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IAB and ANA oppose new gTLD’s

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Wednesday August 17, 2011 )

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has added to the call for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to put a stop to its plans to allow for new generic Top Level Domains (gTLD’s).

I’ve been following the gTLD saga for a little while now and it’s been interesting to see how the media is portraying ICANN’s plan to allow new gTLD domain name extensions to be created; such as .shop and .food.

Some reports make it sound as though any ordinary Joe (or Jane) will be able to establish his or her own gTLD, but that is incorrect. It will cost around USD$185,000 to apply and only established corporations, organisations, or institutions will be able to do so, assuming they are in good standing and can provide evidence of a legitimate claim. It’s not going to be a case of just signing a check either; it will be a rather lengthy and complicated process.

However, even with what would appear to be stringent criteria in place, the new gTLD’s are causing concern. On July 20, the powerful Association of National Advertisers (ANA) demanded ICANN suspend the rollout of the initiative, saying the scheme could “allow domain brokers, competitors, or cybersquatters to register GTLDs, including the brand names of companies.”

On Monday, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) also called on ICANN to withdraw its plan.

The IAB and the ANA are rather hard to ignore. The IAB is comprised of more than 500 leading media and technology companies who are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. The ANA’s membership includes 400 companies that represent a combined spend of over *a quarter of a trillion* dollars annually in marketing communications and advertising.

ICANN recently responded to the ANA’s concerns, but the organisation is not appeased; stating, “We considered all of the references cited by ICANN and are not persuaded by any of its arguments that the process ICANN went through reached a true consensus, much less justifies the staggering costs that will be incurred by the brand community should the ICANN Program be implemented.”

To have that sort of opposition, particularly opponents whose specialty is marketing, should be making ICANN a little jittery about its prospects of rolling the program out in January 2012. What I find curious is the initiative has been in the pipeline for a very long time. ICANN has thrown a lot of resources at it and has also had to contend with concerns from the U.S. government in the past – and now at the 11th hour, these organizations are starting to protest; or at least becoming more vocal in their opposition.

Interesting times ahead for ICANN.. and those who have been waiting a long while for the opportunity to operate their own gTLD.


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