Here’s a piece of news that will probably gladden the hearts of those who accuse Amazon of being a monopolist: Amazon has just bagged the .book generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) from the DNS overseer Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) against competitors like Google and Bowker, following a closed auction, according to a report in The Register, as well as the gTLD .pay, but missing out on .cloud.
Domain name purveyor Name.com states that: “It may come as a surprise to learn that .BOOK is one of the most contested of the new TLDs. Companies like Google and Amazon are both making an effort to become the registrar of this new TLD. Why? Because .BOOK is a nTLD that has a deep social significance as well as strong staying power.” Well, Amazon has now won that particular battle, paying between $5 million and $10 million for .book, as well as $4.6 million for dot-buy, according to The Register, and future users of .book domain names will have to secure them through Amazon.
In 2013, the Association o f American Publishers (AAP) filed a brief with ICANN protesting against Amazon’s bid for .book, on the grounds that: “allowing a single private company to secure exclusive use of a string like “.book” – a gTLD of vast potential application and scope – would defeat the purposes for which new gTLDs are being authorized and is, therefore, not in the public interest.” Obviously, things have gone ahead despite this objection.
Exactly how much competitive advantage Amazon gains from this win is not clear, though surely enough to justify the price tag for such a large company. The original AAP objection, however, did cite the terms for assignment of new gTLDs to emphasize where Amazon ownership of .book might infringe on these, instancing “to add to consumer choice, market differentiation, and geographical and service-provider diversity” and “to give end users more choice about the nature of their presence on the Internet.” Amazon is clearly now in a position to dominate at least some aspects of online book presence across the internet, as well as online payment services.