hamburg and .rehab. There’s also .republican, .lawyer, .mortgage, .hiv and .website. Yes, .website just in case you didn’t that what you were visiting was a website.
And there’s plenty more to come. ICANN makes its decisions in a byzantine process that starts with applications from companies that hope to make use of the new top-level domains. In the case of .sucks, there are three in the running: Top Level Spectrum Inc., Dog Bloom LLC and Vox Populi Registry Inc.
What possible motivation could they have for pursuing something as bad as .sucks? Well, if you look at the application status, in each case it is said to have passed “initial evaluation” and to be “in auction.” That means they’re going to have to scrap it out with each other for .sucks.
Beyond that we can only speculate. My thought is that pretty much every company or organization with a reputation to protect would have to buy this top-level domain to ensure that some malicious person doesn’t do it first. Imagine how much money some low-life could make by registering apple.sucks, posting critical content on it, then selling it for big bucks to Apple just so they can shut it down.
What other reason would you want .sucks in your web address? Because you’re selling vacuum cleaners?
On its website, ICANN says: “The new generic top-level domain program was developed to increase competition and choice in the domain name space.”
I’ve long suspected that in reality it is a scam to sell website owners something they don’t really need. And if .sucks actually starts showing up in URLs, I’ll be convinced of it.