August 11, 2011
The powerful Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has put its 2 cents worth - or more accurately, $250 billion worth - in on the topic of new generic Top Level Domains, saying "ICANN's program is an example of public policy gone awry."
Existing gTLD's have been in existence for around 25 years. However, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is pursuing a program whereby companies could create new gTLD domain name extensions; for example, .computer and .bank.
ICANN says the program will provide corporations better brand control and create new opportunities in the online world.
The ANA strongly disagrees and has gone as far to say there will be "potentially disastrous consequences if the program is implemented in January 2012, as planned."
It believes a surge of new gTLD's will create confusion into the marketplace and increase the likelihood of cybersquatting and other malicious actions. The body also contends it will see the diversion of corporate resources that could otherwise be deployed for job creation, capital investment and economic expansion.
Furthermore, it says consumers will fall victim to online felons that "cloak themselves in the name of a trusted brand".
Assuming ICANN's initiative goes ahead, there is currently a maximum limit of 1000 new gTLDs that will be delegated each year, and the initial application period is expected to last a couple of months.
The ANA has asked ICANN to discuss the issue with the organisation with view to resolving it, but insists the first step ICANN must take is to abandon the program. Perhaps hinting at a sign of things to come, the ANA has requested ICANN respond by August 22 and has clearly stated it would continue to vigorously oppose implementation of the program.
It may be very difficult for ICANN to brush off or ignore the ANA's concerns - its membership includes 400 companies with 10,000 brands that represent a combined spend of over USD$250 billion annually in marketing communications and advertising.
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