Business

Association Takes on Amazon Over Top-Level Domain, Wins

With the .mobile top-level domain hanging in the balance, the wireless trade group CTIA pushed back against the online retail giant's attempt to run the domain exclusively. The International Chamber of Commerce sided with CTIA, giving mobile providers a victory, albeit a partial one.

With the .mobile top-level domain hanging in the balance, the wireless trade group CTIA pushed back against the online retail giant’s attempt to run the domain exclusively. The International Chamber of Commerce sided with CTIA, giving mobile providers a victory, albeit a partial one.

As top-level domains go, should generic words like “.mobile” be walled gardens that benefit their corporate owners alone?

When the question came up last year, CTIA-The Wireless Association argued against Amazon’s push to keep .mobile for itself. In a community objection submitted in March 2013 [PDF], the association cited the potential for “material detriment to the rights and legitimate interests of the members” of the wireless community, as well as substantial opposition to the move by the large number of businesses and consumers in the wireless ecosystem.

The move raised significant questions at the time, because Amazon had attempted to register the domain as a “closed generic” top-level domain, which means that only Amazon would be able to register secondary domains under the “mobile” moniker. But this week the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), a multinational business group that has been handling disputes over the domain names, sided with CTIA on the issue, according to Domain Name Wire.

The top-level domain was one of hundreds of generic words disputed by various companies and industry groups. Common words such as “phone,” “gay,” “mail,” “sports,” and “cloud” have become hotly contested as major companies have attempted to take ownership of the words, which have the potential to replace common top-level domains like “.com” and “.org” online. The situation was a catalyst for the launch of the Domain Name Association (DNA) last year.

CTIA’s victory remains a partial one. While Amazon is out of the running, a bid by satellite provider Dish DBS, which CTIA also opposed, remains in play. A third applicant, Donuts, did not draw CTIA opposition.

A full list of pending cases is available on the ICC website.

The .mobile domain was a bone of contention between Amazon and the CTIA. (iStock/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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