This is a Guest Post by Seb
ICANN is opening the door to a huge mess for companies of all size, SMBs to Fortune 500.
Companies were used (should i say forced) to register their company name and brands in all new extensions ICANN would come up with : .eu / .mobi / .asia.
These are nothing but defensive registrations, mostly not resolving or simply redirecting to the .com corporate site.
On top of that, multinational companies faced an even bigger challenge registering, managing (or fighting for) their name and brands in all cctlds (248 of them).
With several hundred new extensions launched, there are two options:
1/ SMBs will give up their fight for defensive registrations. It would cost some of them more than what they earn on an annual basis !
2/ Legal departments of bigger companies are pretty upset and will start suing ICANN en masse
I can tell you that this door ICANN has tried to open yesterday is not opened yet, it could even end up slamming in their face.
Their plan is to flood the cyberspace with new extensions, i can already see them flooded with lawsuits.
They know it and that’s probably why they wanted to move to Switzerland
As to Fortune 500 giving up their com identity (they’ve spend millions branding) to move to their own dot, (like .ebay or .intel) that just won’t happen.
Being your own registry puts you in too much trouble for no reward at all.
It requires employees with huge technical skills working 24/7 and costs a fortune, probably a million dollars a year or more.
Why would any company pay that price when you can get a much safer web presence for….let me think about it….JUST $8.95 PER YEAR, under both Verisign’s umbrella and your registrar’s umbrella ?
If you go for it, you’ll then have to deal with pirates constantly trying to hack and put your registry down.
Can you imagine .eBay without website or email access for 24 hours ?
(By the way, email address would look very ugly : firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com )
If your registry is being hacked, the world will be watching to see if you can get away with it and how long it takes you to get out of that mess.
With your company dotcom, it’s very unlikely a hack will happen and if does, you’ll let Verisign deal with it and your company reputation will be safe.
If you’re selling things on the internet, running a registry is definitely not your job and it’s not worth dedicating resources to it.
I sincerely hope this proposal coming out of nowhere can still be opposed by the congress or any other entity.
Time to start lobbying for everyone, brand owners and domain name owners, all united for once…
Because ICANN is also opening the door to a huge mess for companies (or individuals) having invested large amounts of money in internet real estate.
One side was not enough, domain owners are now being attacked on both sides of the dot.
We were questionably accused of cybersquatting, trademark infringement and dilution by brand owners for generic one word dictionary names on the left side of the dot.
Now ICANN wants to dilute the value of our intellectual property assets by allowing anyone to create a whole registry squatting on our domain names.
Time to create a UDRrp = uniform dispute Registry resolution policy for domain name owners squatted on the right of the dot ?
I know ICANN thought about his wallet by auctioning registries if several parties are interested in running them.
We’re not interested.
I’ll sue ICANN for every new registry proposal that moves the left of any of our domains to the right of the dot (mydomain.com / .mydomain) on the ground of dilution of our intellectual property assets.
I encourage everyone to do so.
Rick Schwartz should if someone wants a .candy or a .property
Escom should more than anyone because .sex will be first in line.
With 21 tlds and 248 cctlds owners who all use the same name on the left of the dot, that’s 269 possibilities for ICANN to be sued FOR EACH new tld application !!!
There’s a lot of easy money to be made from ICANN and their new naming proposal coming out of nowhere and changing all the established rules.
I’m sure a big law firm will be interested in representing all of us in a class action.
Guess what : ICANN spent $10M of our own hard earned money (you know, the ICANN fee we pay for every domain registration and renewal) to produce this thing that might put us all in trouble !
Isn’t it sweet and marvelous ?
There should have been less domain names today.
Historically, when the DNS was created, DNS fathers thought sub-domains would be much more widely used.
That means registrars were supposed to sell lots and lots of sub-domains and only a few domains.
We all know what it looks like today.
But it seems selling domains with a $0.20 fee per domain per year (even with a record number of domain names) was definitely not enough for ICANN.
The great idea is that there was more money to be made in selling a thousand registries at $100,000 each or more.
