Eight countries of the Amazon basin are battling the tech giant over domain name governance.
It all started back in 2012, at a time when the offices of the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigning Name and Numbers) surged with countless requests for domain name approvals. In an attempt to fight for power and territory in the cyberspace, Amazon was one of the applicants, seeking to officialize the .Amazon domain name.
Unsurprisingly, most of the South American countries in the river Amazon’s basin have some objections about it.
In a situation similar to a trademark dispute, this time taking place in the uncharted legal regions of the Internet, the countries of the Amazon basin showed concerns over a corporation symbolically taking control of the domain. The name is strongly bonded with the countries’ heritage as well as with practical matters, such as the monetization of trip.amazon, hotels.amazon etc.
Brazil and Peru soon backed up by Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname are the countries currently expressing their concerns. According to ICANN’s vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean these countries are not applying for the use of the name: they rather” have concerns about its usage by a private company given its cultural and natural heritage for the region.”
This isn’t a totally unprecedented scenario though: another company, outdoors gear producer Patagonia, applied for the domain .patagonia but resigned after receiving objections from Chile and Argentina, the countries home of the region from which the company takes its name.
Amazon on the other side is not willing to give up.
In a letter sent to ICANN from Amazon’s vice president of public policy Brian Huseman in 2017, the company states that: “Amazon has repeatedly offered to work with the concerned governments to find an amicable solution, offering to explore how we can best use .AMAZON for our business purposes while respecting the people, culture, history, and ecology of the Amazonia region.”
Amazon’s proposal is to create alternative domain names in the languages spoken there, like .amazonia or .amazonas. The countries replied that they are settling for nothing less than shared governance over the name.
After failing the 7th of April’s deadline, today was the last day for Amazon to present a new proposal, over which ICANN will have the final word.