Blacknight Urges ICANN to Reconsider “Closed Generic” TLDs

Don't be invisible
We’ve posted about “closed generics” a few times in the past.

What are they?

Basically they’re applications for new tlds that have two characteristics:

  1. the string (the bit on the right of the dot) is very generic
  2. the applicant has stated that they don’t plan on allowing the public to register domains using the extension

So while Microsoft could be free to control .microsoft as they wanted and nobody would mind. However it’s a very different matter if .blog domain names can only be used by users of Google’s Blogger. So you wouldn’t be able to use .blog domains freely. So much for innovation!

Here’s our latest release on the subject and if you have any questions, queries or comments please let us know via the comments

Blacknight Urges ICANN to Reconsider “Closed Generic” TLDs
Leading Irish Registrar Urges the Internet Community to participate in public comment period.

February 18, 2013 – Carlow, Ireland – Leading Irish registrar and hosting company Blacknight urge the Online community to take part in ICANN’s public comment period concerning “Closed Generic” TLD Applications.

ICANN (International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has opened a public comment period to allow the Internet community to weigh in on whether single entities may seek to operate non-trademarked generic word TLDs (domain extensions) in a “closed” (not open to the public for registration) manner. The comment period, which opened on February 5, will remain open until March 7, 2013.

Blacknight ( have been leading the community in actively seeking clarification on pending gTLD applications for broad term extensions like .blog, .music and .cloud, TLDs that would be severely restricted if monopolised by single entities that intend to use the terms solely to market their own products.

Michele Neylon of Blacknight states: “As longtime members of the ICANN community, we feel strongly on this issue and aim to raise community awareness of the effects of “Closed Generic” TLDs. We believe in an open and “free” Internet and the idea of a small group of companies effectively monopolising terms that belong to all people just seems wrong.”

Blacknight has expressed discontent with the possibility of closed non-trademarked key-word extensions through multiple letters to ICANN. The letters encourage ICANN to consider the adoption of a process in which applicants who wish to operate a closed TLD, meet certain, transparent criteria.

According to “ICANN is seeking public comment on the subject of ‘closed generic’ gTLD applications and whether specific requirements should be adopted corresponding to this type of application. Stakeholder views are invited to help define and consider the issue. In particular, comments would be helpful in regard to proposed objective criteria for: classifying certain applications as “closed generic” TLDs, i.e., how to determine whether a string is generic, and determining the circumstances under which a particular TLD operator should be permitted to adopt “open” or “closed” registration policies.”

Neylon continues: “We strongly urge the online community to take advantage of this public comment period. Allowing companies that have no trademark claims to generic, key-terms such as ‘blog’, ‘beauty’ or ‘music’ is tantamount to granting them ownership of those words. This behaviour negates the purpose of creating a richer, more diverse Internet space. This is a slap in the face to those of us who worked so hard to help bring new TLDs into being.”

The public comment period for “Closed Generic” TLD Applications is currently active and will remain open until March 7, 2013.

To submit a comment, please visit

To read the previous letters from Blacknight to ICANN concerning “Closed Generic” TLD Applications please visit:

For more information on Blacknight’s services, please visit

About Blacknight:
Blacknight are an Irish based, ICANN accredited domain registrar and hosting company. Recipients of several awards for their revolutionary use of social media, Blacknight are one of Europe’s most cutting edge Internet companies. Blacknight constantly seek to lead the way by introducing innovative solutions for its client base and provide dedicated servers and colocation as well as a comprehensive range of Microsoft Windows and Linux based hosting plans and domain name registration services to business globally.

(Original Image: Invisible Man Concept from BigStockPhoto)

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4 Responses to Blacknight Urges ICANN to Reconsider “Closed Generic” TLDs

  1. Dave Tyrer February 19, 2013 at 08:40 #

    This is a very significant issue that concerns the future of the internet, but it is also a sleeper issue, whose significance may likely not be generally known until it is far too late.

    Too few people are even aware of the coming tide of more than 1,000 new domain extensions, let alone the prospect of many of the ones with the greatest potential becoming the private property of some of the world’s largest corporations.

    At a time when the net is undergoing unrelenting growth, often at the expense of traditional bricks and mortar companies, there is a real need for a fair and equitable distribution of the new domain names to ensure a level playing field for the next generation of opportunities on the web.

    For this distribution to be fair in any sense of the word, it should certainly not directly favor companies that are already the market leaders in their fields, yet this is precisely what may be unfolding.

    The contrast and contradiction between ICANN’s stated commitments and many of the actual domain string applications couldn’t be more stark:

    Here is an excerpt from ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments with the United States Department of Commerce:

    “3. This document affirms key commitments by DOC and ICANN, including commitments to:… (c) promote competition, consumer trust, and consumer choice in the DNS marketplace”

    And here are excerpts from Amazon’s official applications for the .store and .shop domain strings:

    “.STORE will be a single entity registry, with all domains registered to Amazon for use in pursuit of Amazon’s business goals. There will be no re-sellers in .STORE and there will be no market in .STORE domains. Amazon will strictly control the use of .STORE domains.”

    “The single entity registry status of .SHOP and the fact that it will only be available to internal registrants at Amazon EU S.à r.l. and Amazon EU S.à r.l.’s Affiliates minimizes the potential for abuse in the TLD. There will be no resellers of .SHOP domains and there will be no market in .SHOP domains.”

    In short, Amazon wants to own every .store and .shop domain name and website in existence. (And many more domain strings besides.) (owned by Amazon) (owned by Amazon)

    I’ve put more evidence of this unmistakable contradiction on the “ICANN Claims” page at

    I recommend anyone concerned about the fairness of the internet to consider joining me in signing a petition against the proposed closed registries at written by Tom Gilles of at the following link: