Dot-sucks domain names held hostage by Canadian firm

by | Apr 24, 2015 | Biz/Tech

Ryan Durgy
Biz/Tech Reporter

Plans to commercialize the new dot-sucks domain names have companies and students questioning the motives behind the move.

A Canadian owned company, Vox Populi, won the right to manage the dot-sucks domain name last year and their recent announcement of pricing plans for the domains have caused controversy and backlash.

Trademark owners are being charged $2,499 US a year to buy the addresses related to their brands.

The price tag for trademark owners is 10 times the amount that organizations and people will have to pay for dot-sucks domain names, opening up for public purchase on June 1.

Rebecca Morency, a second-year Media Studies student at the University of Guelph-Humber, thinks the domain names are a bad thing being used to make money off of companies.

“I think it’s ridiculous that it costs that much and the fact that you can make a company pay so much more for it. I think it’s just a money scam,” Morency said.

Dr. David Brake, Professor of Journalism at Humber College Lakeshore campus and author of Sharing our Lives Online: Risks and Exposure in Social Media, said most students shouldn’t be concerned with dot-sucks domain names about themselves.

Brake said that unless a student is a celebrity, they don’t have to worry about these domains, because of the way that search engines like Google structure their results.

“The only people you have to worry about coming across that are people who choose to type that domain and dot-sucks at the end,” Brake said.

“If that is what people are doing…people already don’t like you or they wouldn’t be typing dot-sucks in the first place,” he said.

“I very much doubt that (Google) would put the same priority on a dot-sucks domain, and therefore, it’s likely to sit in the trash bin of millions and millions of names that are out there that are never seen,” Brake said.

Morency also thinks that students shouldn’t be worried.

“It’s a pretty expensive way to cyberbully,” Morency said.

Ross Morgan, a second-year Sports Management student at Humber, thinks they’re  “hilarious” but thinks the high price-tag for the domain names are unreasonable.

However, Morgan said he would consider purchasing a dot-sucks domain about an individual under certain circumstances.

“If I really didn’t like the guy maybe, for sure,” he said.

Morgan said the idea that employers may find a dot-sucks website about an applicant as a deterrent, isn’t a concern for him.

“If they didn’t want to hire me based on finding a (sucks dot-com being created for my name) I don’t know if that would be the type of organization I would want to work for,” Morgan said.

Brake said the marginal risk of an unfavourable site about a corporation being created using a dot-sucks domain name may push them to spend thousands of dollars purchasing the site related to their name.

“But for a corporation, there is a potential danger that someone…might be curious about the corporation and put in dot-sucks to see what would happen, to see if someone had actually pulled up some information about that company and put it on that link,” Brake said.

Morgan thinks that companies could use a dot-sucks domain name to their advantage.

“I think what would be smart for companies to do would to be go along with it, have some fun with it,” Morgan said.

Morgan suggested that a large company could purchase a domain and customize the website to poke fun at themselves without turning customers off from the company.

“I think people can respect a company if they’re not too serious about themselves,” Morgan said.