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web watch

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...

web watch

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...

sports in the spotlight

London’s Olympic Stadium Seeks Sponsor

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 5, 2011 10:01 AM

In the late summer of 2012, the sporting world’s eyes will be upon London where the XXX Olympics (oh, behave!) will kick off with much fanfare and probably a good many shots on the television of the Queen’s Guard marching about seriously.

If all goes well for Olympic organizers, it’ll also feature a stadium with a new name. The Daily Mail reports that the Olympic Park Legacy Company is “looking to raise about £10million ($13.5 million) a year in naming rights for the three main arenas in Stratford after the 2012 Games.”

With the Olympic ceremonies alone estimated to be valued up £5b, it could be an unprecedented platform for brand exposure. That's why London 2012 organizers are seeking sponsors to sign on the dotted line and place their names on the new Olympic Stadium, aquatics center, and velodrome. The stadium alone should raise £6m ($8m) annually, the Mail reports.

The West Ham United club of the English Premier League are looking to move into the stadium after the Olympics end, the Mail notes, which would make it part of the growing numbers of teams that play in a branded stadium.Continue reading...

web watch

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...

name game

Mercedes-Benz Using Superdome Every Way It Can

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 29, 2011 03:33 PM

Mercedes-Benz announced in early October that it had purchased the naming rights to the Superdome in New Orleans for the next 10 years. And the luxury automaker isn’t missing any chances to spread its name around with dome power.

On Monday night, the New Orleans Saints blew out the New York Giants 49-24 in the dome’s first hosting of Monday Night Football since Mercedes-Benz signed on. It didn’t go totally smoothly. According to WWLTV, the National Football League made the dome management remove the stenciled words “Mercedes-Benz Superdome” from the field turf only hours before the game. 

“The NFL doesn’t allow secondary logos or non-NFL-affiliated logos on the field and turf crews had to spray off the paint from the FieldTurf,” WWLTV reports.

It was also the first time that a nation of viewers got to witness the strange light show emanating from the dome. Like a Mardi Gras necklace, the new dome has a lot of different colors to show off. However, the dome’s colors emanate from a massive lighting system that slowly moves from one shade to the next, filling the night sky.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune isn’t a huge fan of the dome’s lights, but the paper has far more disdain for the humongous (and plentiful) Mercedes-Benz logos projected there now, according to an op-ed.

“When the folks at Mercedes-Benz build a sleek, beautiful automobile, they stamp it with a few discrete corporate symbols: a blended-in grill ornament, maybe small hub-cap logos, and an inset star-and-ring on the steering wheel,” the Times-Picayune editorializes. “But that kind of design discretion didn’t apply at the Dome. Whoever decided on the size and placement of the corporate bling must have consulted with Flavor Flav.”

trademark wars

The Beatles' Beloved Cavern Club Sues Hard Rock Cafe

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 27, 2011 10:03 PM

England’s Cavern Club, the Liverpool nightclub revered by fans of the Beatles for launching the Fab Four in their homeland, slapped the Hard Rock Café International with a lawsuit Sunday in Las Vegas alleging trademark infringement.

The Cavern Club, which calls itself the "cradle of British pop music," still features Beatles tributes and other performers.

Now, the famed club is taking issue with an events room called "The Cavern Club" at one of the Hard Rock's Las Vegas cafe locations. Hard Rock Cafe International, owned by Florida’s Seminole Indian tribe, does not own the Hard Rock Hotel casino in Las Vegas and is involved in a trademark lawsuit with the hotel-casino.

going mobile

Google Makes Mobile, Alabama, a Mobile Showcase

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 24, 2011 06:01 PM

As part of Google's GoMo "Go Mobile" initiative, on November 15 and 16, Google kicked-off the effort to make Mobile, Alabama, a fully mobilized city. As part of Mobile's mobile makeover, Google upgraded Lulu's, a local hotspot (and we don't mean in the wireless sense); Foosackly's, a local chicken joint; and Red Square Agency — watch their makeovers below.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...

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