E-commerce giant Amazon has lost the right to the .Amazon extension in a domain name win for mother nature.
From a business perspective, it makes sense that the Amazon.com empire would want its very own domain name extension to promote its business ventures and add value to its online network.
But the e-retail giant was not banking on competition, which has come from countries including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay. These South and Latin American countries were against Amazon.com using the .Amazon extension because they felt it would undermine the online presence of sites relating to the actual Amazon rainforest.
“The application for registration of the domain ‘.amazon’ is a direct reference to the Amazonian region…according to the biography of the founder of [Amazon.com],” Peru’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs writes in a letter to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
“The preservation of the Amazonian biome and its local populations should prevail over the interests of a private company which [sic] name is inspired by the region itself.”
To its credit, Amazon.com did discuss the issue with concerned nations and offered a number of compromises that they said “respected both the cultural history and needs of the Amazonia Region, as well as those of Amazon as a global corporation trusted by millions of people”.
When these compromises – which included supporting the registration of region-specific domain names like .Amazonia, .Amazonas and .Amazonica – were rejected, the corporation argued that .Amazon does not fall into the official definition of a “geographic name” that needs to be protected for country use.
Amazon.com also said it has a legitimate claim to the “non-geographic use” of the name and that the company should not be punished for applying for the domain when the governments themselves did not.
But the company’s arguments did not carry weight with the opposing countries or, more importantly, with ICANN and the bid was officially rejected in May 2014.
Now, if countries like Peru want to claim .Amazon for their own, they will have to go through a similar application process with ICANN – but at least the nations connected to the Amazon Rainforest know that a corporation has not taken this option away.
The new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs) have been rolled out as a way to give individuals and businesses more web address options, and have quickly become popular with specific markets and industries.
But, as the .Amazon case highlights, it is not always a simple case of getting the extension that you want.
While domain name advisors and legal teams will help make the application process easier to deal with, considering other stakeholders and potential opposition will make it easier to figure out the odds of a positive business outcome.