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Domain Game: Universities Snap Up Academia.XXX

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 14, 2011 01:01 PM

Brands are waiting to see what happens with ICANN's gTLD program launch, with a second hearing (following last week's grilling) taking place today in Washington.

In the meantime, another domain game — the introduction of .xxx website addresses — is convincing trademark-holders and brand marketers to protect their name and reputation from purveyors of adult content who they fear could sabotage their good names. Nowhere is this more true than for academic brand managers.

The ICM Registry gave trademark holders a one-time chance to pay $200 per address as a blocking charge in a ‘sunrise sale,’ and among the first academic brands to step up was the University of Kansas, buying kansas.xxx, rockchalkjayhawk.xxx, jayhawks.xxx, and more recently, kustore.xxx, kugirls.xxx and jayhawk.xxx for about $3,000 according to the AP.

"It's truly a preventative blocking measure, blocking others from doing it," commented Paul Vander Tuig, the university's trademark licensing director, to USA Today.

As we noted earlier this month, the scandal-rocked Penn State snapped up some .xxx domains to avoid further embarrassment. Carnegie Mellon, Indiana, Purdue, Pittsburgh and The University of Missouri have followed suit, with the latter securing missouri.xxx, missouritigers.xxx and mizzou.xxx.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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As .XXX Goes Live, ICANN Ushers in Virtual Red-Light District

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 7, 2011 11:02 AM

The Internet got a lot smuttier yesterday as 100,000 plus websites in the newly approved ICANN .XXX top-level domain went live.

Proponents, along with the ICM Registry which owns and regulates the .XXX top-level domain, argue the move makes it easier to avoid adult content as the X’s are clear signals about the content.

Critics, however, claim the lack of requirement for providers of adult content to use the .XXX TLD will encourage sexually explicit material to flourish anew in other domains, making it more difficult to restrict, and might even lead to legislation mandating the new triple X domains for ‘sexually explicit’ content, leading to further litigation about free speech and jurisdiction.

Luxembourg-based Manwin, which manages Playboy.com, YouPorn, xTube, and other sites, recently filed suit against ICANN arguing that .XXX creates a virtual monopoly and adds unnecessary costs to doing business in that space.

“We oppose the .XXX domain and all it stands for. It is my opinion that .XXX domain is an anticompetitive business practice that works a disservice to all companies that do business on the Internet,” said Fabian Thylmann, managing partner, Manwin.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...

what's in a name

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...

what's in a name

Overstock.com Backpedals on O.co Rebranding

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 14, 2011 11:25 AM

Overstock.com announced in January that it was rebranding its URL to O.co as a speedier online shortcut to its wares. In June, it unveiled the new name and logo at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA (above) in time for a U2 concert, a signage change that following Overstock's six-year deal in April for naming rights to the home of NFL's Oakland Raiders and the Oakland Athletics MLB franchise.

"Our customers associate 'O' with Overstock.com, which made the transition to O.co seamless. As a Savings Engine, this is the next step in adding more visibility to our shortcut," said Overstock.com Chairman and CEO Patrick Byrne in a press release. "Naming the facility O.co Coliseum demonstrates our commitment to seeing through the execution of the new domain."

"Overstock.com is clearly at the forefront of digital marketing and their decision to use a .CO domain in such a big way, underscores their willingness to lead the market and to disrupt the status quo," commented Juan Diego Calle, CEO of .CO Internet SAS in the same release. "With the exponential growth of mobile commerce, where shaving milliseconds means gaining a strategic competitive advantage, customers around the world can now reach the company's products and services quickly and securely by simply typing O.co — the shortest possible URL in the world."

Now, however, the company is backing off from the new name because customers couldn't find its snappy new URL.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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