Thursday, 10 November 2016

Controversial .FEEDBACK gTLD Subject of Complaints Due to "Bogus Commentary"

The .feedback gTLD has always been controversial by allowing the registration of domain names for the purpose of positive and negative feedback on any topic. The controversy was that it would end up enabling illegitimate criticism of brand owners.

After its launch, the controversy grew with trademark holders being forced to pay more for domains than non-trademark holders while being compelled into using a template for their website design enabling criticism. There were claims people were paid to go to websites and fabricate reviews on .feedback sites. It is also mandated that all .feedback domains point to live websites enabling posting of comments, which does not take into account that not all domain names are registered with the purpose of hosting website content. Furthermore, these websites are widely populated with bogus commentary, including from paid commentators and user comments copied from third party websites such as Yelp.

The complaints have come about as a result of the harm suffered by brand owners who are leading a group of clients and partners in a submission to ICANN “that [they] believe either directly violate or at the very least show disregard for many long-standing policies and industry standards which ICANN and the community have come to expect, and which the parties involved should be bound to uphold.” The submission requests a “PICDRP (public interest commitment dispute resolution procedure) Panel to review the (.feedback registry’s) violations, and impose appropriate sanctions and remedial measures.”

The complainants are seeking a comprehensive review and investigation of the .feedback registry’s compliance with its obligations, the appointment of a panel to monitor compliance, the deletion of all domains fraudulently created with false WHOIS registration data through the FREE.FEEDBACK marketing campaign and appropriate compensation.

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