Feeds

ICANN snubs critics, opens domain extension floodgates

Buy .whatever-you-want for just $185,000

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Not everyone is convinced

The process has recently come under fierce criticism, largely in the United States, as a result of a campaign orchestrated by the Association of National Advertisers, which has been fighting the new gTLD programme almost since it was finalised by ICANN last June. ANA's new Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight spin-off has some 102 trade associations and 59 individual companies among its membership.

CRIDO's supporters believe that a massive expansion of the domain name universe will lead to an increase in phishing, fraud and cybersquatting, increasing legal costs for big brand holders and forcing them to apply for "dot-brand" gTLDs defensively.

The organisation successfully lobbied for hearings into ICANN in both houses of the US Congress, which led to a number of concerned letters last month from congressmen to the Department of Commerce, the government agency tasked with overseeing ICANN.

ICANN has also received demands for special protection from 28 intergovernmental organisations including the UN, World Intellectual Property Organisation and World Health Organisation, and a warning about "infinite opportunities" for cyber-fraud from the US Federal Trade Commission.

"Never before has ICANN faced this level of public scrutiny and concern by policy makers at the highest levels of government and from stakeholders which have, heretofore, been all but ignored by ICANN," ANA president Bob Liodice wrote to ICANN on Monday.

ANA called for ICANN to implement a "do not sell" block-list of trademarks and IGO names that would eliminate the perceived need for companies and organisations to defensively apply for gTLDs.

ICANN has yet to formally respond to any of these written complaints, but Beckstrom and other supporters of the expansion have said that the new gTLD programme already contains trademark protection mechanisms and that defensive gTLD applications are unnecessary.

"No reasons were given for delay," Beckstrom said yesterday, explaining ICANN's decision to stick to its 12 January launch date. "No new information has come in in the last few months."

He described the continuing objections as "a sign of a healthy multi-stakeholder model – the debate never stops", and noted that "the greatest reason it's taken so long to develop this programme was our attention to intellectual property issues".

New gTLDs created by ICANN will have more trademark protection mechanisms than those available for popular extensions such as .com and .org, but arguably they're not as strong as those adopted by ICM Registry, which recently launched .xxx for porn sites.

Indeed, some lobbyists such as the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse, have called for new gTLDs to be obliged to offer brand owners defensive registrations for a one-time fee. This was available in .xxx but will not be available in new gTLDs unless registries choose to offer it.

While the "do not sell" list proposed by ANA is currently not under consideration, the US Department of Commerce recently did an about-face and told ICANN that it plans to reopen the debate about trademark protection mechanisms in May, when all the gTLD applications have been filed.

Lawrence Strickling, the department's assistant secretary with most direct oversight of ICANN, told the organisation that "it would not be healthy for the expansion program if a large number of companies file defensive top-level applications when they have no interest in operating a registry".

Many companies in the US are operating under the misconception that defensive applications for "dot-brands" will be necessary to prevent cybersquatting, according to sources, which is not the case.

Strickling has previously warned that if the US government is perceived to oversee ICANN with a heavy hand, it will give "ammunition" to other nation states that want develop their own internet policies.

ICANN will begin to accept applications from a minute past midnight (GMT) on Thursday in Blighty, which is just after 4pm (PST) today in its home state of California.

Recent developments in the US have not been sufficient to derail the programme but they have been enough to increase the uncertainty about what trademark protections successful new gTLD registry applicants will be forced to implement. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.