The $17 Billion Dot Kosher Battle

Bloomberg has details on the battle over the .kosher top level domain that’s been happening ever since for-profit business could apply to get a top-level domain of their own. Five organizations have banded together to oppose the sole applicant for dot-kosher, Kosher Marketing Assets:

Icann — the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — began accepting applications for generic top-level domain names, or gTLDs, in January 2012. In November, Kosher Marketing Assets, the OK Kosher unit, filed an application for dot-kosher, with a mission to “promote kosher food certification in general, and OK Certification and its clients in particular.”

While only clients who pass “rigorous certification” tests would be allowed to use the gTLD, OK Kosher said in its application it expected to have more than 600 licensees by its third year of operation. OK Kosher supervises products including Fruity Pebbles cereal and Maxwell House coffee.

Applying for a gTLD doesn’t come cheap, at close to $200,000 including the evaluation fee and legal services, OK Kosher’s Levy said in a telephone interview.

More general details on the handling of these top level domains is further in the article:

Icann has begun to announce the awarding of some 1,930 proposed domain names this week, primarily non-English ones. Early gTLDs established include the word for network in Arabic, the words “web” and “online” in Cyrillic, and the Chinese characters for “game” or “games,” according to Cyrus Namazi, an Icann vice president.

Potentially key to the dot-kosher dispute is the fate of an application for the “dot-halal” domain name. Halal refers to the Muslim set of rules on food preparation and consumption.

The United Arab EmiratesIndia and Saudi Arabia have all registered their opposition to any one entity owning dot-halal though Icann’s Governmental Advisory Committee, which provides countries with a forum to protest domain names. The five Orthodox groups have asked Icann to use the same logic in the dot-kosher decision, while Kosher Marketing Assets argues that no country has complained about its bid.


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