At the end of March, a brand new generic top-level domain (gTLD) will go on sale that is the embodiment of modern online sentiment: .SUCKS. Yes, pretty soon you can own your own piece of Internet hate for the political (HillarysEmail.sucks), the arbitrary (purple.sucks), or the sporty (StandUpPaddleBoarding.sucks).
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers approved the .SUCKS domain as part of the new gTLD expansion that ICANN says could include more than 1,300 TLDs over the next few years.
Some .SUCKS domain names could end up being nothing more than a little harmless fun. The worst case scenario for major companies, however, might be a disgruntled customer getting their hands on of Google.sucks, Nestle.sucks, or Comcast.sucks. And apparently the company behind the .SUCKS TLD knows it.
Vox Populi Registry, a Momentous.ca affiliate that owns the right to administer the .SUCKS domain, has set aside select names that will cost as much as $2,500 a pop to register. This category of domain names, dubbed Sunrise Premium, are filled with names that are registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse (ICANN’s global trademark database), according to Marketing Land. In other words, the names of large companies.
The Sunrise Premium names were originally slated to go on sale during the early registration period—dubbed Sunrise—beginning March 30. Vox Populi has since changed its plan and will start selling the names during general availability of .SUCKS domain names beginning June 1.
Why this matters: Vox Populi says the new TLD is a place for common people to make their voices heard and where companies can “find the value in criticism.” Others, however, see .SUCKS as nothing more than a shakedown by selling acerbic domains to companies at a high price lest they fall into more hateful hands. At $2,500 each, it may make sense to cave and pay for the domain. After all, the next hot WordPress or Tumblr blog could very well be Monsanto.sucks or, more likely given the Internet’s love of cats, MickeyMouse.sucks.
Into the hands of the proletariat
Any company that buys a domain from the Sunrise Premium category will be on the hook for $2,500 every year to keep the domain. But what happens if a company doesn’t snap up an offending name like BurgerKing.sucks?
Unclaimed names will become available for a consumer advocate subsidy beginning in September for just $10 a year. Companies and those associated with them are barred from purchasing .SUCKS names under the subsidy program.
These subsidized domains will redirect to Everything.sucks, a forum hosting site where angry consumers can get together and vent about a certain company or product in a dedicated forum.
If you build it, will they hate?
While a fresh .SUCKS domain name may add a little novelty to a site, there’s little to stop people from creating a blog at MicrosoftSucks.com right now—as long as the name is available. And recently, Gamergate participants proved how effective online anger can be just with common social media platforms like Reddit and Twitter.
Ultimately, there may not be much point to buying up .SUCKS domains since there will always be an alternative for anyone with a little creativity. Microsoft could stop XboxOne.sucks from blossoming into life, but what about XboxOneReally.sucks, XboxOneReallyReally.sucks, WhyTheXboxOne.sucks, or ManTheXboxOneReallyReallyReally.sucks? Unless major companies plan to use ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Policy against every .SUCKS domain that mentions them there’s just no stopping the .SUCKS revolution.
The good news is if PlayStation 4 fans did manage to get their hands on TheXboxOne.sucks domain, Microsoft or Xbox advocates could always rival that site with its exact opposite on the .ROCKS TLD. Positivity is apparently much cheaper too. At this writing, TheXboxOne.rocks domain was available for less than $10 per year.