Why are major brands being sucked into .SUCKS
It has been reported by Bloomberg that Apple and Citigroup are just some of the major companies that have registered their .SUCKS domain name to protect their brand from what could appear if someone got hold of this domain suffix. Why would they enter a battle where there appears to be no borders?
The new domain suffix is being made available by Vox Populi Registry only to trademark holders, for about $2,500 until the 1st June. But after this date Vox Populi will drop the price to $249 and let anybody attach the available word of their choice.
In other words they hold brands to ransom. Now that sucks!!
The debate around this domain has been raging for the last 2 months and through their involvement in an advisory panel companies like Microsoft and eBay have been putting the heat on ICANN to shut .SUCKS down. ICANN has listened and responded by saying that if the Canadian or US regulators find Vox Populi actions are illegal then they will take some actions. So for now Vox Populi is free to trade the .SUCKS domain and as they do it seems more and more brands and celebrities are taking the plunge.
Now I know in the scheme of things $2,500 is not a lot of money for organisations with big marketing budgets, and I accept the fact that it would cost a lot more to defend against someone who has been successful in using a .SUCKS domain to creatively unleash havoc targeted at a brand like Apple. But if brands are defending themselves by surcuming to the demands of a rogue domain reseller who just want to extort where will this stop. I could think of at least a dozen words that could be used as negative brand suffixes, so will this keep repeating until every negative combination has been exhausted?
You would have to think those that are making the decision to spend the money are doing so only because they can see the challenges ICANN will have in shutting this down and are also hopeful that after this debacle ICANN will see the light and as a result tighten their controls around approvals of top level domains as to not let anything like this happen again.
Then again they could have all listened to Vox Populi’s CEO John Gerard, who have recommended that they set up legitimate websites under the .SUCKS domain as a safe place for customers to find their voices creating a platform for companies to find value in listening and responding to criticism.
Now I am not sure what planet Gerard is on, because on planet earth there has been this thing called social media that has provided to be a very effective platform for customers to find their voices for over a decade. Who knows, maybe this could be the next big thing.