On top of that, it doesn’t hurt if you can still charge a $0.20 fee per domain on these new registries
What’s next to improve ICANN’s budget so that they can show their muscles to Verisign next time the .COM contract comes up for renewal ?
Well, i suggest ICANN should give someone the key to all tld registries (including the thousand new ones) for one billion per year.
ICANN, you’d better buy a large umbrella as it’s going to rain very hard on you, i feel there’s a storm with very dark clouds just above your head.
It’s coming from every direction.
It won’t get any better when the first registry collapses, leaving a few thousand registrants (people thinking they finally found a great domain name) without any website or email for their business
I’d jump on that class-action suit gladly.
Count me in
> This is a Guest Post by Seb
I mean, what is Seb’s last name?
You raise some interesting points.
I wonder what CADNA position will be on all of this.
For large trademark holders to have to register defend their marks on 100’s of more extensions, not even counting al the infringement problems that will increase 100 fold.
Your post also raises the interesting question of whether someone who owns the left of the dot has any rights to the right of the dot.
Many company’s claim common law trademarks against domain holders, maybe domain holder owning the left of the dot have like legal claim to the right.
The new extension getting the most juice in the mainstream press is .sex or .xxx or some other adult extension.
What has fundamentally changed that would now cause ICANN to allow this extension after shooting it down three times due to not wanting to “be in the content regulation business”
Looks like now they want just that.
Seb he can give out his last name if he wants. He frequently comments on this board.
To claim “dilution of intellectual property assets” you actually have to own intellectual property, (i.e. trademark, patent, copyright), registration of a domain name by itself does not qualify. It behooves domain name holders to be as conversant in relevant legal matters as they are in technical applications.
Stuart McIlreavy says
Sounds like some big investors are scared 🙂
But I think corporations will take it up.
Clean, logical, effective branding.
As far as the cost of running the reg, theyll just outsource it to an existing firm. Easy :0
Antony Van Couvering says
I don’t think some of the scenarios Seb is painting are realistic. For one thing, most brand owners think all that money they spend is branding their name, not the .com. Many of them are not ecstatic about having given VeriSign free advertising.
For another thing, there are real advantages some some companies to owning their own TLD. Imagine if you typed anymisspelling.ebay, and it the term to the left of *their* brand (not VeriSign’s) was just interpreted as a search term, and brought the user to the appropriate auction listing.
This has been a long time coming, no-one should be surprised. It’s no secret that a lot of money has been made due to policies from ICANN (domain tasting) and Google (Adsense for Domains) which can change at any moment. And which are changing.
The only constant is change; it behooves all of us to be aware of what is happening and take advantage.
The introduction of new TLDs has such compelling global public policy advantages (e.g., new TLDs for previously Internet-invisible communities, such as the Welsh, Scots, Bretons, Basques, Corsicans, I could go on and on), and also for new business models (see the already-approved .TEL TLD at http://www.telnic.com), that there is no stopping this train, even if you wanted to. Which I don’t.
Steve Morales says
Well said Anthony, as well as accurately.
An internet paradigm shift in the making. It all depends on who signs up.
Many people have said great things do not last forever.
For domainers who have made their living off of typos and domains that are razor thin to cybersquatting off of major brands, your world is about to be rocked. You know who you are.
It all depends on who signs up for the new .tlds. If no major brands, then it is did in the water as I stated on Dominik M’s blog a few minutes ago.
Steve Morales says
Additionally, this has the potential to effect PPC and change the way google has been doing business. If major brands own their own network, why would they need to pay google? Do we see NBC advertise on ABC ?
I do not think major brands will continue to advertise the same way with google the media company if they own a targeted community.
Right now, I am sure google is panicking too…..Nothing beats targeted visitors on the internet. This has been proven. Interesting times ahead.
Tim Davids says
google doesnt need to panic…they can “ban” or “punish” new tlds the same way they do .info just by adding a few lines of code to the alog. then the only traffic the new tlds will get will be either by paying for major media advertising or paying for adwords.
