News

Amazon could own .book as domains up for grabs

Amazon could take ownership of the internet domains ".book" and ".shop" as nearly 2,000 "top level domains" [TLDs] go up for grabs.

Icann, the US-appointed company which decides which new domains can be added to the web, revealed yesterday (13th June) that 1,700 new domains such as .app, .kids and .love as well as .amazon and .google could come online early next year.

Beckstrom said:  "This is an historic day for the internet and the two billion people around the world who rely on it.

"The internet is about to change forever. Through its history the internet has renewed itself through new ideas; we're on the cusp of new ideas and innovation which will give rise to new jobs and ways to link communities and share information."

Amazon and Google have made bids to control hundreds of the domains including .shop, .book, .love, and .map, the Guardian reports. The most popular is .app with 13 organisations including Amazon and Google staking a claim. The domains .book and .shop have nine applications each.

Icann c.e.o. Rod Beckstrom revealed 1,930 applications had been made for the new TLDs, each costing $185,000. Amazon has made 76 applications, each through its Luxembourg office, "almost certainly for tax reasons", according to the newspaper.

However the move has been described as allowing a "commercial landgrab", the Guardian reports. Alexa Raad, chief executive of consultancy service Architelos, said: "It's like the difference between owning a flat in an apartment, and owning the whole apartment block. If you own the block, you can decide who gets in and out of it, you can decide on the behaviour in there."

If Amazon were to control .book, it could deny rivals such as Waterstones the chance to create waterstones.book, the newspaper mused.
 

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Unless Waterstones buys .book themselves, they won't be able to use waterstones.book without the agreement of the new owner. That's true whether the new owner is Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smiths, Google or a canny investor with no connection to the book trade. So why have you picked Amazon out for special criticism?

And why not?

Apple already seem to own lower-case "i" in the alphabet... it's only right that the world's biggest book retailer should own the word "book". In fact, they should own the word "read", as well.

Alternatively, they might simply buy those words, close them down, and replace them with their brand name.

Then, with a bit of gerundive sleight-of-hand, we'd all be "Amazoning our Amazons".

Sounds good, no?

Why in the world should these top level domains be for sale? Is .com for sale? .org? .uk? .xxx? No. And for good reason. Owning the higher level domains is simply a way for ICANN to make money, and will not increase competition, but stifle it as companies fence off whole sections of domains for themselves, and increase the price for the dregs that are left.

Will Amazon let Waterstones have waterstones.book for anywhere near as inexpensively as I might get fleetstreetgripes.net, if at all? May I start taking bets now?

Really. How disappointing, how pointless. It's just a digital land run for rich sooners.

Unless Waterstones buys .book themselves, they won't be able to use waterstones.book without the agreement of the new owner. That's true whether the new owner is Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smiths, Google or a canny investor with no connection to the book trade. So why have you picked Amazon out for special criticism?

And why not?

Apple already seem to own lower-case "i" in the alphabet... it's only right that the world's biggest book retailer should own the word "book". In fact, they should own the word "read", as well.

Alternatively, they might simply buy those words, close them down, and replace them with their brand name.

Then, with a bit of gerundive sleight-of-hand, we'd all be "Amazoning our Amazons".

Sounds good, no?

Why in the world should these top level domains be for sale? Is .com for sale? .org? .uk? .xxx? No. And for good reason. Owning the higher level domains is simply a way for ICANN to make money, and will not increase competition, but stifle it as companies fence off whole sections of domains for themselves, and increase the price for the dregs that are left.

Will Amazon let Waterstones have waterstones.book for anywhere near as inexpensively as I might get fleetstreetgripes.net, if at all? May I start taking bets now?

Really. How disappointing, how pointless. It's just a digital land run for rich sooners.