Background

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When ICANN launched the new gTLD program over five years ago, Amazon eagerly joined the process, applying for .AMAZON and its Chinese and Japanese translations, among others. Our goal was — and is — simple: We want to innovate on behalf of Internet users. Now that an Independent Review Process Panel (IRP) has found in our favor, we ask GAC members to support the multi-stakeholder process, particularly ICANN’s community-developed Bylaws, Applicant Guidebook, and independent dispute resolution process, by encouraging the Board’s approval of the .AMAZON applications.  Doing so will bolster the multi-stakeholder system of Internet governance, ensure community trust, and uphold ICANN’s core principles of transparency and accountability.

ICANN evaluated our applications according to the Applicant Guidebook in 2012, awarding them perfect scores. Importantly, ICANN's Geographic Names Panel determined that “AMAZON” is not a geographic name that is prohibited or that requires governmental approval, and the ICANN-commissioned legal expert (a French law professor) concluded that Brazil and Peru had no legally recognized right under “international, or even regional or national law” to the name “amazon.” Nonetheless, the governments of Brazil and Peru submitted an Early Warning[1] regarding our applications. In 2013, ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) issued advice that our applications should not proceed. ICANN’s Board of Directors accepted this advice in 2014.

Since 2012, we have actively pursued a dialogue with Brazil, Peru and the Organización del Tratado de Cooperación Amazónica (OTCA), making clear our desire to seek a mutually agreeable solution. We proposed to support a future gTLD to represent the region using the geographic terms of the regions, including .AMAZONIA, .AMAZONICA or .AMAZONAS. We also offered to not use certain domain names at the second level that could cause confusion or touch on national sensitivities, based on the guidance of relevant governments. And while the governments have declined these offers, we stand by our binding commitment from our July 4, 2013 Public Interest Commitment (PIC) to the .AMAZON applications, which pledged to respect the region’s history and cultural identity.[2] 

Because our efforts to engage with the relevant governments over the past five years were unsuccessful, in 2016 we pursued formal arbitration within the ICANN system through the Independent Review Process (IRP). Our claim asked the 3-judge panel to require the ICANN Board to follow its Bylaws and international law, allowing the .AMAZON applications to proceed.[3]  On July 11, the IRP Panel issued its decision in our favor,[4] recommending the ICANN Board re-evaluate our applications within 60 days. 

The IRP Panel concluded that the ICANN Board “failed in its duty to independently evaluate and determine whether valid and merits-based public policy interests existed”[5] and established that none of the reasons suggested for denying our applications were “well-founded public policy concerns that justify the denial of the applications.”[6]

In response to the IRP findings, the ICANN Board Recently directed its Board Accountability Mechanisms Committee (BAMC) to review and consider those findings, providing options for the Board to consider in addressing the Panel's recommendation.[7] 

We appreciate the ICANN Board's careful deliberation of our applications and the IRP decision. We also strongly believe that approval of our .AMAZON applications by the ICANN Board is the only decision that is consistent with the bottom-up, multistakeholder rules that govern ICANN and the new gTLD program. We urge the ICANN Board to now approve our applications. An ICANN accountable to the global multistakeholder community must do no less.