The Weather Channel has applied for exclusive use of the internet domain .weather [dot weather] and a host of competitors, led by AccuWeather, have set out to block the move. They view it as a monopolistic maneuver to attain total control of private weather services.
Already, The Weather Channel has a 89 percent share of the weather audience across media platforms the Daily Beast reported March 7.
In its application for the .weather domain submitted to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), The Weather Channel contends its control of the domain will aid weather consumers in accessing its information in one convenient place.
“The .weather gTLD [generic top level domain] will provide an authoritative Internet space for weather content, where the trusted services and resources of The Weather Channel, LLC (TWC), its affiliates, and partners will be closely controlled and made available to consumers around the world,” the application says.
Its application stresses that its use of the domain will “promote consumer trust, competition, and consumer choice.”
“The goal was and is to provide users with more methods for getting the vital weather data they need,” said David Blumenthal, a spokesperson for The Weather Channel. “In addition, we believe that we can provide a trusted source of historically accurate data and prevent the domain’s use by non-weather entities or inappropriate and possibly malicious use.”
AccuWeather, a private weather services company based in State College, Pennsylvania, sees The Weather Channel’s motives differently and has filed an objection with the International Chamber of Commerce which has established a division to settle domain disputes.
The objection (to be posted here) is co-signed by more than 20 companies, organizations, and/or individuals including Earth Networks of Germantown, Md – which owns and operates the WeatherBug network, and Congressman Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.). The objection asserts The Weather Channel’s exclusive use of the domain would disadvantage competitors and grant it an unjustifiable level of authority in light of diverse sources of credible weather information, including the Federal government and international entities.
“TWC’s operation of .weather as a “closed domain” would stifle
competition and restrain trade, run afoul of ICANN’s Code of Conduct and New
Registry Agreement, and cause substantial material detriment to the Professional
Weather Enterprise Community,” writes Barry Myers, AccuWeather CEO.
Upon receipt of AccuWeather’s objection, the ICCC will give The Weather Channel 30 days to respond. The ICCC will then appoint an expert panel within 30 days to review the case and issue a determination after no more than 45 days. Given this timeline, resolution is unlikely until late this summer.
For its part, The Weather Channel’s Blumenthal said its application for .weather was “part of a widely publicized open process”, and that it was the only applicant.
In the fall, its parent company “The Weather Channel Companies” re-branded itself as The Weather Company.
“The word ‘channel’ is too limiting. The Weather Company better defines who we are,” CEO David Kenny told the NY Times.