Should Verisign’s Attempt To Get .Co Bar Its Objections To .Cam & The Rest?

Now that we published the objection filed by Verisign to .Cam as being to similar to .Com, along with the supporting documents, I have been asked what my opinion is on the objection, which is likely to be duplicated in large part when we see Verisign’s objections to .Vet, .Company, .Network and  .Bom and maybe many more.

I think Verisign raises some good points regarding confusion between .cam and .com

No doubt on a quick look people could be visually confused between the two.

.Com and .Cam sound close to each other as well but not identical.

Here are some of the problems I have with the objection:

Verisign states through the USPTO former employee that paid to study the issue:

.cam possesses no meaning, obvious or otherwise, which would serve to distinguish the letter strings.”

“Thus, there is no difference in meanings.”

We disagree.

We  all know that “cam” has a meaning separate and apart from what the meaning of .Com.

We all know what we would expect to find on a site with a the word “cam” in it.

The bigger problem I have is that ICANN in its wisdom passed through and did not place into contention other strings which I believe have the same claim to visual and audio confusion, .inc and .ink come to mind.

Although I’m not a linguist and I don’t have a graph prepared, to me the term “inc” and “ink” sound IDENTICAL.

A quick look at a web address of say www.bankingonline.inc and www.bankingonline.ink would probably  confuse a percentage of people .

How can the provider who is going to hear this objection place a different standard in the objection phrase broader than that used by the String  Similarity Panel of ICANN who was suppose to place applications that were confusing similar into the same contention sets for resolution?

.kiwi and .wiki are another two strings that look visually and sound similar but where not placed into a contention set by the panel.

The next problem I have with the survey itself.

It not only tested confusion between .com and .cam but as a test group showed two completely unrelated TLD’s to compare and still found 36 % of those people where confused on these two domains:

www.topvalueshopping.net

www.topvalueshopping.coupon

As you can see these domains don’t look or sound the same, they are not the same length one is extension has six letters the other three, yet over 1/3 of the people thought it was confusing

If you notice all the test domains used by the survey company, they were long.

The company that did the survey included the www. in the domain although we all know that is unnecessary.

I haven’t done a test of my own but logic dictates that the longer the string in the test, the great chance that there will be confusion.

I personally would have liked to see a shorter domain name without the www. included to use as a test, lets say something like buy.net and buy.coupon and then buy.com and buy.cam.

I think the confusion rate between the .net and the .coupon would have been much less and while the confusion between .com and .cam may have been less too, the discrepancy may have been greater.

The fact that there was so much confusion for domains that had no relation to the other is troubling for the study in my opinion and the fact that they didn’t test shorter domains leaves me with questions.

Finally and maybe most importantly Verisign was involved in the bid for to operate the ccTLD of .Co and lost it to .Co Internet SAS

Should the fact that Verisign was perfectly fine with operating the .Co, registry, which of course is for the sake of argument is as confusing if not more to .com as .cam, bar Verisign from now complaining about Cam or .Vet or the rest being to similar to .com?

I don’t have a horse in the race, but that is how I see it.

 

Comments

  1. says

    Hello MHB,

    This is all conjecture and B.S.

    Regardless of the outcome, which is adding more stigma to .SPAMS of all flavors, Verisigns World Flag Ship .COM Profit Centers, will win at the BROWSER.

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  2. says

    Michael. as someone who recieved a Ph.D. based on a dissertation which consisted of multiple empirical studies on test (survey) construction & validation (assessing product symbolism), your logic is consistent with well-researched test construction principles. The noted survey was heavily flawed for the reasons you pointed-out.

    I think there are severe potential problems with confusion regarding the new TLDs, but the commisioned survey was a confounded mess (like most corporate surveys drafted by people with no background in psychometrics). I do not favor the new gTLDs, but I thought your ‘gut analysis’ was dead-on.

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