The word that comes after the period in a domain name is referred to as a top level domain (“TLD”) and there seems to be a TLD for everything. There are TLDs that reflect geographic regions such as “.ASIA” for the Asia-Pacific region and .IRISH for the global Irish community. There are numerous other TLDs that reflect a wide variety of interests, including professions (“.ACTOR” for actors and “.ACCOUNTANTS” for accountants). Just when you think you have seen everything, along comes a proposed new TLD that causes a huge uproar among trademark owners.
Vox Populi Registry Inc. was granted the right to operate the registry for a “.SUCKS” TLD. The stated purpose of the .SUCKS TLD is to facilitate First Amendment criticism of companies, organizations or products. Trademark owners say that Vox is a shakedown artist and the sole purpose of the .SUCKS registry is to cause trademark owners to purchase expensive domains in order to defend their brands. In support of this allegation, trademark owners point to the fact that Vox will charge trademark owners approximately $2500 and up to register a .SUCKS domain name during the Sunrise Period. (A Sunrise Period is a period of time during the rollout of a new TLD in which trademark owners have the right to register domain names which reflect their brands in the new TLD.) Trademark owners argue that when compared to the registration fee of $249 charged by Vox during the general availability period and when compared to the few hundred dollars charged by other TLD registrars during their Sunrise Period, it is obvious that this scheme is nothing more than “predatory, exploitative and coercive.”