October 26, 2011
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN) plan to increase the number of domain name extensions available has met with more resistance from the business sector.
The generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) initiative would see companies and organisations being able create extensions such as .computer, .music or a company brand name - for a price. Application fees for each new domain extension has been set by ICANN at $185,000; but that doesn't include legal and consultant fees in preparing applications, nor ongoing fees for managing the extensions.
ICANN has previously stated it will begin viewing applications starting in January 2012, but not if the USA's National Retail Federation and others have their way.
USA-based National Retail Federation (NRF) has requested the U.S. Commerce Department delay implementation, stating retailers and other businesses need more information before moving forward.
While the gTLD initiative has been evolving since 2008, "its scope and consequences have largely flown under the radar of most commercial businesses," states a letter sent to the head of the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
"To adequately plan, businesses need some level of clarity," the letter says. "To date, that guidance is lacking."
NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan says while some retailers believe the initiative will offer new marketing opportunities, others have expressed concern they may be forced to spend millions of dollars to protect themselves against cybersquatting.
Like other trade bodies that have opposed or questioned the plan, the NRF has substantial clout. It describes itself as largest retail trade association in the world, with members in the United States and more than 45 other countries.
The powerful Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has already vehemently opposed the program, as has the UK Direct Marketing Association. Both bodies believe it would add financial burden to companies in terms of fending off cybersquatters while offering little financial benefit.
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