The Opposition To the New gTLD Program Is Looking Like The FSC Vs .XXX More Everyday

Well the news yesterday that 87 “major national and international business associations and companies have joined forces with the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), forming the Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight (CRIDO) to oppose the rollout of ICANN’s top-level domain expansion program.”

The announcement got a lot of press, yet the whole thing seems puzzling to me.

While the press release announcing this new Coalition threw out some nice names like the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Society of Association Executives, the National Restaurant Association, the Intellectual Property Owners Association, the American Council of Life Insurers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), its seems quite similar to the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) efforts to block .XXX from being added to the root.

Too late.

If you will recall the FSC was pretty silent in the .XXX application process as it went through ICANN starting in 2000 and as revised in 2004 until well after is was approved by ICANN in 2007.

FSC opposition got quite vocal last year but that was after an Independent Judicial Panel found that ICANN violated its own rules when it approved and then disapproved the extension years before.

Now 4 months after ICANN approved the new gTLD program in it Singapore meeting in June we have all these group coming out and opposing the program.

I think that ship has sailed.

The current and final guidebook is Version 7, meaning that there were 6 previous verison all of which had extensive comment periods for anyone to wanted to comment.

Moreover ICANN has held 3 meetings a year all around the world discussing the new gTLD program and the details around it.

ICANN meetings are opened to everyone, are free and always have a public comment time in which anyone can get up and have it say with the board.

Where were all these groups for the YEARS leading up to the vote?

I have it on good source that the ANA, the group heading this Coalition only submitted two comments on the Guidebook in the during the previous 6 comment periods.

What about the other members of this Coalition?

Did any of these groups participate in the ICANN mulit-stake holder process?

Where were they over the last few years when this proposal was under consideration and debate?

This coalition should have been formed YEARS ago when the proposal was first up for discussion and certainly by 2010 when I started attending the ICANN meeting in Brussels where it became obvious to me that the new gTLD proposal was on track to be passed.

You can’t sleep on an issue for years, wake up after the issue has been decided upon and then object.

Its like an attorney jumping up after a verdict has been entered saying I object to that question you asked 5 days ago to Mr. Jones.

Sorry

Fail

Comments

  1. says

    Where were all these groups for the YEARS leading up to the vote?

    A lot of them and a lot of other companies and organizations commented at length in a a myriad of different comment periods over the years – ICANN just didn’t seem interested in their points of view.

  2. Michael H. Berkens says

    GPM

    Well I’m not sure that is the case.

    As I said the ANA only filed 2 comments over 6 guidebook comment periods.

    I don’t remeber hearing anyone from these orgs at any open forum at any ICANN meeting I attended but assuming your statement is correct then they are sore losers.

    They had their say and input, participated in a process in which they knew a decision would be issued and when the decision didn’t go there way (well 4 months ago) now they go crying about it to the press.

  3. Jon says

    Sorry Michael.
    There will be no new tlds. The only people wanting tlds are consultants getting fat fees and icann insiders getting fat kickbacks from said consultants.

  4. Michael H. Berkens says

    Jon

    “The only people wanting tlds are consultants getting fat fees and icann insiders getting fat kickbacks from said consultants.”

    Sorry that is incorrect

    I know because I have met with cities, brands and groups that not only want one or more new TLD but have the money, the vision and the desire to have one

    New York City for one, Paris for another, Canon, .Music., .Gay the list goes on and on and most groups are still in stealth mode.

    There certainly are consulting groups, back end providers and other “insiders” that want to make money off of new extension but there are actually businesses and groups that want to get a TLD or several

  5. Seb says

    Sorry Michael, i agree with Jon, there will be no new tlds.
    ICANN will be sued by CRIDO.
    ICANN will step back and be sued by pro new tlds groups.
    Then ICANN will implode and replaced by new organization…

  6. says

    There were a lot of comments from major corporations explaining to ICANN that what they were proposing wasn’t a good idea. ICANN didn’t even bother to summarize some of those comment periods and even went so far as to remove them from the index page so they were effectively buried. The vast majority of comments from outside ICANN and it’s [would be] contracted parties were overwhelmingly against ICANN’s proposals.

