South American Nations Battling Over Domain Pits Retailer

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Amazon is currently the world’s biggest online retailer and also the world’s largest tropical rainforest. According to certahosting.co.uk, the problem they are facing now is who should take the domain name.amazon and who must manage it on the internet.

When it all started

It started back in 2012 when Amazon.com applied to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a nonprofit organization responsible for matching domain names, IP addresses, and other protocol numbers to use the domain name .amazon.

Amazon.com was planned to be used mainly for marketing purposes, proclaiming itself on their early days as the Earth’s biggest bookstore, selling web hosting books to self-help books, to being the biggest online retailer.

The issue

Two of the countries that are part of the Amazon Basin region, Brazil and Peru, expressed their disapproval to ICANN. Eventually, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname worked together to block the company’s bid to own the domain name.

Jeff Bezos said that, back then, website listings were alphabetical, thus, making it beneficial for the website’s visibility. On the other hand, the countries condemning the company’s request are concerned about an online retail company taking control of a name relatable with their heritage as well as other matters like losing an opportunity to use other .amazon domain names for tourism industry purposes.

Rodrigo de la Parra, the regional vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean at ICANN, said that “The governments didn’t apply for .amazon; they only have concerns about its usage by a private company, given its cultural and natural heritage for the region.”

One of the rules that ICANN established was that applications involving geographic names required the approval of the local or regional governments. But, Amazon.com was determined to own the domain name.

The resolution

Amazon’s Vice President of Public Policy, Brian Huseman, said that Amazon has repeatedly offered to work with the concerned governments to find a solution while respecting the people, culture, history, and ecology of the Amazonia region. The company also proposed to create domains that reflect the name of the region in the languages that are spoken there like .amazonia or .amazonas.

The countries against the retailer said they wanted shared management of the .amazon domain to protect the name and to ensure that they can freely share their opinions and thoughts on how it is used in the future.

Last year, Amazon.com offered $5 million worth of Kindle e-readers and various hosting services as part of a proposed compromise. But, Ecuador’s ambassador to the United States, Francisco Carrión Mena, said that they are not looking for financial compensation and what they wanted is shared governance of the domain name.

Both parties want to defend the name of the Amazon but made it impossible to coordinate a joint agreement. As a result, each country was left responsible for submitting their own initiative.

Amazon and the eight countries missed an April 7 deadline to reach a resolution. The final decision is now in the hands of ICANN, which oversees the domain names.

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