This is a confusing mess for consumers waiting to happen.
To boot almost all new tld launches have gotten big bang for the buck from “domain speculators” during sunrise and very few have actually done well with consumers. Now someone things hundreds of these things can be successful? .asia had little competition and spent lots of money…would they have done so well if at the same time another 30-40 people were promoting tlds at the same time. Most of these new tlds will fail, it makes it more confusing for consumers. Seems like a dumb idea all around but lets all wake up and now realize Icann simply does not care about doing the right thing — EVER. They want money, as much as they can get.
Tim Davids says
great point dncartoons…the successes of tlds other than .com have been at the hands of domainers and domainers will not be the driving force behind the new tlds.
Andrew Reberry says
Well good discussions during the last post and this one. I would bring up one more point I did not see discussed.. What is going to happen to failed vTLDs if that’s what we’re calling them? Will other registries take them over?
If a few vTLDs “fail” – have to close doors for financial reasons and a few thousand domain owners get burned, people will likely be afraid of new vTLDs as well. I can see a lot of companies setting up an online store on golf.store, marketing their domain, printing business cards, getting listed in yellow pages, and two years later their domain is gone? Sites no longer resolve. You lost all that marketing you put into your property. It would be like buying a home to only have the water and electricity and road access cut off a few years later – leaving you with a worthless piece of land that you can never use. You would be evicted from your land actually, and not be given any compensation for it? Would this be allowed to happen? This would be disaster for most other vTLDs because people would not trust building businesses on any new ones that were not very seriously backed by large companies.
Steve Morales says
Good point Andrew.
We will have to see what those policies are. Are there any now that prevent this?
Perhaps ICANN jumped the gun without ensuring this would be prevented to protect consumers.
Great point. But the companies you really have to worry about are the small time ones. If Fox (etc. etc) does one, they are not going to fail.
maybe its time we start selling TLD’s instead of domains. Domainers which huge pockets will benefit.
We can apply for stuff like .sex , .casino and etc for $39,000.
Then sell them for 3 million each.
The cost of TLD’s is way higher.
Probably $250K at least non-refundable.
. sex will have multiple applicants and be auctioned off
I don’t think Google has any reason to panic.
Only going to get better for them.
Especially if Yahoo’s deal gets approved
Google is certainly not panicking about any of this. Like someone else said they will keep new tlds in the SANDBOX forever, its their search engine they can do whatever they like.
Most people don’t know 6 extensions now, they are going to embrace 100 ? I doubt it, there are a lot of posts that are pro this that really are just jealous of the wealth of .com owners. Do you know how many people will type in http://www.free.sex.com, Sex.com will pick up traffic not loose traffic. Most people in the real world are not domainers they are out on a friday, drinking, socializing OH MY GETTING LAID. They could careless. I love how people act like now there are a million developers who were just waiting for this so they could finally develop. ANd lets not kid ourselves, the generic ext like .sex or .shop, DOMAINERS WILL BUY SO MANY OF THOSE IT WILL NOT BE FUNNY. What about trademark now if someone has a TM on BodySHop they are going to let someone else have Body.shop ? Doubt it.
SEB brings up another great point, there will be a lot of legal action delaying many extensions if you do not think so, I feel for your ignorance.
And if for the last year all people wanted to talk about was content, then who cares about this get your content and go kick some ass. And while some may say a company would love their own example .ebay, there will be a reg or going after the squatter who regs ebay.shop, ebay.store,ebay.web, ebay.site, ebay.sex, ebay.free, ebay.world, ebay.website.
So good luck, because you just bought a new business with no upside but a lot of down.
Antony Van Couvering says
Some new TLDs will succeed, some will fail. But there are different criteria for success among different TLD applications. The .bzh and .cwm TLDs, for instance, will be judged as successes or failures according to whether they attract/enable the Breton and Welsh communities. Just existing is probably victory enough. It’s not about selling domain names, except to be self-sustaining.
