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After ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) announced a TLD (top level domain) expansion in 2008, many observers predicted an increase in expenditure for companies who would want to prevent “cybersquatters” or rival companies from owning TLDs that relate to their brands. However, it seems that some companies like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) are buying TLDs for reasons other than trademark protection.
According to Mike Masnick at techdirt, “a bunch of these new gTLDs (generic top level domains) were not being applied for to set up a registry where anyone could obtain those kinds of domains, but rather to lock them up for one company’s use.” Masnick also notes that “while Amazon and Google are the most prominent players here, lots of other companies jumped in as well. Hasbro wants .transformers. Johnson and Johnson wants baby.”
ICANN is currently debating the issue of generic TLDs as it evaluates thousands of applications for generic terms. “Clearly, companies want to own and control generic words as domains so that they can offer their services. But with that comes the possibility of blocking competitors who want to attach their brand to a term. For example, Ford might want to buy ford.truck but be blocked from doing so by the owner of .truck,” notes Michelle Quinn at Politico.
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