Forbes and The Financial Times on New gTLD Proposal

Forbes and The Financial Times both look at th ICANN proposal to open up the gTLD space allowing for an unlimited number of new generic Top Level Domains. Both articles look at some of the issues involved, including the problem of cybersquatting, an issue feared by many large trademark holders.Forbes examines says of the introduction of new gTLDs that “the overhaul will likely streamline Web surfing, easily distinguishing Joe’s Pizza in Los Angeles from Joe’s Pizza in New York. But brands may see bigger implications.”The article notes the costs involved in applying for a new gTLD are a concern and the problem of cybersquatting. However Paul Levins tells Forbes ICANN will introduce measures to weed out fraudulent applicants for gTLDs. Levins also tells Forbes cause-related branding is one of the most anticipated consequences of the policy change.”There are endless possibilities with this,” says Levins. It’s likely that companies may band together to form domain groups, that top banks may regulate which firms will be able to hold the “.bank” name or that cellular phone companies may police the “.mobile” name. “There are many unknowns ,” Levins says.Meanwhile The Financial Times looks at the new gTLD process, beginning with discussing the problem of cybersquatting for large companies and focuses on Verizon. The article says Verizon has a domain name portfolio of 10,000 domains while Microsoft has 24,000.The article looks at those who have concerns with the proposal to introduce more gTLDs such as Sarah Deutsch from Verizon, saying her job is about to “get much harder” as ICANN “now plans to open the floodgates and let anyone register a new top-level domain – as long as they can pay the $186,000 (£113,000, €132,000) registration fee.””This opening up of the internet represents one of the biggest shifts yet seen in the underlying structure of the online medium. Its implications are complex and controversial – and extend well beyond the concerns of the commercial enterprises that see the Web as little more than a virtual global shopping mall.”Concerns about allowing more gTLDs, the article says, have come from the Vatican and public interest groups, with the latter fearing “the changes mark part of a more general rewriting of the rules of the internet that could see free speech lose out to commercial interests.”IDNs also feature in the article, which says “the coming expansion of the internet’s naming system is a central part of Icann’s attempt to prove that it truly operates in the interests of a fast-growing global audience. … Arab nations have also bristled under long delays in Icann’s efforts to come up with a system that suits their needs.””If Icann fails to appease these interest groups, the consequences could be severe. Getting it wrong could lead to schisms over the underlying naming system of the internet – in effect, leading to a fragmentation that turns the single global online medium into a series of separate systems.”The article does support allowing new gTLDs, saying “While tensions are high, few dispute that opening up the naming system is a necessary step to creating a more lasting foundation for the internet, and one that will benefit hundreds of millions of users.”There are tensions from different groups who oppose and support the allowing of more gTLDs, with the Financial Times saying “ultimately, the danger for Icann – and for internet users around the world – is that these tensions could destroy the delicate consensus on which the global internet directory is founded. If Icann loses the confidence of countries that sign up to its system, that could even lead to rival naming systems emerging, breaking the online world into a series of fragmented networks.”To read the articles from Forbes and The Financial Times in full, see:

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