.SUCKS Launches With Fears Of Brand-Bashing

Sucks gTLD logoThe launch of the .sucks gTLD is certainly not without controversy and the gTLD is promoting itself as a “bash-a-brand” gTLD. And rightfully brand owners are concerned that they may be forced to register some of the highest prices for a domain name for any TLD just to ensure a registrant doesn’t set up a website to allow internet users to vent their displeasure at their brand.

The operators of .sucks claim each .sucks “domain has the potential to become an essential part of every organisation’s customer relationship management programme.” They want it to be a legitimate place where the public can voice criticism.

But not everyone agrees.

“There is a big part of me that would like to tell brands to simply walk away, and to forgo any registrations in this TLD,” writes Elisa Cooper on the MarkMonitor blog. “However, when I think of the fallout that could occur within our clients’ companies when .SUCKS sites start popping up, I cannot in good faith recommend this approach. Furthermore, I believe that recovery of these domains using traditional methods will be extremely difficult.”

The new gTLD, operated by the Vox Populi Registry based in the Cayman Islands and an affiliate of Momentous.ca, had been rumoured to be charging $25,000 per domain during the Sunrise period. But upon launch, it is now known .sucks domain names will cost $2,499 during the Sunrise period for brands registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse.

The 60 day Sunrise period will commence on 30 March, while General Availability commences on 1 June.

This price will drop during launch phases and in September 2015 the Consumer Advocate Subsidised “product” will launch when everything.sucks, a consumer advocacy site, who has contracted with dotSucks, will subsidise the purchase of domains for individual consumers that wish to host a forum discussion website.

However the Standard Registration product, which will commence in June 2015 and will allow for domains to be blocked, will cost $249 per domain. Standard Registrations will qualify for the Consumer Subsidy Programme that will be introduced in September of 2015. There is also a “Block” option for $199. Each of these options, and more, become available at different dates and for different prices.

Domain Incite has looked into WIPO decisions where brand names have been linked with “sucks” in .com. In short, brand owners are favoured. But of course, lodging a dispute while not in itself costing money costs money in lawyer’s fees and time.