We get that there’s only so much room on the world wide web for all of the earth’s silly websites, so we realize that .com isn’t always going to work forever for every URL. There’s .gov, .edu, .net, and our personal least favorite, .biz. However, now the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has started to talk about customized web names, including .vin and .wine for those in the wine.biz (see what we did there?) and winemakers are less than thrilled.
France is leading the charge, but winemakers throughout Europe, Australia, and California are also against the use of the .vin and .wine domains. The winemakers feel that if .wine and .vin are able to be used by anyone in the general public, it will make it easier for unethical wine sellers to deceive customers and sell goods that are far from quality.
“Internet users could indeed be deceived into believing that they are buying a genuine product with specific qualities and characteristics, when they are in fact getting an imitation,” said Linda Reiff, president of the Napa Valley Vitners in a letter to ICANN.
France is even taking things one step further and questioning ICANN in general. They feel there is no transparency in ICANN’s process and they worry that any private company could just buy a domain like “champagne.wine” and sell champagne that is not authentic without getting in trouble. (Remember, champagne is actually called sparkling wine in America because real champagne is made in Champagne, France.)
ICANN has previously been run by the U.S., but France wants it to be reestablished under international law with a redefined mission and overseen by a general assembly of stakeholders.
This all sounds really complicated and we probably don’t even understand all of the rules and implications of this yet, but we think we’re on France’s side. It doesn’t seem like ICANN is really thinking things through and many winemakers throughout the world have spent a lifetime perfecting their craft; it would be a shame to have consumers questions the quality of their product because other businesses are using the new .wine and .vin domains for deceiving the public.