Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) already dominates online retailing.
But the e-tailer may be aiming for an even stronger competitive position on the web. In a bid to grab extra Internet real estate, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has once again got rivals crying foul with allegations of monopoly building. And book authors are joining in with complaints against the retailer, too.
Fool me once Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) already irked writers with its recent move to explore launching a secondhand market for used e-books. It appears to be competing with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in a race to see who can create a better platform for used digital products. That makes sense, as whichever company solves the tricky rights issues around digital content will be rewarded with a stronger ecosystem supporting their hardware sales.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s iStuff would be more valuable to users if the ownership rights to downloaded stuff, such as songs and movies, becomes more flexible. And Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)'s e-reader and tablet lineup would be more useful if customers ever get the freedom to trade in their used e-books after reading them.
Still, even if the digital marketplace that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) imagine would be a nirvana for consumers, authors aren't impressed. They're worried they could lose pricing power for their creations.
What's in a name? And now writers have another bone to pick with Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) -- this time over web domain names.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has been bidding on a host of new website domains, which are set to be given out soon by ICANN, the official keeper of web monikers. On the list of controversial titles that Amazon wants are the ".book," ".read," and ".author" domains. Whoever controls those domain names would have the power to box out competitors from potentially attractive web domains like, say, www.adventure.book.
The Authors Guild cried foul over the process last week, complaining that Amazon's attempt to tie up those terms is "anticompetitive." Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) is on the same page. The bookseller urged ICANN to keep those domain names out of Amazon's hands so that the company couldn't use them to "stifle competition in the bookselling and publishing industries."