© 2024 WXPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

What's In A Domain Name? A Lot, Countries Say

India doesn't want .ram.

France objects to .vin.

Brazil opposes .amazon; and China, .shangrila.

Those are the proposed top-level domain names that some companies want. But several countries have complained, according to the world body that assigns them.

First, some background: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is the body that, among other things, governs domain names. Those are extensions like .com or .org that you type at the end of your URLs.

In 2008 ICANN proposed opening up the types of top-level domain names available. So you could, in theory, have .anythingyouwant at the end of your address.

Company A could, for example, have an extension .companya.

Several countries objected, though the reasons may surprise you in some cases.

Take .ram. Automaker Chrysler wants it for its Ram truck. The problem: Ram (pronounced Raam) is the name of the Hindu deity.

"What if someone registers a domain name such as www.sex.ram? It could create a lot of communal tension in the country," an unnamed Indian official told the Business Standard newspaper. "We are deliberating on the issue internally to decide whether India should sign such an agreement."

India raised its concern again last week in South Africa at a meeting of ICANN's Government Advisory Committee.

Here are a few other examples:

-- The U.S. opposes .army, .navy and .airforce.

-- Argentina doesn't want .patagonia, the name of the outdoor clothing company.

-- Australia is blocking .wtf, saying it finds term has an "overtly negative or critical connotation."

Below is a map that details what some countries have objected to.

(h/t Quartz)

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
Up North Updates
* indicates required