    I think this comment from 2008 provides a useful summary of some of the problems associated with new gTLDs.

    The introduction of new gTLDs by ICANN, will create mass confusion in the
    public, increase by many fold the already existing problems of trademark
    infringement, phishing attacks, and increased spam. The new extensions
    threaten the stability and security of the entire internet.

    ICANN has not listened to comments like those and little of the core framework has changed and accordingly is based around the same flawed assumptions.

    VI was a classic example where the community was actually asked to debate an issue. It was pretty obvious from the outset that the discussion was framed in a way that was never likely to reach consensus, the board then came in with a 180 degree about position to what had been discussed.

    Now why would they do that? Classic Bait & Switch?

  7. Michael H. Berkens says

    GPM

    I’m probably not the guy if your looking for someone to defend ICANN and their actions, however just because they did not adopt a position stated by a group doesn’t mean the comments weren’t heard.

    Lets not forget this whole new gTLD thing was initially pushed by those who wanted their own extension and most of those were cities like New York, Berlin and Paris.

    Its not like ICANN came out with this idea on their own.

    There were cities asking for their own TLD and at a the time where cities are facing budget shortfalls cutting back services, schools, teachers and police, etc any extra revenue the can generate would be most welcome.

    Remember there are a lot of different interests that make their voices heard at ICANN and many are polar opposite.

  8. says

    It seems the Welsh business community is in support of a .WALES TLD.

    http://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/news/2124149/welsh-businesses-support-gtlds

    The process, and ICANN are not going to implode, that would lead to an international body from the U.N. taking over, which is something that the U.S. DOC – NTIA do NOT want.

    The comparison to FSC is valid, too little, too late. They are sore losers that did not get their way and are now bitching and moaning.

    Josh Bourne, President of CADNA ( previously the most vocal opponents of New gTLDs) told Kevin Murphy of DomainIncite , “It’s not just about big companies at this point, We’ve got hundreds of entrepreneurs and governments planning to apply for a range of gTLDs, – .wales, .london, .paris, .health, .green, .eco… It’s not just about brands, so to cancel the policy now, that’s just never going to happen,”

    If a lawsuit could prevail, Josh Bourne would probably have been spearheading it.

  9. says

    The initial decision was taken by the GNSO before they were “reformed” as a result of the LSE study.Why was that reform implemented? To change the balance of power. The problem with it was it was done after the fact, as with so many things ICANN.

    GNSO reform, Domain Tasting, VI, The proper summarizing of public input, ATRT and the latest “ethics”.

    There were many different ways ICANN could have implemented new gTLDs. The one size fits all approach (with the exception of the normal/communities application tracks) was a huge mistake and at the time I couldn’t figure out why Peter Dengate Thrush was so adamantly opposed to even any discussion on the matter.

    Remember there are a lot of different interests that make their voices heard at ICANN and many are polar opposite.

    The public interest isn’t best served when those leading/conducting the discussions stand to benefit directly from core decisions being decided one way or the other, especially when those decisions have massive financial implications for innocent third parties.

    There are some pree

  10. yes says

    those who favor new gtlds are usually if not always those who stand to profit.

    there’s just one small point they gloss over.

    the only way they profit is if advertisers direct spending towards putting ads, order processing or redirects on the new domains in these new gtlds.

    ultimately, that’s where all the money comes from.

    no ads, no money.

    advertisers are the golden goose. they are the hand that feeds web businesses, including domainers.

    can these consultants and icann insiders arguing for new gtld’s bite the hand that feeds them and still get their way?

    we shall see.

    gtld’s or not, we should not forget that using icann’s root is a choice. we can use other roots. roots that are more aligned with honest business practices. roots that do not include .xxx. roots that do not promote trademark disputes where icann profits from the procedural fees to resolve them.

    new gtld’s might not kill the goose that lays the golden egg. but this move might drive her away from icann to another nest. a better root.

