Dark clouds loom over the domain landscape, now that the registry xyz.com has proposed to ICANN to have some domain extensions censored… What’s going on?

Dark clouds for .xyz

Last week we wrote that the domain extension .xyz currently is the most popular gTLD, because of its appeal to both the X-, Y- and Z-generation. However, dark clouds begin to loom over the future of this domain extension.

Domain registry XYZ.com, which among others operates the .xyz domain extension, has in fact recently submitted a proposal to ICANN. This proposal worries the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as the registry wants that certain words, mentioned on a blacklist of the Chinese government, cannot be registered as a domain with the domain extensions operated by XYZ.com. This would apply to .xyz, but also for .college and .rent, which are already in the General Availability phase. Same goes for .security, .theatre and .protection (sunrise end of this year).

Forbidden words

That list contains almost 12,000 ‘forbidden’ words and terms, including the Chinese words for ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’.  According to the EFF a censored domain name is admittedly not the same as censoring the content hosted on that domain. But the “complicity of XYZ.com to promote Internet censorship by the Chinese government would be entirely inappropriate and in contradiction to its role as a provider of domain names to the world.”

The ban would not apply to already registered domain names belonging to companies / individuals outside China. ICANN has now opened a public comment on the proposal. Hopefully there will be enough protest so that it can be prevented that XYZ.com would bend over backwards in order to play a significant role on the Chinese market…


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