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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...

web watch

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...

name game

Minnesota's Crapola Proud to Be Number Two Brand

Posted by Abe Sauer on December 12, 2011 02:02 PM

From the reaches of northern Minnesota comes a crappy brand story.

Crapola is the honest-to-God name of what's billed as "the best granola in the universe." It is handmade in the small town of Ely. And not only is the brand really called "Crapola," but it's also not shy about passing the pun throughout all of its marketing. You might say that it's a gas.

"It all began with a joke," says Brian Strom, who with his wife Andrea, founded and produces Crapola. "We were just talking one day, and I said 'Wouldn't it be funny if we made cranberry apple granola and called it Crapola?'"

Strom tells brandchannel that the idea snowballed and that they were "just kidding around and that "we weren't trying to start a business or develop a brand name for granola or any other product."Continue reading...

trademark wars

It's a Shame About Ray's: New York Pizza Spat Leads to Occupy Ray's

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 9, 2011 10:01 AM

There are so many different Ray’s Pizzas in New York, it can get a little confusing. You got your Ray’s, your Original Ray’s, your Famous Ray’s, your Famous Original Ray’s, and seemingly on and on. They are so ubiquitous that there is actually a pizza place in Brooklyn that is called Not Ray’s Pizza.

It’s been so ridiculous for so many years that the problem actually got a mention on a Seinfeld episode in which a lost Kramer calls Jerry:

Kramer: I’m looking at Ray’s Pizza. You know where that is?

Jerry: Is it Famous Ray’s?

Kramer: No, it’s Original Ray’s.

When you have confusion like that between businesses, lawsuits are bound to follow. And indeed they have.Continue reading...

web watch

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...

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...

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