Dot-Amazon suffers a setback at ICANN

Amazon.com wants to get the .Amazon top-level domain.

Paul Demery

The world’s largest retailer by web sales can’t have it all, at least not when it comes to putting its brand name to the right of the last dot in a web address. A governmental advisory panel Tuesday recommended that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers disapprove an application by Amazon.com Inc. to use the top-level domain of .amazon.

Amazon’s use of .amazon would have allowed it to sell products on sites with web addresses such as apparel.amazon. But Brazil and other countries that border the Amazon River in South American had filed objections to letting a private company control an Internet address based on the name of one of the world’s largest rivers.

The Governmental Advisory Committee made its recommendation at an ICANN meeting in Durban, South Africa, where ICANN yesterday approved the first batch of 1,490 applications for generic top-level domains.

Amazon.com, No. 1 in the 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, said it was hoping to work things out with the committee and ICANN. “We’re reviewing the GAC advice and we look forward to working with ICANN and other stakeholders to resolve these issues as the process moves forward,” the retailer said in a statement today.

Although it’s still up to ICANN to make a final decision on Amazon.com’s application, it’s unlikely that ICANN will break with its usual course and not accept the committee’s recommendation, says Nao Matsukata, CEO of domain name consulting firm FairWinds Partners, who is attending the meeting in Durban this week.

A spokesman for ICANN says that, when the Governmental Advisory Committee advises that a particular gTLD application should not proceed, it creates “a strong presumption for the ICANN board that the application should not be approved. If the board does not act in accordance with this type of advice, it must provide rationale for doing so.” The spokesman adds that applicants are free to file a response to the committee’s advice, and that ICANN may then consult with independent experts while reviewing the matter. There is no set date by which ICANN is expected to decide on the committee’s recommendation, he adds.

Matsukata says it’s not completely clear why the committee came out against Amazon. But he adds that ICANN has come under more pressure recently not to let the United States or U.S.-based businesses have too much control over the Internet over the objections of other countries.

There were no other developments announced regarding dozens of other gTLDs Amazon is requesting, including .book, .buy and .music. ICANN and the Governmental Advisory Committee did not immediately return requests for comment.

Amazon isn’t the only retailer to run into objections to a gTLD application. Patagonia, which sells outdoor sports apparel and gear, withdrew its application for .patagonia last week after objections were filed by Argentina and Chile, countries that share a region of the Andes Mountains known as Patagonia near the southern tip of South America. “We don’t have plans to apply for any other gTLDs at this time,” a Patagonia spokeswoman says.

Patagonia, which operates its own e-commerce site at Patagonia.com, was named to the Internet Retailer Hot 100 for 2012. Patagonia also sells Patagonia footwear products under license to Wolverine World Wide Inc., which is No. 235 in the Internet Retailer Top 500. 


.amazon, .patagonia, Amazon.com Inc., e-commerce, FairWinds Partners, Generic top-level domains, Governmental Advisory Committee, gTLDs, ICANN, Internet addresses, legal regulatory, Nao Matsukata, Patagonia