National Advertisers Want ICANN To Reevaluate Domain Proposal

National advertisers want the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to at least slow down if, not stop, its proposal to open up top-level domain names beyond the current 12, which includes .net, .com, .TV to "virtually any character string."

The Association of National Advertisers, in comments to ICANN, called the proposal premature and counterproductive.

Advertisers are concerned that the move will create new threats from phishers, squatters and copycats trying to draw off traffic, creating new expenditures for companies having to protect and defend their brands.

Given that ANA companies spend $100 billion to market and advertise 9,000 brands, said ANA Executive VP Daniel Jaffe, the group requested at least a couple more months worth of comment on the proposal. The comment period ended Monday, having already been extended a week from Dec. 8.

"Presently, ANA’s members expend substantial sums of money monitoring domain name abuse, defensively registering domains (sometimes in the hundreds or even thousands) and prosecuting squatters and other violators," wrote Jaffe. "These new costs are likely to escalate substantially," he said, if the new regime of unlimited top-level domains is adopted.

ANA conceded there are some benefits to "creative uses" of new top level domain names (TLD's), but it said it does not think ICANN has shown a demand that justifies, the "massive burdens" imposed, and should do that, then reevaluate the plan.

While ANA says it would have preferred ICANN not adopt the proposal, it urges it to move cautiously and consider all arguments carefully before making what it says would be a seismic shift.

Among the issues ANA is concerned about is the use of generic names. .bank, .insurance, .medicine, which under the current proposal can be applied for by anyone.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.