WASHINGTON, DC: The new Internet domain .sucks has stirred up a firestorm over free online speech and the potential for extortion against companies and individuals. The company operating this new domain claims it is “designed to help consumers find their voices and allow companies to find the value in criticism.” But critics see it as a shakedown scheme designed to force companies and individuals to fork over cash to keep an unfavorable or offensive website offline. According to media reports, Microsoft, Facebook, Google and other large companies have bought up the domains by exercising their trademark priority rights, presumably with no intent to use them. Music star Taylor Swift reportedly did the same thing. What has fueled concerns is that the domain registrar, a Canadian-based company called Vox Populi, is charging $2,500 for the website names—far more than a typical website registration of $10 to $25—before the names are opened to the public on June 1.