Website addresses ending in .vin and .wine will soon start showing up on the Internet. Does this spell new opportunities for the wine world, though? Not necessarily. Wine growers are rightly concerned that impostors will buy up vast numbers of controlled appellation domain names to deceive consumers or sell them at a cost to producers and users.
.vin: the risk of cybersquatting
Cybersquatting involves buying up vast quantities of domain names and then selling them back to brands at higher prices. The technique has been around ever since use of the Internet exploded in the 1990s. It waned with the surge in search engines: most searches are now conducted via Google and not by typing the name directly into the Internet browser. Cybersquatting still happens though.
.vin domain names authorised by ICANN
ICANN is an organisation controlled by the American Department of Commerce which coordinates the Internet's global domain name system, sub-contracting out their creation to private companies. When you buy a .com or .fr domain name, theoretically ICANN is entitled to authorise the name or not. In reality, however, very few domain names are banned. Nevertheless, ICANN is the organisation responsible for allowing .vin and .wine names and it is currently in favour of them.
.vin: Europe is protesting, the USA is backing the project
Several European countries, including France, have protested to the European Commission over use of these new domain names. Wine producer organisations have joined in the protest movement. There is a lot at stake because appellations such as Bordeaux or the Napa Valley are seeking to preserve their reputation. In the US, the government has officially backed by the project by defending ICANN’s rights.
Have your say. Are you for or against .vin or .wine domain names?