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09|23|2009 01:27 pm EDT

ICANN CEO Defends New gTLDs

by Chad Kettner in Categories: ICANN / Policy

icann_rod_beckstromRod Beckstrom

New ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom has responded to the concerns regarding additional gTLDs raised by two of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s top Republicans, Lamar Smith and Howard Coble, saying that “the new gTLD policy development is the very type of process that the United States government envisioned, supported and encouraged through three presidential administrations.”

In the detailed letter, Beckstrom addressed the three key questions raised by the congressmen:

Q1: How will the recommendations put forth by the Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT) serve to reduce or eliminate the need for defensive registrations. Will any of the recommendations prevent price gouging by registries or registrars?

“ICANN’s new gTLD policy includes a provision requiring that new gTLDs ‘must not infringe the existing legal rights of others that are recognized or enforceable under generally accepted and internationally recognized principles of law.’ Accordingly, ICANN will, to the extent possible, protect trademark holders from abusive registrations and from the need for defensive registrations in new gTLDs, but no final decision has been made yet on the exact mechanisms that will be employed.

The New gTLD Program is being designed to with a goal of reducing or eliminating the need for businesses to register domains defensively. One of the key features of protection measures being discussed is a ‘rapid suspension’ system for freezing and suspending clearly infringing registrations in a timely and economical basis, consistent with procedures to ensure fairness… A reduction in the perceived need to register names defensively will also have the effect of reducing the perceived power of new gTLD registries to charge organizations artificially inflated prices for registrations in order to avoid becoming the target of opportunistic cybersquatters.”

Q2: Does ICANN intend to carry out a comprehensive, empirical economic study to examine the impact on competition that additional gTLDs may have? Assuming the rollout goes forward, what steps will ICANN take to monitor the impact on competition in the future?

“ICANN has commissioned three separate economic reports during the implementation phase of the New gTLD Program… They have all recognized that the fundamental benefits of competition that apply in almost all other markets will also benefit Internet users. Those benefits include enhanced service offerings, competition, innovation and choice in the domain name market, while other costs to registrants and overall economic modeling need further analysis…

…In the end, calling for a delay in the entry of new gTLDs only serves to perpetuate existing market conditions: concentration within some existing registries, with most short generic strings unavailable, and those that trade on the value of the current marketplace, holding portfolios based upon the value of current .COM names.

…ICANN will retain economists to review and summarize work to date regarding the costs and benefits of new gTLDs, putting that work into the context of the questions some have said remain open, and then evaluate whether additional study is required.”

Q3: Do you recognize a need for and support the establishment of a permanent instrument that memorializes the relationship between ICANN and the U.S. Government? What assurances do citizens of the United States have that ICANN will effectively meet the goals set out in the JPA if it or a successor agreement is not formally extended?

“It is important to note that the conclusion of the JPA is not a termination of ICANN’s relationship with the United States Government nor is ICANN an advocate of that possibility…

…ICANN seeks to have a long term, formal relationship with the United States Government and also seeks to build long-term relationships with other countries and contractual partners as well.

What do you think of Rod Beckstrom’s response? Are you in favor of the new gTLDs? Do you agree with the way ICANN has handled the process thus far?

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10 Comments

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jp

September 23, 2009 @ 2:52 pm EDT

I think he is most shortsighted in seemingly assuming the introduction of new .tlds will automatically create competition that show up on .com’s radar.

Most people fail to recognize why .com is on top of the food chain. It is from the countless billions of marketing dollars that got it there. Of course that mostly happened because here was really no other extension to see in tv ads, etc… in the past. But it’s already done, the world has been trained to think that .com is the Internet and it will cost more than was spent on .com to get another extension to replace it on the food chain. Once people get trained it is hard to untrain them. Take Santa Clause for example. What we all think of a Santa is actually Santa as designed by Coca Cola Corporation. I believe he used to wear green and be much thinner, until Coke put him in a red suite and plumped him up. Notice he matches the colors of a coke can. It will take 10000 times te amount o money Coke spent marketing Santa years ago to change the world’s perception of Santa today.

