ICDR Rejects Verisign’s String Confusion Objection To .Cam As Being Too Confusing to .Com

One of the more interesting objections filed at the International Centre for Dispute resolution (ICDR) based on String Confusion was Verisign’s objection to the new gTLD .Cam being too confusing to .Com.

Today a panel has ruled that .Cam is not confusing to .Com, finding “the visual similarity of the two strings does not allow a conclusion that confusion would result”.

“The test is not to decide whether the proposed domain name bears similarities to existing domain name but rather to determine whether or not an average Internet user would be confused by those similarities.”

“I agree that a consumer would quickly realize that a .com website is likely associated with photography or cameras use and is different than a .com website.

“Neither am I satisfied that Verisign will suffer any significant economic harm if the .cam string application is allowed. The .com name is a powerful market force that is unlikely to be displaced in any measurable way by niche websites that adopt the .cam extension for website devoted to cameras photography or film making.”

“I have considered the similarities between the proposed .com string and the existing .com string on all the levels raised by Verisign.  while there is visual similarity and aural similarity and no dictionary distinction in meaning there is not, on the whole, in the context of modern internet usage, any rational basis up which to conclude that an average reasonable internet user would probably be confused in the distinguishing between the two.”

“I find that there is no probability of confusion in the mind of the average, reasonable Internet user.”

This particular objection was filed to the application of AC Webconnecting Holding, B.V.

Here is the decision:

ACWeb .CAM decision v. VRSN 50 504 T 00224 13 determination

Comments

  1. BrianWick says

    Michael -
    yes .xxx watch out for .cum.

    And .cam will just be a domain hack – but the registry will sell lots of these worthless .cam”s – that will never get used – but who care if you are the registry. Hang on to your .com’s folks.

  2. says

    years down the road people will laugh at them objecting to .cam because its “too confusing”

    guess what, the number O is confusing to the letter 0, isnt it?

    the world still spins. domainers are desperate with this whole “only increases the value of .com” talk

    oh my golly its getting out of control – some of you guys should go outside or at least open a window..

  3. Grim says

    @ontheinterweb
    > years down the road people will laugh at them
    > objecting to .cam because its “too confusing”

    Years from now, .CAM, like many of these new extensions, will be a distant memory… in the meantime, the average person on the street who know or care nothing about the new gTLDs will more than likely mishear it as “.COM”.

    Purchasers of .CAM will have to go to the extra effort of emphasizing that it’s .CAM, not .COM…. and that’s what you always want… to have to go through “extra effort” to make sure people aren’t confused, and know how to find your website. That extra challenge sure makes getting the word out about your site a lot more fun…

  4. says

    @Grim

    ………orrrrrrr years from now people will know, with 1,000′s of random TLD’s in existence to get the address correct.

    …or domainers can just keep saying humans are incapable of learning new things. new habits.

    or pointing out that it will take “a long time.” its funny because some of the people pointing out it will “take a long time” are the same people with “20 year plans”

  5. BrianWick says

    “years from now people will know, with 1,000′s of random TLD’s ”
    Come on Interweb – live now – make your dough now – don’t worry about being the utopian text book genius – I am not sure in TLDs will be need at all in even 20 years including .com’s – but right now .com’s are need to promote , marketed and advertise business and the non.com.
    But one thing I do know for sure is that 100′s of thousands of folks will be buying these non.coms – and therefore registries do not care.

  6. Grim says

    @ontheinterweb

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the word, “random”. People don’t tend to like things that are random, that they have to look up and verify.

    Humans _are_ capable of learning new things. But learning new things does take effort… so, if given the choice, do you want visitors of your website to go to extra effort to find you, or do you just want it to be easy, by simply having a .COM or other extension that people are familiar with? I’ve been reading about these new TLDs for a while now, but I can only name a handful (let alone thousands?) off the top of my head… that’s not necessarily a good thing.