Also, although trademark owners complain about having to register hither and yon, the fact is that a registry will not get rich with Sunrise registrations. In .asia, for instance, there were approximately 20K Sunrise registrations. That’s nowhere near enough to support the operations of a registry. To a registry, the best thing about Sunrise is the timing — it’s a revenue hit early in the process. But it won’t support a business.
Google is beginning to realize that its long-term health is threatened by the proliferation of results leading to parked pages, and that in turn threatens the business models of some domainers. Like Google, new TLD applicants are worried about registrations without site development, because that can severely depress the value of their brand (think .info). So many applicants are wondering not how to attract domainers, but rather how to get people to put up web sites on the domains that they buy.
People in the domain name business need to stop thinking that everyone wants to be another .com. I’ve seen more than a few new TLD ideas, and most of them have plans to engage a predefined community, they are not trying to be .com. And Google is going to love this, because Google loves targeting. At the end of the ICANN meeting, the mayor of Paris formally endorsed the .paris TLD. Don’t you think restaurant.paris is going to come higher in the search results when someone types “great meal in paris” as their search string?
The new TLDs offer a lot of opportunity, if you’re smart enough to see what they are. If you stay stuck in the old world of .com and the seven dwarfs, you may have some trouble.
You’re right, companies may outsource their registry but it won’t take the risks away.
In a fragmented web, each company doing business under its own registry (even if outsourced) is a moving target for pirates.
I predict hackers will have their own Olympic Games.
Instead of happening every 2 or 4 years, it will be a permanent live event (should i say contest ?) and gold medals will be awarded everyday.
In can hear the news :
HaCkErZ3 has taken down the Amazon registry.
Ebay registry down for 3 hours, the hack comes from an unknown group.
Managing vanity registries for Fortune 500 companies would be a huge responsability, especially when your clients are businesses 100% online like eBay.
These businesses can’t afford to be offline, not even for a short period of time.
Let it happen once to one of your clients and all the others will run away from you faster than the speed of light, saying “We were not that bad under Verisign’s umbrella after all…”.
Is it worth paying a whole registry a fortune and being exposed to increased hacking risks to just use 3 domain names like http://www.aboutus.company / http://www.products.company / http://www.support.company when you can use either unlimited pages, unlimited directories or unlimited sub-domains hassle free on your current domain name ?
You’re right, as is said, there will be a lot of litigation.
The biggest mess will be for brand owners rather than for domain owners.
They face a real nightmare with far too many battles to fight, defending 100 brands (and typos) in 1000 registries.
I’d be very surprised they let this flood of new extensions happen without litigation.
Anyway, there’s a long way before the first new extension is allowed as the path won’t be free of litigation from domain owners too.
Proposals will only consist of the most desirable, best and shortest keywords like .sex or .sports or .shop
These are exactly the kind of keywords that are all registered on the left side of the dot in all current tlds and cctlds.
That’s 269 domain name owners who have obvious reasons to object the creation of an extension moving their valuable moniker from the left to the right of the dot.
269 people who have reasons to unite so that it doesn’t happen.
That’s a law firm’s dream come true.
One thousand cases with 269 clients in each, isn’t it 269,000 clients ?
There is also a good chance that a European domainer gets restaurant.paris and does not develop making it more of a joke that these specialty tld are not developed.
Jonathan Robinson, the chief operating officer of NetNames, claims this will raise complex questions for marketers and trademark owners, both about whether to take pre-emptive action against cybersquatters and how new domains affect search optimisation.
Robinson said: “It can be argued that the expansion of available suffixes is the equivalent of opening a can of worms in terms of online infringement and cybersquatting.
“It seems logical to assume that as domain numbers increase, so too will the levels of speculative activity.”
“Brand owners may find themselves in the position of having to register numerous new domains to protect themselves but, with varying fee estimates, that could well turn out to be an untenable marketing expense for some. Nonetheless, the impact on existing domains remains to be seen.
“In the case of a big brand, presumably any browsers visiting a newly registered domain would be redirected to the original top level domain in any case. There will also be question marks over how new domains will affect search optimisation and consequent site traffic and PPC advertising rates.
