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ICANN's gTLD Era Begins

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 12, 2012 05:26 PM

More than seven years in the making, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is now accepting applications for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

As ICANN puts it, "The world of .com, .gov, .org and 19 other gTLDs will soon be expanded to include all types of words in many different languages. For the first time generic TLDs can include words in non-Latin languages, such as Cyrillic, Chinese or Arabic." And, as brand marketers and lawyers are well aware, .brand URL extensions are now possible for company names, too.

Click here for more on what brands need to do in this new TLD era.

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ICANN Can – and Will – Open the Doors for New Domain Names Thursday

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 10, 2012 11:22 AM

Plenty of brands (not to mention lawmakers and regulators) are not happy that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (aka ICANN) is going right ahead — despite 11th hour hearings — and opening the doors Thursday for a possible barrage of applications for new generic top-level domain names (.brandchannel, anyone?)

There are currently about 20 such domains (.mil, .edu, .gov, etc.), while so-called gTLDs will add the likes of .canon as companies can snap up their brand names as domain suffixes. It’s taken more than six years of hemming and hawing, but even on the eve of dotbranding, the move is still creating controversy among brand holders.

The fear is that those doors will turn into floodgates, and brands will find cybersquatters registering for their trademarks or similar words to their trademarks. The $185,000 registration fee should scare some off, but it also is a hefty price for corporations to pay to make defensive registrations. Reuters reports that Lawrence Strickling, administrator of the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, sent a letter to ICANN last Tuesday asking the organization to find ways to make it so such registrations aren’t needed.

"In meetings we have held with industry over the past weeks, we have learned that there is tremendous concern about the specifics of the program that may lead to a number of unintended and unforeseen consequences and could jeopardize its success," Strickling wrote, according to Reuters.

Rod Beckstrom, ICANN's president, told Adweek that the U.S. government has a seat on ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee and has been able to address its qualms directly. He also noted that applications won’t just be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Continue reading...

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ICANN on The Hill: House Committee Echoes Anti-gTLD Chorus

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 15, 2011 10:58 AM

Yesterday's hearing by the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology of the House Energy and Commerce Committee added to the push-back in Washington to ICANN’s imminent plan to introduce generic top-level domains (gTLDs) ushering in the likes of .nike, .ford and other potential branded URLs.

In rare bipartisan unity these days, Republicans and Democrats reiterated concerns articulated last week in a similar hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee.

"I don't think it's ready for prime time," said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the subcommittee. “The more we do our role, the more ICANN may take a second look at it. Based on what I heard today, they should delay.” (Walden also cited an Apple example that hinted at his own confusion on the issue.)

Advertisers have been lobbying hard against the ICANN initiative and Dan Jaffe, EVP of the Association of National Advertisers, (ANA), testifying on behalf of its Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight (CRIDO), said the plan is a “reckless experiment” that threatens business and consumers.

"The ICANN program would pile billions of dollars of cost onto a challenging global economy," Jaffe testified. "These are resources that could be much better spent on job creation. This is not merely a bad policy choice but a serious threat to the legitimate interests of both companies and consumers on the Internet. We believe that both the decision and the process ICANN followed are fundamentally flawed and that the roll-out should be delayed.”Continue reading...

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ICANN Urged in Senate Hearings to Slow Down Internet Domain Name Expansion

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 8, 2011 06:50 PM

With ICANN’s opening of the application period for new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) one month away, attention is being paid in Washington, D.C. with two hearings this week, or, as Domain Name Wire wrote, “Get ready for representatives to pretend like they know about domain names.”

This morning’s U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing aimed to "examine the merits and implications of this new program and ICANN's continuing efforts to address concerns raised by the internet community."

In an piece titled “ICANN opens pepper-spray, fires in own face,” Kieren McCarthy, CEO at .Nxt, Inc., who believes the hearing's witness list “is stacked against the program,” wrote:

“Having spent seven years putting together plans for the greatest expansion of the Internet, and with applications for potentially thousands of new extensions due to open in just over a month, ICANN should be riding high. Instead it is the focus of not one but two Senate hearings this month and a huge campaign that includes giants such as Procter & Gamble, Hewlett Packard, JC Penny, Johnson & Johnson and Kellogg's to get ICANN to either delay or restructure the program."Continue reading...