    Most people will register these, then park them, then when they see nothing happening with them, will finally drop them… hopefully not after 20 years of renewal fees, though…

  7. says

    well, the reality is website addresses are already random and you already have to look up and verify them.

    how many of the 100+ million .com’s registered would you call “not random” and completely safe and trustworthy?

    this whole thing about people not wanting to learn new stuff, i agree with you…. but it isnt the type of learning you need to be sat down and taught by some teacher, or that you need to read a book it….

    this type of learning will come from seeing random TLD’s more than we used to. its called realizing.

    yes of course many will fail. so what? domainers think that will put a black eye on all new TLD’s… probably not.

    remember the “DOT COM BUBBLE”??? oh no now people wont trust the internet or .COM’s….. welllllllll, it didnt turn out that way did it?

    so much for that theory.

  8. Grim says

    @ontheinterweb

    Yes, I remember what happened in 2000. I was working at a startup at the time. No one thought that since things didn’t work out, that no one would ever trust the Internet or .COM again… I don’t know where you got that revision of history. Every industry has it’s peaks and valleys. We just moved on to other projects, knowing it wasn’t the end of the world. Tech was still very healthy, and if you knew your stuff, you could still make a lot of money.

    As to the “100+ million” .COMs out there that you refer to, how many are parked, and how many are sites that are well-developed and worth visiting? Maybe 0.5% at most, for the latter. If someone comes up with a great site with one of the new extensions, they’ll likely do well. But since great sites take a lot of time, money and other resources to develop, why not just start with an extension that people are used to after all this time. There’s no advantage in having one element of your business that might confuse even 1% of your potential customers.

    That’s just me, though. Sticking to what people are used to, (.COM) and what will still be working for many, many, (many) years to come.

  9. says

    @Grim RE: “No one thought that since things didn’t work out, that no one would ever trust the Internet or .COM again… I don’t know where you got that revision of history.”

    i didnt get it from anywhere.. because you’re right, it didn’t happen. just like when registries for new gTLD’s fail people wont say OH NO .anything must be untrusted because such-n-such registry failed and we can only trust .com !

    also, RE: “But since great sites take a lot of time, money and other resources to develop, why not just start with an extension that people are used to after all this time. There’s no advantage in having one element of your business that might confuse even 1% of your potential customers.”

    there is an advantage though. if the .com domain you want isnt for sale, you can freshly register something for like $30 or whatever… that IS an advantage.

    yes i know, the response im likely to get from people here is that “there is an unlimited number of .com domains available to register”

    and there is…… as long as length of the domain isnt a big deal… but longtail domains are no more easier to remember than “great.deals” for example.

    somehow in many domainers minds they think MyBusinessIsNamedThisAndThat.COM is more memorable than “this.that”

    not reality.

  10. Grim says

    You can “freshly register” a good .CC name, too. Why aren’t many people doing that?

    Telling people to go to “Great.Deals” would likely have at least half of them typing .COM at the end.

    As far as your .COM example (MyBusinessIsNamedThisAndThat), you can’t be serious if you think you can’t still get good 8-12 character .COM names. Be creative. I hand-reg’d a catchy 6-letter .COM last year. I’d give you examples of other good short names that you could register now, but if you can’t come up with any on your own, yeah, make it easy on yourself and stick with the new TLDs.

  11. says

    @Grim RE: “You can “freshly register” a good .CC name, too. Why aren’t many people doing that?”

    cause you’d be weird and in the minority .

    but knowing this – some people STILL do it. i lived by an auto detail place that was using a two word .cc domain – its the only one i ever saw in the real world but now they’re joined by its friends .ME and .CO and soon 1,000+ real words…. you dont see the math involved here in taking the stigma away from “oh so you couldnt get the .com eh” ????

    the thing about “be creative” is great if thats your only option – buying the aftermarket .com or freshly regging a .com…. but now you’ll have an infinite number of options so you dont have to spend as much time “being creative.”

    another thing – you took a chance and worked for a startup?

    when you were working at that start up 15 years ago there were people laughing behind your back for trying something new… because whatever they had going was working and they couldnt understand why someone would go out on a limb when exstablished proven ways already exist.

    you hear what people say…. “ILL” stick with what works now that things are comfortable and established… and thats great…sticking with what works has a ton of value and more people would be successful if they did this… just one thing though:

    people are born. it still happens. there are people like you were 15 years ago TODAY RIGHT NOW willing to try new things.. some will fail and be a cog in the machine to public awareness that other TLD’s besides .COM, .NET, .ORG exist…

    its already happening in the real world with .ME domains and .CO….. when you add 1,000+ other real words plus the brands, awareness is inevitable.

