Australia's Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) is standing out as the largest complainant when it comes to generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that should not be allowed, or at least require further consideration when appearing on the internet.
The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), which provides advice to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), is currently accepting early warning notices from GAC members that feel that a gTLD would be unsuitable for approval.
Since ICANN opened up gTLDs, allowing interested parties to register .anything domain names, many have jumped into the rush to purchase high-profile gTLDs, even leading some to consider it as a viable means to prop up a business by selling them.
For example, Germany has a number of complaints against the .gmbh gTLD, given that it is linked to the abbreviation for a specific corporate structure in Germany, similar to Pty Ltd, or LLC in Western countries. Many other countries have taken issue with the .hotel gTLD, stating that it needs to be evaluated to ensure that competition is not negatively impacted depending on who it is awarded to. And the African Union Commission has taken issue with a private trust attempting to register .africa.
However, Australia's complaints, while they include .hotels and similar gTLDs that can be immediately seen to need a second look, also include a significant number of other gTLDs that are much more subjective.
These include gTLDs that could potentially have competitive considerations attached, such as .dentist, .flowers, .engineer, and .insurance, but also more generic ones, like .tunes, .skin, and .stroke. DBCDE has also taken issue with some gTLDs that could possibly be used in an offensive way, such as .fail, .gripe, .sucks, and .wtf.
In fact, Australia's vocal nature has seen it make up 124 — just under half — of the total 260 early warnings received by the GAC. The closest complainant is Germany, with 24 complaints, followed by France, with 19. The US, despite its long history with ICANN, issued only four complaints, and the UK issued just two.