  11. yes says

    icann: add all the gtld’s you want. but if advertisers balk and users change their dns settings to a more sensible root, one that respects trademarks, one that does not need a slush fund for anticipated litigation, and one that gives non-commercial communities the help they need to get their own tld, then your perfectly timed gtld scheme becomes moot. you will become the moot root.

    icann. the moot root.

    it’s simple. if icann does a crappy job with dns and makes it a bigger mess than it already is, someone else will do better.

  12. says

    There will probably be a lawsuit, but I’m not sure that will accomplish anything except maybe delay. As you mentioned, ICANN gave plenty of opportunities for opposition, and besides commenting, these groups could have gone extra steps to oppose it before it was approved. Instead they sat by while it was approved.

    I do think SOME complaints about the new TLDs are viable, but I also think many complaints are based upon the assumption that all new TLDs will be successful and that all companies will have to defensively register their trademark in every single one of them. The sky just isn’t going to fall like that.

  13. Philip Corwin says

    When I review the list of CIDRO members I see a collection of very powerful but very strange bedfellows.
    But if they are serious about this, and bring a unified message to Capitol Hill (and, through Congress, to the Commerce Department at a time when the IANA contract is up for rebid), then things will get very uncomfortable for ICANN in DC.
    And there’s no doubt that they have the funds to back a major dilatory lawsuit on new gTLDs, if they want to.
    It’s too soon to predict the impact of this development on new gTLDs, but it sure isn’t positive. The real question is whether, after signing onto a press rlease, they are ready to sign checks to fund coordinated lobbying and litigation.

  14. BrianWick says

    @philip:
    Candid words – it all comes down to how much justice can be afforded – and of course I love the refence to CapitolHill.com – we all weeks away from launching a polling site there.
    Bri

  15. LindaM says

    I think there will be some long, protracted and undoubtedly expensive appeals and further appeals on this, it will all be money down the drain. The new gtld’s are coming, the only decisions left really are which ones make it into the functioning root. Thats going to be quite a party for the lawyers right there.

    I think certain ones will be worth a lot, if I owned a pizza company in chicago I would be tempted to pay more for chicago.pizza than chicagopizza.com . The cool thing is that this format of new names will probably be WAY cheaper than the equivalent .com, for a while anyway.
    I just think they look nicer and some may even pass the radio test better. The future is a long time and when new gtld are common its probably easier for the masses to remember imo, its quicker/shorter to tweet too.

  16. says

    I would be tempted to pay more for chicago.pizza than chicagopizza.com

    The problem is how long does it take to (a) Get all the .pizza domains populated with useful content and (b) how long does it take for sufficient numbers of users to become aware that there is useful content there.

    Especially if there are also .deeppan .food .takeaway .takeout .restaurant .dominos .hut all chasing eyeballs.

  17. says

    Won’t the new ICANN gtld change be a good one for competetion in the market place for new and upcoming entrepreneurs because they will be able to secure more relevant, useful and helpful domain names that match their keywords better? At this time the best domain names are already taken and have been for a long time. Does this change help the poor start up company? Won’t this help to eliminate scams on the internet? Won’t this change help eliminate all of the useless article writing just to get to the top of search engine? I’ve got to go back to school!

  18. says

    The opposition from these organizations and others is caused by lack of general vision for new gTLDs.

    What are they for? How will they benefit their business? Will 100mm new domains change navigational patterns to their sites by clouding the search engine results?..

    They need to understand where the benefit is for them. They need to start treating it as an opportunity: the rise of new gTLDs will unavoidably lead to a next step in social networking and will become a BIG THING pretty fast.

    Example:

    Stop for a second and think what would happen if Facebook came up with their own gTLD… Let’s say .fb

    They have now over 750mm users. Within a month the amount of domains registered to date will double. The activity will shift from established websites toward newly created domains.

    And this is only Facebook. Now add Twitter, LinkedIn, and bunch of new social networks appearing on basis of .music, .sports, and others.

    I look at this picture and see a lot of exciting opportunities. Especially for early adopters.

  19. says

    Stop for a second and think what would happen if Facebook came up with their own gTLD… Let’s say .fb

    They have now over 750mm users. Within a month the amount of domains registered to date will double. The activity will shift from established websites toward newly created domains.

