web watch

On Digital Archery and ICANN's New gTLD Program

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 31, 2012 02:04 PM

The latest target dates were announced last night by ICANN for the next phase of the New gTLD (generic top-level domain) Program, which opens up URLs to so-called dot-branding such as .nike or .pepsi at the end of web addresses. The Batching period will open on June 8, close on June 28, and Reveal Day occurs on June 13.

Applicants remain confused about the mechanics of ICANN’s Batching process, the Target Time Variance procedure (also known as “Digital Archery”), available options and the implications the batch they land in could have for their applications.

Two blog posts from FairWinds (see Part 1 and Part 2) break down the Digital Archery process, and offer predictions about what various applicants will do to try to “game” the Digital Archery process and how those actions will ultimately affect brand owners that applied for new gTLDs.

Applicants that land in late batches will have their gTLDs delegated much later – some perhaps not until 2018; applicants who plan to build a business selling domains in their gTLDs will be aiming for the first batches; many brand owners who applied for gTLDs will probably take their cues for participation in the Digital Archery process from Reveal Day.Continue reading...

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name blame

Is Harley-Davidson Riding Roughshod Over Fans?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 17, 2012 02:02 PM

With more than 250 million folks on Facebook, at least a few of them are likely to be bikers, and Harley-Davidson fans, so one of them thought he'd launch a community for his fellow Harley-heads.

That's what inspired Harley brand loyalist Jimmy Coulbourne to start a social network for bikers and named it HarleySpace.com in honor of the bike they all love to ride.

Well, the Milwaukee-based company was not a big fan of that move. They took the issue to court and now the 36-year-old Coulbourne has changed the name of the site to IronRides.com, though he’s not very happy about it. 

"They said I was trying to profit off their name," Coulbourne said, according to the York Daily Record. "HarleySpace isn't their name. It's Harley-Davidson. If they think they own HarleySpace, why didn't they own HarleySpace?"Continue reading...

masters of their domains

ICANN, ICANN... ICAN’T Get My Top Level Domain Yet

Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 16, 2012 03:57 PM

ICANN’s plan to open up the Internet to a new level of addressing in the form of custom top level domains is delayed… due to technical difficulties. The already besieged initiative, as we reported last month, is under scrutiny for a systemic glitch as explained in a statement last Thursday from ICANN chief operating officer Akram Atallah:

ICANN constantly monitors the performance of the TLD Application System (TAS). Recently, we received a report of unusual behavior with the operation of the TAS system. We then identified a technical issue with the TAS system software.

ICANN is taking the most conservative approach possible to protect all applicants and allow adequate time to resolve the issue. Therefore, TAS will be shut down until Tuesday at 23:59 UTC - unless otherwise notified before that time.

In order to ensure all applicants have sufficient time to complete their applications during the disruption, the application window will remain open until 23:59 UTC on Friday, 20 April 2012.

We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. If you have any questions, please contact the gTLD Customer Service Center (CSC) via the CSC portal.

So far, 839 companies have paid $185,000 to submit vanity domains in response to ICANN’s approval last June of an increase in gTLDs (generic top-level domains) from the current 22. The plan is to offer new benefits to Internet users such as the ability to create new TLDs in non-Latin, non-English scripts. Continue reading...

trademark wars

Traydmark Moves: On Trayvon Martin Trademarks & Zimmerman Domains

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 29, 2012 10:05 AM

Two days ago we reported that the mother of Florida teen shooting victim Trayvon Martin had applied to trademark terms related to his name, which was picked up by Yahoo and other outlets. In that report, we specifically took the position that the move was a "smart" move by a grieving mother to protect her son's name.

Now, another trademark application proves how wise Martin's mom was. And yet, did she make a mistake by not beefing up her trademark application?Continue reading...

web watch

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.

web watch

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...

rebranding

Why Liz Claiborne Inc. is Rebranding to Fifth & Pacific

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 4, 2012 05:07 PM

The Liz Claiborne brand name was sold in November to J.C. Penney so it was inevitable that its parent company, Liz Claiborne Inc., would shed the brand from its name. The inevitable is now official. The 34-year-old fashion company is changing its name to Fifth & Pacific Companies, and will start trading under the ticker symbol FNP in mid-May, in addition to replacing its zippy liz.com corporate domain with fifthandpacific.com.

Claiborne unloaded its Mexx brand in September and then sold its namesake brand to J.C. Penney, along with its Monet brand, two months later for $267.5 million. It also got rid of its Kensie and Dana Buchman brands this fall as it attempted to right its own financial ship. Now FNP is left with three core brands in Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand, Kate Spade, and a sibling in the mens fashion/accessory brand of Jack Spade line, to focus on.

The new corporate identity may recall Gap's Forth & Towne, Gilt's Park & Bond, and Nordstrom's Treasure & Bond, but CEO William McComb argues that the name is a perfect synthesis of the east coast/west coast stable of brands, as it's "where California cool meets New York chic."Continue reading...

web watch

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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