Are .sucks domains a ‘shakedown’ of companies?

"This is brand shakedown and not in line with the goal of free speech about a particular brand," said Nicholas Ahrens, vice president for privacy and cybersecurity at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, whose members include Target and Best Buy. "You're talking about $2,500 a pop for every permutation for your brand."

"The Internet domain universe is in the midst of a big bang — hundreds of new domains are joining .com, .org and the relative handful of others with which people have become familiar," writes MPR News reporter Martin Moylan.

There will be a .wine domain, .hotel and .love. There's even a realm of risque domains, including .porn and .adult.

But there's one domain in particular that some companies fear seeing after their name: .sucks.

"The question is: Do you take defensive measures to guard the sanctity of your brand?" said Ahrens.

Neither Best Buy or Target would speak about this topic. But like all companies with trademarked names, they will get the first shot at buying addresses in new domains.

Typically, it costs $20 or less a year to secure a Web address. But Ahrens notes that Vox Populi, the company that owns the .sucks domain, has priced addresses at $2,500.

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