Saudi Arabia Trying to Ban New gTLD Extensions
The war against porn is still being waged in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the latest casualties are a slew of new generic top-level domains (gTLD) that have been applied for in recent months.
Claiming that they will “encourage pornography” Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 – among other complaints Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 – the Saudi government has officially objected to 163 new gTLD applications registered with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Some of the extensions that raised the ire of the Saudi Communication and Information Technology Commission are .virgin (applied for by Virgin Group) and .baby, which Johnson & Johnson applied for (among others), presumably to market their baby-oriented health care products.
Other gTLD strings that made the list were .hot, .sex, .porn (obviously), .sexy and even .dating, because who knows where that may lead.
Not every complaint was sex-related, however. The Saudi government took umbrage with any extensions that are related to alcohol or gambling on apparent moral and health-related grounds. This includes .wine, .bar, .vodka, .pub, .casino, .poker and many more. Religious extensions (.bible, .catholic, .islam, etc.) also caused consternation among Saudi officials, as well as the especially grievous .wtf, .sucks and .tattoo.
ICANN, for its part, foresaw objections and complaints being a major aspect of the new gTLD expansion process, and any comments received before September 26, concerning extensions that have been applied for, will be forwarded to independent evaluators. Most of the complaints are coming from major brands who feel that some gTLD applications fail to appropriately protect their trademarks.