Amazon is crawling under the skin of book publishers and rival retailers with a new plan to purchase Internet domain names like “.book.”
Amazon is currently looking to buy Internet domain names like “.book,” “.author,” “.app,” “.wow,” and “.movie.” The e-tailer is reportedly planning to buy “dozens” of domain names in order to expand its reach to customers.
However, this isn’t sitting well with publishers like the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers as well as retailers like Barnes & Noble, who all say that Amazon could use these domain names to kill competition.
“Placing such generic domains in private hands is plainly anticompetitive,” wrote Scott Turow, Authors Guild president, to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). “The potential for abuse seems limitless.”
ICANN is a nonprofit that supervises the world’s Internet domain names.
Amazon argued that owning these domain names will not lead to its monopoly in the book, app, etc. markets. The e-tailer said it was simply looking to purchase the domains in an effort to offer a dedicated platform for itself, protect its brand/reputation, create a foundation for communication and “surprise and delight our customers.”
“Why should a company be able to own ‘widget.com’ and not ‘.widget’?” said Stacey King, Amazon’s senior corporate counsel. “There is no evidence that past ‘closed’ domains have led to any market power.”
This certainly isn’t Amazon’s first run-in with publishers and retailers, and it’s easy to see why: it offers an online alternative to traditional book stores at lower prices.
In 2011, the Authors Guild accused Amazon of disregarding the wishes of some U.S. trade book publishers by offering their books in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library — after they denied Amazon this privilege.
Barnes & Noble is just one of the brick-and-mortar chains that have complained about Amazon’s lack of tax collection in some states, which has given Amazon the upper hand for years. Barnes & Noble’s NOOK tablet/e-readers also compete with Amazon’s Kindle line for ebooks.
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