It’s no secret that the flood of website domains has gotten to an extreme point of saturation, and it’s only natural that custom domain suffixes have now been opened up to almost anything that you can think of. While the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has gone ahead and opened the gates to domain extensions outside of .com and .org, along with the rest of the dozens of already available suffixes, Saudi Arabia and the Communication and Information Technology Commission has already put its foot down and objected to more than 30 of these extensions for cultural and religious reasons.
Along with the list comes extensions such as .gay, .bar, .islam, and .baby. While the reasons vary for each one, many of their points come across as a strict following of their beliefs, while the complaints issue a very generic defense of their objection. As an example, Saudi Arabia is claiming that the .gay extension would help gay advocates promote homosexuality, which could be considered offensive to not only Saudi Arabia, but many other societies and cultures.
The issue stirs up controversy, as it’s already difficult to get the entire world to agree on terms when it comes to things like trademarks. Now that ICANN has to face religious and political topics that could have backlash, the challenge becomes even more difficult, with both sides of each topic having trouble coming to an agreement. If they decided to agree to Saudi Arabia’s objections, for instance, there could be a lot of protest from the gay rights communities around the world.
As it is, ICANN is charging nearly $200,000 for each nomination of an extension. The first round of nominations were announced last June, and included all of the extensions that Saudi Arabia is protesting, which is part of the nomination process. There have been more than 6,000 comments to date regarding all of the nominations, but no word as to whether ICANN will allow or deny any of the nominations that have been submitted so far.
While the words that Saudi Arabia has chosen to protest can certainly stir up some chatter, it isn’t that far off from the US government’s protest of pornographic related words like .xxx and .sex. Again, it would seem to appear a question of how each country views their own morals and ethics that determines whether or not they file an objection for a specific extension that has been nominated.