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U.S. Senate Committee to Review ICANN's gTLD Proposal on Thursday

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 5, 2011 03:02 PM

A tsunami of opposition to ICANN’S January 2012 expansion of top level domains has resulted in a U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation full committee hearing to “examine the merits and implications of this new program and ICANN’s continuing efforts to address concerns raised by the Internet community.” 

The hearing will be held Thursday, December 8, at 10:00 a.m. EST. Press will be welcomed on a first-come, first-served basis, while the public can virtually attend the Senate Commerce Committee hearing via a webcast.

The opposition of the 100+ brands and organizations in CRIDO (the Coalition for Responsible Domain Oversight) will be presented by the Association of National Advertisers exec team of Bob Liodice, President and CEO; Dan Jaffe, EVP of Government Relations; and Doug Wood, general counsel.

The growing alliance views the gTLD program as "harmful," allowing organizations and companies to apply for generic or branded top level domains (the names to the right of the ‘dot,’ e.g. .com, .net, .org.), with brands such as Ford, GE and HP concerned about cybersquatting and related issues.Continue reading...

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ICANN on the Hot Seat as Domain Debate Gets Heated

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 30, 2011 11:14 AM

As the January 12th opening of gTLDs (top-level domain names) looms, the Association of National Advertisers president and CEO Bob Liodice is stepping up the organization's campaign against ICANN.

That's the body which is preparing to expand URL names from the current list of 22 approved top-level domains (such as .com, .net, .org, .edu and country suffixes) to include generic .anything names such as .nike, .google, .pepsi, etc.

In a video released this week, Liodice takes issue with ICANN's claim that it has gone through a "laborious process" to gain consensus for its generic top-level domain expansion program, which is facing mounting criticism not just in America.

Liodice (whose views are opposed by Forrester) counters that there are more than 100 organizations and brands standing with the ANA in opposition to what he calls a "harmful program," with brands such as Ford, GE and HP concerned about cybersquatting, among other issues. ICANN, still stinging from the .xxx domain debacle, is recruiting an "independent objector" to assess gTLD applications in a position that would commence in April.

Click here for more on the pros and cons of ICANN's dotbrand URLs initiative from a branding and naming perspective, and tell us what you think: Should brands fear gTLDs, or does it represent a great opportunity to solidify branding on the web?Continue reading...

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In gTLD Debate, More Big Brands Take Issue With ICANN's Dotbrand URLs

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 18, 2011 11:14 AM

We recently looked at the coalitions of brands joining forces to voice their opposition to how ICANN is ushering in its so-called dotbrand URLs (aka its new gTLD, or generic Top-Level Domain program that lets trademark holders pay for the right to add their brand name to their web addresses, such as .nike or .coke) in January. Now you can add a few more.

The U.S.-based Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight (or CRIDO) led by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has added six major marketers to their ranks, including the world’s largest retailer and second-largest food company. Walmart, Kraft Foods, adidas, Reebok, Toyota and the J.M. Smucker Company have joined CRIDO, bringing the total number of companies and industry groups to 93.

“We are very pleased that six more leading marketers representing an extremely broad range of business sectors have joined forces with CRIDO to oppose ICANN’s TLD expansion program,” commented ANA president and CEO Bob Liodice. “This growing coalition sends a very clear signal that there is serious dissatisfaction with ICANN’s program from across the entire Internet stakeholder community.”Continue reading...

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As Dotbrand URLs Loom, ICANN Faces gTLD Backlash [Updated]

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 1, 2011 10:55 AM

The imminent change in domain names that will be ushered in by ICANN's new gTLD (generic Top-Level Domain) program is turning into a veritable war.

A last-minute campaign to stop it is being led by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), which has reached out to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Direct Marketing Association, and more than 20 other advertising and marketing organizations to join their protest. They're lobbying Congress and the Commerce Department on the new TLD program, which is scheduled to commence on January 12th, with the ANA telling Adweek they will take their objections to court if necessary.

Separately, another consortium of brands and trademark holders calling themselves CADNA, or the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse, is hosting a conference today in New York, where they will discuss their concerns and collective proposal to ICANN. With speakers including the VP of legal for DirecTV and the former VP of digital for Mattel, CADNA is taking a less aggressive approach to the issue.Continue reading...

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