    GONE will be the days of “well, you must not have been able to get the .com”

  12. Grim says

    I won’t touch on all your points… they could be argued, er, discussed, forever. You have your viewpoint and I have mine, and I’m not really all that concerned if we never agree.

    But yeah. I’ve worked at startup(s) since the early ’80s. (Including a few of my own.) Working at a startup in Silicon Valley is pretty much a normal thing if you’re good at what you do and have the necessary tech skills, so it wasn’t “something new”, as you describe it. The stock options are an added bonus that make things even more attractive… so no, no one was laughing. Except to the bank.

  13. Grim says

    @Tom

    Most of those artists would probably be better off staying at sites like DeviantArt and the like. While I love art and invest heavily in it, there are just too many artists out there, and getting a website of their own, whether it’s .ART or .COM, unless they’re exceptionally talented, not to mention CONNECTED, won’t help sell their work. Most will probably be looking at Alexa rankings in the 10s of millions if they get their own site.

    The only real winner if they flock to .ART, will of course be whoever is the registrar for it.

  14. says

    @Tom

    im not sure it’ll happen in a “vacate” sort of way… you may be listening to the few exited about it and that may not be a representation of everyone else.. vacating something takes time. im not so sure NYC has to be empty for other parts to grow..

    .COM grew naturally with the development and progression of the internet so it will be with us for a long time..but most domainers say that like that is the end-all-be-all statement of why .weird will never be viable.

    and just because new TLD’s will likely be used a lot in the future doesnt necessarily mean .COM will become “uncool” or “your grandfathers” TLD.. that is an extreme way of thinking, people keep “picking sides” like this is a fuggin political party or some shit.

    .COM will probably be more like the O.G. of the internet… saying people wont TRY some of these 1,000′s of new TLD’s is plain silly… try and fail..try and succeed what does it matter?

    you hear all these domainers talk about trying to be good salesman but mostly discount the INFLUENCE godaddy and other forms of advertising have on people..or they talk down and say “they dont care” if you fail.

    of course they dont care, they arnt in this for charity and neither is any dough mainer.. they didnt care if you failed when they sold you them .COM’s..

    the powers at be have the potential to make a LOT more money this time than just .biz, .mobi, .pro, .travel etc… the profit potential just increased 100fold and they will find ways to make people TRY out these new TLD’s this time around.. every product in this world people are sold IS NOT NEEDED..that is a silly assumption.

    we’re sold shit all the time that isnt needed. people wear name brand names on t-shirts that are not getting paid HOW THE HELL DID THEY PULL THAT OFF?

  15. says

    “I agree that a consumer would quickly realize that a .com website is likely associated with photography or cameras use and is different than a .com website.”

    “I have considered the similarities between the proposed .com string and the existing .com string on all the levels raised by Verisign. while there is visual similarity and aural similarity and no dictionary distinction in meaning there is not, on the whole, in the context of modern internet usage, any rational basis up which to conclude that an average reasonable internet user would probably be confused in the distinguishing between the two.”

    Seems like the confused one here is Murray Lorne Smith, the panelist. He referred to .COM where he meant to refer to .CAM not once, but twice.

    This is rather embarrassing for someone who is getting paid to make a ruling. If it is not confusing to consumers, why is it so confusing to Mr. Smith?

    Brad

  16. Grim says

    Also not taken into account is the varying degree of accents around the world, when it comes to the English language. Some harsher accents may already be pronouncing “.COM” more like “.CAM”, while a gentler accent would say “.CAM” with a softer “a”, resulting in something that sounds closer to “.COM”.

    And if the average person sees the extension in print, after being so used to seeing .COM after all these years, might they assume that .CAM was simply a misprint?

    Fun times ahead. The consolation for .COM owners is if there is any question about what was said or written, people will most probably assume that it was .COM.

  17. says

    United TLD has just lost an objection brought by Verisign against their .cam application.

    This highlights a very flawed process. It calls into question the credibility of the entire process when you can have completely different rulings for the same extension.

    Brad

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