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David J Castello

September 23, 2009 @ 6:34 pm EDT

If the General Public is up screaming all night because they can’t live another day without new gTLDs let them have it (I suffered from chronic insomnia until dotTravel was launched). No one should be an obstacle to what the General Public desires. And this is true, especially if you believe the General Public is comprised of ICANN, Al Gore, Wolfgang Puck, Ed Koch, Minds & Machines, the Tooth Fairy and 50 registrars.

jp

September 23, 2009 @ 6:46 pm EDT

David

:)

I agree let them have it. For some reason it has recently started getting under my skin how ridiculous some of these pro gTLD guys are being, but realistically I’m not too worried about it. Honestly, if we could help them make this launch something that would actually benefit everyone involved then that would be great. There is defeinitely an opportunity here to do something great with all of this to make money and benefit the world, but they are missing the mark IMHO. Bottom line it’s going to be their problem, not ours.

Ron

September 23, 2009 @ 9:35 pm EDT

Let them get 25 more gTLDs deep. It will be fodder for even more ridicule later.

I’m going to be one sarcastic, annoying, mo-fo at that point, gloating over these morons who know nothing about domains…..meaning ICANN and the like. The rest I will ridicule with insults for profiting while selling out the Internet and it’s users.

Shame on ENOM ! They are not a domainers friend for sure! What a bunch of cut throats.

Phio

September 23, 2009 @ 10:24 pm EDT

I admire Wolfgang Puck for his wonderful cooking skills; in fact I ate one of his pizzas for lunch today. And with the raging battles that we will see with the release of the new gtlds, one begins to question who really has the rights to own a generic extension, like .food? Perhaps it should go to an Italian because they brought some great cooking skills to the world, or to a Chinese person, the Chinese mastered the art of cooking thousands of years ago. Etc. etc. Another question is what words (domain names) will be allowed to be registered with .food, for example, it is obvious that one wouldn’t be able to register, KFC.food, or Wendys.food. Gourmet.food looks pretty good. I’m beginning to feel like Andy Rooney…. Pizza.food doesn’t look very good, and fish.food does.

The next question that comes up for all of us is; are people really going to type .food after a word. Hmmm, well if lot’s of money is spent on branding the name they probably will get the hang of it. More often than not, they will type in gourmet.com, or do a search for “gourmet food” or perhaps even search out“gourmet food in Riverside.” Riverside.food seems pretty good, but how many Riversides are there out there?

Another question that begins to brew is, how are google, yahoo, and bing going to handle the .food extension, or any of the other vanity and trademark gtlds? Will gourmet.food ever be able to rise to the top of google search results? Maybe, but probably not. I don’t want to knock the .food extension as it is a pretty good one, but again another question comes up, what is this all for? Take Disney for example, would a .Disney gtld be worth it to them. Don’t they already own Disney.com? Or Microsoft? How valuable is a .Microsoft really when Microsoft.com is where everyone goes to download software releases.

We are all wondering if the owners of these new gtlds will begin to auction them off?
Will Suppliers.food command a good price, how much is thai.food worth… xx,xxx?
Is this a money making venture perhaps? Is it fair to the owner of thaifood.com that now someone can buy thai.food? Time will tell. Perhaps the thousands of unemployed lawyers will have some work to do, and they can get out of real estate and back to legal work.

The final question is how is ICANN going to maintain tables that prevent the registration of thai.food, if the thaifood.com owner has branded and trademarked his name. And how many millions of possible combinations of words will be restricted. How will those tables be maintained. How do you know if someone is really the trademark owner? How does one prove it, without going through a strenuous legal case. Are the Madrid and Trademark systems in the world talking to each other. Some trademarks are obvious, but in the world of ‘domains’ that weren’t included in the original trademark laws, trademarks become a very murky sea.

In conclusion, although I have nothing against the release of the new gtlds, there are many things to consider with their launch.

1) Determining who has the rights to a new gtld needs to have a waiting period, so that all those interested will have time to prepare their cases.

2) The release of the new gtlds should not be launched until an extensive table is set up to nix any trademark registrations, and a separate board will need to be established to rule on exceptions.

3) The release of the new gtlds should not hold up the release of IDN.IDN for cctlds and the corresponding .com .net and .org non-Latin extensions.

4) WIPO and the UDRP process will have to prepare for and be educated on the numerous new issues and concerns that the new gtlds will present.

Jason

September 23, 2009 @ 10:40 pm EDT

The only TLD that will put a dent on .COM – if that’s what ICANN wants – is already in the root and soon to be launched: .CO

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David

September 29, 2009 @ 11:40 am EDT

What happened to dot-web? I always liked .web and thought it would be especially attractive when trying to reg a new domain but seeing the com net and org all taken (as all too commonly happens) so I am sure it would compete well against .com

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