What will ‘.sucks’ domains mean for brands?

The new domains are intended to help consumers speak out against brands. Should brands buy them up?

At the end of this month, a new web domain will go on sale to reside among the ranks of .com, .org, .biz and .gov. It’s called “.sucks”, and for obvious reasons it could be a potential headache for brands.

At this point, you might justifiably be asking, “Why?”

Vox Populi Registry, which will administer .sucks domains, explains on a website set up for the June 1 sale that the domain “is designed to help consumers find their voices and allow companies to find the value in criticism. Each dotSucks domain has the potential to become an essential part of every organization’s customer relationship management program.”

PC World lays out the inherent problem here for brands:

Some .SUCKS domain names could end up being nothing more than a little harmless fun. The worst case scenario for major companies, however, might be a disgruntled customer getting their hands on of Google.sucks, Nestle.sucks, or Comcast.sucks.

One potential saving grace for brands is the price: Owning a premium domain (like Comcast.sucks) will be $2,500 per year. That could be enough to price out some wackos, at least for a few months. However, in September, unpurchased premium domains will go on sale for the low price $10 a year, opening them up to just about anyone.

So, the question becomes, “Should my company buy our .sucks domain?”

You could. But ask yourself, “Has a lack of a .SUCKS domain name ever stopped anyone from creating a critical website in the past?” Clearly not.

And while there may be some intrigue to a YourCompany.sucks, there will always be alternatives to your company name. PC World explains:

Microsoft could stop XboxOne.sucks from blossoming into life, but what about XboxOneReally.sucks, XboxOneReallyReally.sucks, WhyTheXboxOne.sucks, or ManTheXboxOneReallyReallyReally.sucks? Unless major companies plan to use ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Policy against every .sucks domain that mentions them there’s just no stopping the .sucks revolution.

I’m still in the “why” camp, honestly. Internet trolls have had absolutely no problem spewing hate. So why encourage it? Why make it easier for them or give them a more clever means to do it? Will this inspire some horrible teenager to find a new way to bully a classmate? All that .sucks will do is open another door to the worst part of the internet.

What do you think, PR Daily readers? Do you agree, or do you see value in .sucks?


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