It’s a joke that would be funny only to a sixth-grader. But a top Democratic senator has real concerns over the possibility that website addresses ending in “.sucks” may be used to mock people or organizations.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller said Wednesday that a Web domain like .sucks has “little or no socially redeeming value” and could be used for extortion.
“I view it as little more than a predatory shakedown scheme,” Rockefeller wrote in a letter to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the independent group that manages the Web’s address system. “The business model behind this [domain name] seems to be the following: force large corporations, small businesses, nonprofits, and even individuals, to pay ongoing fees to prevent seeing the phrase ‘sucks’ appended to their names on the Internet.”
ICANN is currently implementing a plan to expand Web endings, known as generic top-level domains, well beyond the traditional .com and .org. Websites could soon end in words like .car, .music, .love, .pizza, or thousands of other possibilities, including brand names such as .coke.
Three companies — Donuts Inc., Momentous Corp., and Top Level Spectrum — have all applied to own .sucks, and ICANN will have to decide which company (if any) to award the domain to. Momentous has already started soliciting applications so that people can defensively buy .sucks Web addresses to prevent them from falling into the control of others, Rockefeller wrote.
Mason Cole, a spokesman for Donuts, acknowledged that “in certain hands, the domain name could be problematic.” But he said trademark owners can ask Donuts to block certain terms for a “small fraction of the cost” of registering new websites.
“Donuts’ business model is focused on providing Internet users around the world with real choice in how they craft their online identities,” Cole said. “We are not soliciting, and have no plans to solicit, ‘defensive registrations.’ “
ICANN is an independent nonprofit, and there is little the U.S. government can do to override any of its decisions.
“As a committed supporter of the multi-stakeholder model of global Internet governance, I feel a responsibility to speak up when I see ICANN considering steps that could damage its reputation,” Rockefeller wrote.
What We're Following See More »
"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."
"The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone."
"Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said on Wednesday that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he's met with or spoken to on the phone. ... Kislyak made the remarks in a sprawling interview with Russia-1, a popular state-owned Russian television channel."