Amazon has suffered a backlash from US book publishing organisations and Barnes & Noble, and now it’s Google’s turn. A consortium of tech companies under the umbrella of FairSearch has now complained about a number of Google’s applications for top level domains.
The group recently filed objections to Google’s request to control new the TLDs .search, .fly and .map – telling ICANN that accepting Google’s application will enable the dominant search provider to “gain an unfair competitive advantage against other members of this community through the improper grant of a perpetual monopoly of generic industry terms to a single company.”
FairSearch includes TripAdvisor, Expedia, Nokia, Microsoft and Oracle as members and has been established to counter what they perceive as Google’s dominant search position.
The group claims Google has already established a dominant position in the search market – with control of 79 percent of queries in the U.S., and more than 90 percent market share in Europe. FairSearch says Google doesn’t need more help in warding off potential competitors by giving it control over who gets access to new domain names. And, they warn, it’s possible that Google could access the data that flows over any other website who asks to register under a gTLD owned by Google, giving it even greater advantage over all other companies on the internet.
FairSearch asks that if Google really believes that competition is always one click away, why did it apply to operate a new .search gTLD as a closed registry? This means that only those web properties owned by Google could have a .search web address.
“The .search application demonstrates that Google intends to exclude all others in the Industry from using common generic industry terms for its business,” FairSearch argues in its objection.
“Google’s applications for .search, .map and .fly are particularly concerning given the company’s market power and preferential treatment of its own search, map and online travel services.
“Uncontested and unmonitored ownership of these gTLDs will only further strengthen Google’s dominant market power, which it uses to steer users to Google’s own product sites by prominently displaying its own products on its homepage, a practice often referred to as ‘search bias.’
“ICANN should reject Google’s attempt to control an even greater share of the Internet through acquiring the new generic top-level domains for “.search,” “.fly,” and “.map.” The dominant search provider already exerts too much power to steer consumers to Google sites that strengthen its control over Internet traffic, rather than to websites with the information most relevant to consumers’ interests.”