Not so very long ago, ICANN, the international governing body of the internets (more or less), approved over 500 new, generic top-level domains, or gTLDs, for websites to use as their suffix (as in, .com, .net, etc.). One of these new gTLDs is generating a bit of controversy, and will likely lead to a whole lot of kerfuffle that we could all do without. The gTLD in question: .sucks. Classy, ICANN, classy.
Why Even Make This A Thing?
Because we live in The World in 2015, there is no way we can trust people in general to use the .sucks gTLD responsibly. Because, honestly, how could we? What good comes from allowing any schmoe with an internet connection to buy a domain that ends with such negativity?
I have no doubt that there will be thousands of websites popping up with “johndoe.sucks” URLs (obviously replacing “johndoe” with an actual person’s name), thus further enabling cyberbullying and other bull$#!t that we as a society should be trying hard to eliminate.
Additionally, businesses and brands (gods how I hate that word when used in that context) will have to combat “negative advertising” from competitors. Of course, said competitors—Pepsi for example—will deny that they’ve established a coke.sucks website, but again, this is The World in 2015, so we know better. That kind of schwa will absolutely happen. All the time.
Oh, Right: Because Money
If a company—Coca-Cola, for example—wants to buy up the .sucks gTLD for their name in an attempt to protect their brand, they’ll have to shell out some ridiculously big bucks. Regular consumers like you and me can buy a .sucks domain for as little $10 a year, making it affordable for even junior high kids (again, making it easy to use the gLTD for cyberbullying purposes). A more “deluxe” consumer version will cost $249 a year.
However, for any company registered with Trademark Clearinghouse, the price starts at $2,499 per domain per year. Annual renewals will cost the same exorbitant amount. In the words of Ron Sheridan, domain industry veteran and former business development director of both Domain Sponsor and Oversee.net, “I can think of no other way to label it that what it is: plain and simple economic extortion.”
Granted, for big companies, $2,499 a year is a drop in the bucket. It’s the principle of the thing that irks. The gTLD shouldn’t exist in the first place, because people are the worst, but because it does, and because businesses can afford it, the price goes through the roof. The gTLD is being operated by a company called Vox Populi, a subsidiary of Momentous.
Early registration for .sucks domains starts on March 30th; general availability starts June 1st. Quick, someone buy up voxpopuli.sucks and momentous.sucks. That’ll teach ‘em!