FairSearch is taking its anti-Google battle to the domain space.
The organization — which is backed by the likes of Microsoft, TripAdvisor, Nokia and other Google competitors — announced today that it has filed objections with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) over Google’s application to own three new generic top-level domains (gTLDs):
Those are three of the more than 100 new gTLDs that Google has applied for as part of ICANN’s expansion of the domain space.
Here’s the crux of FairSearch’s objection:
FairSearch recently filed objections to Google’s request to control new top-level domains “.search,” “.fly” and “.map” – telling ICANN that accepting Google’s application will enable the dominant search provider to “gain an unfair competitive advantage against other members of this community through the improper grant of a perpetual monopoly of generic industry terms to a single company.”
Google has already established a dominant position in the search market – with control of 79 percent of queries in the U.S., and more than 90 percent market share in Europe. It doesn’t need more help in warding off potential competitors by giving it control over who gets access to new domain names. And, it’s possible that Google could access the data that flows over any other website that asks to register under a gTLD owned by Google, giving it even greater advantage over all other companies on the Internet.
FairSearch goes on to point out that Google plans to operate .search as a “closed registry,” meaning no one else will be able to use that domain. “The .search application demonstrates that Google intends to exclude all others in the Industry from using common generic industry terms for its business,” the objection says.
The window for filing objections over new gTLD applications was March 13th. ICANN has detailed its process for handling objections — the next step is the publication of all objections that require a response from the applicant.
Google will have the opportunity to respond to this objection, and any others that have come in. Its options include withdrawing the applications, trying to settle with the objecting parties or entering dispute resolution. The first two seem unlikely, and ICANN says that “a panel of qualified experts in the relevant subject area” will handle the dispute resolution process.
Amazon is another big-name domain applicant that’s facing objections from competitors over new gTLD requests.