    (a) Under ICANN’s proposals .fb is not possible

    (b) Why would Facebook want to give ICANN $187,000,000 or so in fees EVERY year?

    (c) Why would they want to have no control over future price rises in those fees to ICANN?

    (d) Why would they want to create and handle all those extra hundreds of millions of DNS lookups?

  20. and says

    handling a few 100,000 extra dns queries is no big deal. an allegedly obsolete pc or laptop could handle a few 1000 queries per second, easy. how many queries do you think you yourself generate _per day_? maybe 10-15,000, max? makes you wonder why you are even using someone else’s dns servers. why not use your own?

    why even use dns, except for an initial lookup? for the same addresses visited day after day, the hosts file is faster. and safer.

    when you have the access to capital that facebook has, you can buy a lot of hardware. you can answer billions of queries if need be. you certainly do not need icann’s permission to answer dns queries. does the average user really care if you are “icann accredited”? they don’t even know what icann is. and if they do, after a little research they are destined to learn that icann is a racket.

    of course, facebook is even worse.

    and there are many companies, organizations or even individual users that can serve up answers to requests for ip addresses. it’s not difficult at all.

    anyone can store those answers, alleviating the need to keep looking up the same numbers, day after day. they might put them in a hosts file and say goodbye to delays caused by dns lookups. they could stop the risks of phishing, other dns-based scams and annoyances. with awareness of the hosts file, some, maybe even all, botnets would cease to function. these scams often rely on users’ dns ignorance.

    unless they have taken time to learn, most people are generally ignorant about the basics of how computers and networks work, and that includes dns. yet more than a few are ready and willing to invest their money in these areas, anticipating “the next big thing”. this is not good.

    icann and the consultant crowd are well aware of this fact and are going to milk it for all its worth if someone doesn’t step up and say “no”.

    no matter how incredibly stupid one organisations/company’s web strategy may be, defying all common sense, whether it’s naming systems or otherwise, if they implement and launch it to a sizeable audience, their self-appointed “competitors” more often than not feel compelled to _copy_ it.

    like animals, they will mimick each others’ behavior.

    add in some intellectual property law that purports to protect against copying, sit back and enjoy the show.

    alas, the end result of all this nonsense is that users suffer more annoyances and less responsive computing.

    silly as it may sound, since dumb money continues flowing into this, the way forward is user education. that is the only way things will get better for users.

  21. and says

    correction: the average number of dns queries per user per day has been measured at 1500. this number was quoted in the WSJ. that’s 1,500 not 15,000.

    what would be interesting to know is how many of those queries for the average user are the same from one day to another, and how many originate from the same location from one day to the next.

    as you might imagine, a large percentage of those queries are for the addresses of ad servers, not the website the user types into the address bar.

    the user doesn’t consciously initiate those extra queries. they are only possible because she let’s someone else control her use of dns.

  22. says

    http://www.chicago.pizza.com and chicago.pizza.com both say “404 No response” in response to your “chicago.pizza”.
    I believe alot of people will just add a .com at the end of “Please go to chicago.pizza”.

    ———————————
    “I would be tempted to pay more for chicago.pizza than chicagopizza.com

    Especially if there are also .deeppan .food .takeaway .takeout .restaurant .dominos .hut all chasing eyeballs.”
    ———————————

  23. why says

    over on cbsnews website, there’s a story about some universities and businesses in missouri registering .xxx domains to prevent any possible association with their trademarks. there will be no content at these domains. they will just be off limits for use by others.

    this is likely what new gtld’s would amount to:- a trademark protectionist racket. you pay an annual reg fee to keep your trademark safe.

    we saw this before with cctld’s. the founder of the beloved .mobi ran a scheme where he convinced some companies to register their trademarks in many different cctlds. nothing necessary wrong with this but it accomplishes little. those domains just redirect to .com

    the history is there. and this would just repeat itself with new gtld’s. no matter what the proposed anti-cybersquatter processes, the registries will welcome reg fees to protect trademarks. they always have and they always will.

    why do we need those domains to exist in the first place? they are not going to point to any useful content. they just redirect to .com. and nothing in the dns requires them to exist in a zone. the registries are intentionally adding them into the zone. profit motive.

    why should a trademark owner have to pay some crooked registry to keep these domains off limits to parties that do not own a corresponding trademark? no, strike that. why _are_ trademark owners paying these registries to protect their marks? the registries created the risk in the first place!

