If Senate Commerce Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) has his way, you won't have to worry about seeing your company's name in a Web address followed by ".sucks." In a letter to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Rockefeller made clear he thinks .sucks--one of many new Internet domain names being vetted by the agency--is bad for business, and entrepreneurs in particular.
"I believe any potential this gTLD [generic top level domain] might have to increase choice or competition in the domain name space is overwhelmed by the ways it will be used to unfairly defame individuals, nonprofit organizations, and businesses," he wrote.
Business owners may feel obligated to purchase a .sucks domain to protect themselves from being disparaged by competitors or disgruntled customers. "It is clear that the companies competing to operate this gTLD view it primarily as an opportunity to generate income through 'defensive registrations,'" Rocekfeller adds in the letter.
ICANN, which regulates domain names, green-lit a host of gTLDs in 2011, allowing companies to jazz up their Web presence with business-specific suffixes.
The first seven gTLDs to become available--including .guru, .bike, and .ventures--were purchased by Bellevue, Washington-based Donuts, a registry that sells addresses to businesses and individuals via registrars such as GoDaddy.com. And while the benefits of those names will take time to measure, it's clear that Donuts sees a robust market for them: according to TechCrunch, the company initially applied for 304 gTLDs and currently has contracts for more than 100.