Like an Old-Fashioned Land Stampede
Google, Amazon Lead Rush to New Internt Frontier
Long journeys, such as to fair ownership, begin with single steps, such as Parliamentary bills. We trim, blend, and append two 2012 articles from (1) Washington Post, Jun 13, on ICANN by H. Tsukayama and P. Whoriskey, and (2) They Work For You, Jun 28, on a UK bill.
by Hayey Tsukayama & Peter Whoriskey, and by They Work For You
Google, Amazon Lead Rush for New Web Domain Suffixes
Amazon and Google are staking claims to large swaths of the Internet under a new system for labeling Web domains, bolstering their ability to control traffic as the Web expands beyond the realms of “.com,” “.gov” and “.org.”
The bids by those companies to acquire new domain names such as “.book,” “.shop” and “.movie” renewed fears among competitors that a powerful few will dominate the Internet marketplace of the future.
A slate of roughly 2,000 new Web suffixes, including “.app” and “.sex,” was revealed by the nonprofit organization tasked with regulating domain names, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. The group announced last year that it would take applications for new domain names to foster growth and competition online.
Google was among the most prolific applicants, seeking to register 101 names at an application cost of $18.7 million. Never lacking in its quest for virtual completeness, the company is seeking to control “.mom,” “.dad” and “.kid.”
If groups competing for a domain name cannot reach an agreement among themselves, the names will be auctioned off.
Applicants were heavily concentrated in North America (911), Europe (675) and the Asia-Pacific region (303). There were only 17 applications from Africa, which raised questions about whether the cost of an application was too high to be equitable.
The National Retail Federation had urged that oversight of such generic domain names be given to impartial entities rather than individual companies.
For example, if a grocery store controls the “.grocery” suffix, it could theoretically exclude competitors from listing their sites there. The open competition that prevails within the “.com” realm may not exist within “.grocery.” Consumers going to that domain may not realize that all of their shopping is being done with one company instead of a competitive market.
The new suffixes add a potentially confusing array of categories. Among the many that have been formally proposed are “.sucks,” “.rip” and “.vip.” While some might sound like jokes, the fact that the application fee for each is $185,000 tends to keep things serious.
Advertisers and others have raised concerns that companies will have to have several defensive addresses -- negative-sounding names that the company purchases to keep a rival from exploiting them -- to keep counterfeiters at bay.
ICANN said it expects the first new address to go live in 2013.
To read more
JJS: Opening up the domain name frontier is like European settlers opening up new continents, which raises several questions.
These questions follow from some basic facts: Nobody created a word. No company alone created the internet. All users en masse create its value. So …
* Should winning a name be permanent? Should it be like buying the word or like leasing the term? (Words would become available again after x number of years.)
* To whom should one pay to claim a word for URL purposes? Should the one who wins a word pay the public or pay the nonprofit ICANN as now?
* How much should one pay? Should the one who wins a word pay a fee set by ICANN, as now, or pay the winning bid in an auction?
* Should there be lower rates for the lesser endowed? If one is not rich enough to afford a domain name, could they make good use of it anyway? Would their claim to the name deprive internet users of dealing with a more competent name-holder?
* Who should decide? Should these issues be settled as democratically as possible or by the few already established in the internet field, as now?
* More fundamentally, should there be such a huge gap between rich and poor bidders? If the cost for a new name were higher, not lower, then the winner would spend more, not less, and become less rich, not more so, especially if the names are not bought but only leased. Further, if the revenue raised by auctioning off names were shared among qualified recipients, then those recipients would have more wherewithal for making higher bids next time and become the name-holders that way.
Obviously, society does not now use this geonomic policy of auctioning leases for a name for a domain then sharing the raised revenue. However, some societies have members who promote use of this same policy -- charging rent for an economic good not created by any one entity -- when it comes to land.
UK MP Caroline Lucas: Land Value Tax Bill
Bills Presented in GB’s House of Commons -- Public Debt Management Bill
Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No.57)
Caroline Lucas, supported by Mr Adrian Sanders, Kelvin Hopkins and Martin Horwood, presented a Bill to require the Secretary of State to commission a programme of research into the merits of replacing the Council Tax and Non-domestic rates in England with an annual levy on the unimproved value of all land, including transitional arrangements; to report to Parliament within 12 months of completion of the research; and for connected purposes.
Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time Nov 9.
To read more
JJS: The government of Britain is not the only one considering the public recovery of socially-generated land values, so is the government of South Korea. A new book in Korean written by six co-authors has been selected by the Korean Ministry of Culture as one of the best in social sciences published last year. The title is Land Justice Will Save Korea. The Korean Government will allocate about $7,000 to purchase the book, to be distributed among public libraries. The price of the book is about $15.00. Note that Korean book prices are cheaper than those of U.S.
These first steps by governments give me hope that the final step of victory, of full recovery and sharing of Earth’s worth, can’t be far behind!
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .
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