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New web domains face government objections

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The government advisory committee to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers released Nov. 20 a list of about 200 proposed new generic top level domains to which various governments object. ICANN began accepting applications for new gTLDs in January and in June unveiled a list of 1,930 possibilities, some of which have attracted controversy--although the usual examples of contentious proposals such as .sex and .gay are in fact missing from the GAC objections list (.sucks does make it, however).

The most prolific government in the GAC objection list is Australia, which says it has a range of rationales--such as objection to an attempt by one company to exclude competitors from use of a common generic string (in the case of Symantec's application for .cloud), fear of a high potential for misuse among second level registrants (in the case of Binky Sky LLC's application for .casino) and dislike of a string with an "overtly negative or critical connotation" (such as Corn Sunset LLC's application for .gripe).

Unsurprisingly, the government of Argentina has objected to outdoor gear maker Patagonia Inc.'s proposal for .patagonia on the grounds that "Patagonia is the name of the south part of Argentina."

Religious proposals, including .islam, .halal and .bible also come in for objection--the first two from the United Arab Emirates, and the last from India, which says that the applicant, the American Bible Society, has no plan "to address the specific needs of the approximately 27 million Christians in India."

Many proposals by Amazon also come in for criticism, mainly from Australia, and mainly on the grounds that the string is a generic one that shouldn't be owned by a company that will exclude competitors from a second-level registration. Google--filing under the name "Charleston Road Registry, Inc."--also had five of its applications criticized by Australia on the same grounds.

Applicants subject to GAC objections can respond with arguments meant to assuage criticism; this round of objections are merely "early warnings," to which the GAC will likely follow up with formal objections next year.

For more:
- see the GAC Early Warnings list

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