In 2012, Amazon applied to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the gTLD “.amazon”, which caused unanimous opposition from the Amazon basin countries such as Brazil, and a protracted dispute opened.
The 7-year battle is always eye-catching
In the summer of 1994, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos set up an online bookstore called "Cadabra" in his garage, but Bezos later decided to change his name because of his pronunciation and similar pronunciation of "corpse" in English. He opened the dictionary and fixed his eyes on the word "Amazon". The word Amazon, which represents the largest number of species on Earth, has become a new name for the company. The company reopened in July 1995 and translated into Amazon in Chinese.
Site suffixes such as ".com" and ".org" that are commonly familiar to Internet users are collectively referred to as gTLDs. With the opening of the first round of new gTLD applications in the world, Amazon applied for the “.amazon” domain name in 2012. Due to the same spelling in English, the application was strongly opposed by eight members of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO).
In July 2013, ICANN made a “non-acceptable” decision on Amazon’s application. Amazon subsequently applied to the third-party independent arbitration panel for a review and won in July 2017. The group recommended that ICANN re-establish an "objective, independent judgment." In October 2018, ICANN lifted the "incompatibility" status and restarted the application review process; until May of this year, the ICANN Board of Directors announced that Amazon's proposal for public interest commitments was "acceptable."
In June of this year, the Colombian government filed a review application with the ICANN Accountability Mechanism Committee. According to regulations, ICANN changed Amazon's application to a "suspended" status. In mid-August, the ICANN Accountability Mechanism Committee rejected the review request and expected ICANN to provide a final solution for the review application by October at the latest.
Hong Yu, director of the Institute of Communication Studies at Zhejiang University, said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency that the ICANN board is likely to maintain the decision in May. From the application process announced by ICANN, there is no way to stop the application.
The difference is how to share
The allocation of domain name management rights is the core of the dispute between the two parties over the past seven years.
ACTO member states believe that territorial interests give them the right to participate in the management of the “.amazon” domain name. As early as 2012, Brazil and Peru, with the support of the governments of Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana and Argentina, submitted a warning to the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) stating that if the domain name was exclusive to a private company, it would be for the public interest, for the Amazon Activities related to the conservation and promotion of river biomes will be directly affected.
In 2018, ACTO members agreed that Amazon uses domain names related to commercial interests, such as "books.amazon", "kindles.amazon", etc., while cultural heritage-related domain names are managed by ACTO member states.
ACTO Executive Director Carlos Alfredo Lazzari Teixeira believes that the common domain name is a reasonable claim. "Amazon values domain names that are good for its business plans, while South American countries value names related to cultural and geographical heritage, such as the names of rivers and primitive tribes," he said in an interview with Xinhua.
The Amazon company agrees that “the terminology that has primary and recognized significance for the culture and heritage of the Amazon region is not used as a domain name,” but it is recommended that South American countries use a country name abbreviation plus a “.amazon” combination, such as Brazil. Br.amazon". To this end, Amazon is willing to provide nine additional domain names for use by eight member states and ACTO organizations.
In the past seven years, although both sides have made concessions, there are still differences in the more specific management scope of the common domain name, and there is no way to finally reach an agreement.
Capital or cultural priority?
To gain support from the Amazon basin countries, Amazon offered compensation programs, such as e-readers and web hosting services worth about $5 million for South American countries, but was rejected by South Americans.
"It's like going back to the era when the American continent was just discovered. (The colonists) exchanged gold with indigenous people for small objects, such as small mirrors," Lazari said.
After the Andean Community Summit held at the end of May this year, the presidents of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia issued a joint statement saying that ICANN’s decision created a “serious precedent”, “putting private commercial interests in national public policy, The rights of the inhabitants and the protection of the Amazon River."
News Background: Explanation of Terms Related to Amazon Domain Names
In 2012, Amazon.com applied to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the gTLD ".amazon", which caused unanimous opposition from the Amazon basin countries such as Brazil. A protracted dispute opened.
What is a domain name?
The domain name consists of two or more sets of American Standard Code for Information Interchange or national language characters. Each group of characters is separated by a dot. The rightmost character group is called the top-level domain name or the first-level domain name. The second-level domain name, the third-to-last group is called the third-level domain name, and so on.
What is a top-level domain
Top-level domains fall into two main categories: national and regional top-level domains, and gTLDs. The former is based on the national standardization code table of the International Organization for Standardization. At present, more than 200 countries have assigned top-level domain names. For example, China is “.cn” and Japan is “.jp”.
The latter represents a group of names and multiple organizations, including “.gov” (government), “.edu” (educationInstitution), ".com" (commercial), ".org" (organization). There were only 22 gTLDs before 2012. In order to promote diversity, encourage competition and improve the effectiveness of the Domain Name System (DNS), in June 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers decided to open up new gTLDs worldwide. The first round of new gTLD applications worldwide will be available from January 12th to April 12th, 2012. Since the Amazon region is not in the national and regional top-level domain categories, “.amazon” is a generic top-level domain.
What is a GAC warning
The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) is the ICANN department that speaks on behalf of governments and international government organizations. Its main responsibility is to advise ICANN on public policy issues.
The top-level domain application will be published on ICANN's official website, and a 60-day comment period will be launched. During this period, the GAC may issue an early warning notice about the application. The notice indicates to the applicant that one or more governments believe that the application may be sensitive or problematic.
The GAC's warning is just a notice, an informal objection, and it does not directly trigger the process that caused the application to be rejected. After the applicant receives the GAC warning, the applicant may choose to withdraw the application to obtain a partial refund, or may choose to continue the application.
Domain name dispute case
The Patagonia region is mainly located in Argentina and a small part belongs to Chile. The Patagonia region is not in the national standard code list of the International Organization for Standardization, so “.patagonia” is not a national and regional top-level domain, but can be applied as a gTLD.
After the US outdoor brand Patagonia submitted the ".patagonia" gTLD application to ICANN, both the Argentine government and the Chilean government submitted a GAC warning. After the dispute occurred, the Patagonia company withdrew the application.