Amazon vs. The Amazon: Domain Name Dispute Involving Internet Retail Giant

Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer, has gotten involved in a domain name dispute with the governments of Brazil and Peru over who should control the new top-level domain extension (TLD) of “.amazon”.

What are the new TLDs?

Unveiled in June 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a.k.a. ICANN (the non-governmental organization that assigns domain names) announced that it would issue 300-1,000 new generic TLDs. When you think of domain generic TLDs, usually you think of .com, .net, .org, and .edu. Currently, there are 22 TLDs issued by ICANN. With the new plan, there will be TLDs for common words and trademarked business names. For example, we may soon see .google and .ebay along with .wine or .shopping. ICANN rolled out an application process for companies to apply for new generic TLDs. In the event two companies apply for the same TLD or someone opposes a company being granted a TLD, ICANN’s dispute resolution board resolves the dispute.

Can I get a new TLD?

Do you have $185,000? The application for a new TLD costs that much. And that’s just to start the evaluation process. Actual costs may increase, especially if someone’s contesting your TLD.

Amazon vs. The Amazon

Amazon the retailer petitioned ICANN for the .Amazon TLD. Brazil and Peru believe that .Amazon should go to public interest organizations seeking to preserve the Amazon rainforest, protect indigenous people.

The Brazilian minister of science and technology was quoted as saying:

Allowing private companies to register geographic names as gTLDs to reinforce their brand strategy or to profit from the meaning of these names does not serve, in our view, the public interest.

In a related dispute, Argentina is fighting with another American retailer, the outdoor clothing company, Patagonia, who is seeking the .patagonia TLD. The government argues that Patagonia is a relevant geographic region for the country’s economy and that the .patagonia TLD should not be granted to the U.S.-based company.