As you may have heard, almost a thousand new domain suffixes – think “.com” or “.edu” – are about to enter the internet’s naming system, regulated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICAAN). One of these new endings is “.sucks,” and Senator Jay Rockefeller is not happy about it. Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate commerce committee, wrote a letter to ICAAN Wednesday, describing the availability of this suffix as “little more than a predatory shakedown scheme.” Rockefeller’s fear is that the existence of “.sucks” will force individuals and companies to defensively and preemptively purchase addresses at these domains, lest someone starts operating … oh, let’s say “TimeWarnerCable.sucks.”
Indeed, the companies that have applied for the suffix are counting on just that: One of them, Vox Populi Registry, plans to charge companies as much as $25,000 for a .sucks address. And they don’t even own it yet!
Vox Populi CEO John Berard told Politico that companies should see this as an opportunity to connect with customers by providing them with a place to rant about their products and services. “I hope it will be seen as a way to bring activity currently happening in the dark corners of the Internet to light,” he said. “It’s pricey if you see it as a domain name, but if you view it as part of the greater campaign to drive consumer loyalty, it becomes mere pennies.”
Does Rockefeller really want to tinker with the time-honored American tradition of creating something no one wants, convincing people that they need it, and charging exorbitant sums to get it?