“One thing that does seem clear is, with the final pricing and potential refund and dispute procedures not yet in place for applicants, brand owners and the trademark community will be keeping an extremely close eye on developments in the coming months.”
Name has now changed to MHB (my initials)
This will be repeated for a while on the blog.
As it was mentioned in an earlier comment, I’m sure Icann plans to move to Switzerland and gain Int’l organization status which will drastically reduce their legal exposure and any accountability or transparency to stakeholders.
Icann needs the new tld revenue source to pay for their move to Switzerland.
If Icann had to get the U.S. gov’t approval for the new tlds, would they get it?
Or, would it get vetoed like the .xxx tld proposal?
Just made a new post along these lines.
Please check it out
Fantastic post – great response.
It is nice to read that I am not the only one thinking that way.
“Rick Schwartz should [sue] if someone wants a .candy or a .property”
What are you talking about? Candy and property are generic terms – which is why Schwartz could register them in the first place. He does not have a monopoly on either all candy nor all property in the world… Candy is not his trademark, “Candy.com” is. Please explain how Schwartz would have any grounds to sue ICANN based on owning Candy.com , your original claim doesn’t make much sense to me…
I would not support ICANN’s TLD buffet either, but I really don’t see how a dilution of intellectual property class action could really hold up… If I own X.com , for example, and someone makes X a TLD , I would only have grounds on which to base a lawsuit in the case that “X” happens to be my trademark… not “X.com” Can Rick Schwartz sue the owner of candy.us (if that someone is not Rick as well, I haven’t checked…)? I don’t think so, and he cannot do so for the same reasons that he’d have no case against someone applying for a .CANDY TLD. Now, he MAY have a decent chance of submitting an application to set up a registry to control .CANDY (to protect his “Candy.com” TM) but he may be outbid by Hershey(R) Foods Corporation, among other prospective competing applicants.
If you reason using Seb’s original logic, any possible WEB ADDRESS with the term X “dilutes” your IP asset (seems a little ridiculous, as X is usually a generic word or phrase in most of our cases…) Why does it matter whether the “X” comes before or after the decimal point, regardless of what “X” actually is (could be WeLoveX.com , or maybe IHateAllXsintheWorld.net)
Who is to say that .COM TLD is more important than all the others and the ones that are yet to be, anyway? Maybe Google…
I guess the main point is that there is absolutely no dilution going on here, and no case to be made from that legal angle, IMO. Are there other options?
Of course I may be mistaken… I am not a lawyer and have yet to go to law school.
I think an argument can be made based on a “common law” right for some operating “famous” websites”
Basically in addition to registered trademarks, common law trademarks are based on use and rather than registration.
Don’t forget the standard of trademark infringement is if they are “confusingly similar” to a trademark registered or common law.
“””The key to pursuing trademark infringement is often the existence of “consumer confusion”””
Now what the argument of the author of the guest post was making that is you had a famous site that you operated for many years like say bahamas.com (which is operated by the bahamas government) and someone wanted a .bahamas extension the .com holder could argue that such extension infringes on its use as it would tend to confuse the public.
I don’t know how the court might rule on this, but as technology changes courts have faced issues they never had before.
Just because the right did not exist before does not mean the court would not grant such rights now.
That’s what i meant Mike : confusingly similar to an existing domain name (or site if the domain has content).
If you can prove your domain has traffic then there’s a likelyhood of consumer confusion.
But we’re not there yet.
When you take a look at this ICANN draft for the new gTLD evaluation process :
applicants will have to be very patient, motivated and wealthy….
Looks like the road to hell.
And if someone is willing to submit a proposal that would move one domain we own from the left to the right of the dot, i’ll object for “EXISTING LEGAL RIGHTS” (one of the 4 objection criteria).
In order to have more weight, contacting owners of the same keyword in all other registered gTLDs and ccTLDs would help getting the application rejected.
United we are stronger.
I see what you mean doesn’t look quick and simple does it?