  24. BrianWick says

    @Why,
    You preach to the choir here about non.com’s – a full two handed stroke – except for the poster child non.com domains – such as in the case of this thread the 1000 (or less) intuitive (verb).me domains.

    .xxx is really not a non.com – it is in a world of its own where the success of .xxx adult brands NOT related to their .com counterparts will cause extraordinarily high numbers of defensive registrations. No other non.com can even remotely compete.

  25. Michael H. Berkens says

    Why

    I think .XXX is uniquely situated the one extension that would cause a lot of defensive registrations.

    Frankly there are 22 TLD and hundreds of ccTLD in existance I and doubt that the schools have registrations in too many of them.

    Of course if there was a .school TLD they might want to protect their space, but I don’t think you will see them feeling compelled to defensively register domains in extensions like .hotels, .music, .insurance and hundreds of more having nothing to do with what the school does,

    On the other hand the new gTLD process has a lot of new built in protections for brand owners (of which .XXX is not one) including a trademark clearinghouse and the Uniform Rapid Suspension

  26. why says

    @wick+mhb
    yes, xxx is unique in many respects.
    its success is certainly not dependent on defensive regs. it will surely get a lot of them, maybe more than any other registry. but all registries get them. and it’s a profit center. that was my point.
    as for the cctld example my mind was on trademarks for companies that do business worldwide. american universities would not really fall into that category. and each country may have its own “.edu” equivalent for its university domains.

  27. why says

    personally i don’t think the clearinghouse or urs is going stop history from repeating itself. my opinion is that if new gtlds became a reality we would see pretty much the same problems we’ve seen in the past with other tlds, despite the best intentions of the committees that have worked on those tlds and the ones who have worked on this new gtld program.

  28. Michael H. Berkens says

    Why

    no doubt there are going to be defensive domain registrations.

    Even I have registered some domains important to our brand in other extensions.

    So its part of the cost of doing business.

    I don’t love signing checks to the insurance company to protect my car, my house my stuff but I do it.

    I don’t think the financials of the new gTLD’s are going to work for typo guys.

    too little traffic and the costs of the new gTLD’s are going to be too high.

  29. ICanNot@home.com says

    I have no idea whether or not the new tlds will come to market but to suggest that those opposed had plenty of opportunity to voice their opinions during the process and failed to do so are nothing more than whiners is only one side of the story. Domainers know well that ICANN has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to many of the comments made by interested parties during its history. It is not like ICANN who has a self interest in tld expansion has been overly responsive to comments over the years. ICANN simply sees what they want to see, hears what they want to hear and does what they want to do. Justification of their actions has never been their strong suit. You think people didnt voice concerns over the proposed price increses we are being forced to pay for tld registrations. You’d be hard pressed to find a comment in favor of same but the reality is price increases have come to pass. I welcome someone with the $ and balls to take ICANN to task on any subject, including the new tlds which are yet another solution to a nonexistant problem

  30. heavy sigh says

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
    I would be tempted to pay more for chicago.pizza than chicagopizza.com . The cool thing is that this format of new names will probably be WAY cheaper than the equivalent .com
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

    and if you wanted to encourage University of Chicago students to visit your restaurant, you could create content for http://uchicago.pizza. I’m envisioning the confusion about where to go for information about the University to far outweigh value to the entity that purchases .pizza, and far far far outweigh value to the general consumer.

    Of course, if you only sold pizza in Chicago or in Illinois or in the midwest only, would a .pizza gTLD be worth your effort? ABC Food Corp that sells pizza nationwide including its Chicago Style Frozen Pizza would likely be the ones creating content for chicago.pizza.

    There are going to be a lot of confused surfers when this gets rolled out. Sure, we’ll figure it out eventually with very little value to show for our efforts, and those who manage domains will get rich.

    Who wants to chip in with me to buy .bubble?

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