When ICANN launched the new gTLD program over six 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. In the past fifteen months, an Independent Review Process Panel (IRP) has found in our favor (July 2017), the Board has asked ICANN’s CEO and President to facilitate a negotiated solution (February 2018), and asked ICANN’s CEO and President to prepare a proposal for the Board to review (September 2018). We call upon the Board and the community to support Amazon’s efforts toward a negotiated, compromise solution. 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 Amazon Cooperative Treaty Organization (ACTO), making clear our desire to seek a mutually agreeable solution that would allow us to use these TLDs while also protecting the culture and heritage of the regions. In 2012, we offered 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. The governments declined these offers.[2] 

After our efforts to engage with the relevant governments 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, 2017, the IRP Panel issued its decision in our favor.[4] 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]  The IRP Panel recommended the ICANN Board re-evaluate our applications within 60 days.

In response to the IRP findings, on September 23, 2017, the ICANN Board 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] 

In an ICANN 60 Resolution, the Board offered the GAC an opportunity to submit any further information before it considered the IRP findings, and asked ICANN’s CEO and President to facilitate negotiations between Amazon and ACTO. The GAC offered Amazon an opportunity to present, and we reiterated and enhanced our 2012 offer to ACTO, focusing on our efforts to provide clear safeguards for the culture and heritage of the reasons and inviting ACTO to continue the dialogue. The GAC responded that Amazon and ACTO should attempt to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

At ACTO’s request, Amazon submitted a revised proposal in February 2018, and clarified it in March 2018. The GAC’s San Juan Communique noted the progress and informed the Board that the GAC had no additional information to provide on .AMAZON.

Amazon has continued to refine our proposals for use of the .AMAZON TLDs to enhance the global visibility of and safeguard the culture and heritage of the Amazonia region. In September, the Board directed ICANN’s CEO and President to prepare a proposal for the Board to consider.  Amazon continues ask the ICANN Board and to ACTO to work toward an amicable solution that allows for commercial use of the TLD while safeguarding the culture and heritage of the Amazonia region.