ICANN Critics Complain Over New gTLDs to Senate, But Little Any Can Do

Some of the critics of ICANN’s plan to introduce new generic Top Level Domains vented at the organisation’s plans at a US Senate hearing Thursday, but there is little any of the hearing participants can do to stop.The introduction of new gTLDs received cautious support from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation with the committee’s opening statement saying:
If ICANN is determined to move forward, it should do so slowly and cautiously. The potential for fraud, consumer confusion, and cybersquatting is massive and argues for a phased in implementation. Scaling back the initial round of new top level domains introduced in 2013 may be a prudent approach. Companies, non-profit organizations, and others are rightly concerned that this new landscape will require them to spend money to protect their online identity. It’s my hope that we can phase this expansion in over time and not be regretful after the fact that it was done too hastily. That said, there are exciting new possibilities out there.But participants lined up to give ICANN a whack without much success. One exchange reported by Ad Age between Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and ICANN Senior VP-Stakeholder Relations Kurt Pritz went:
“I’m hopeful you will listen to these concerns,” said Ms. Klobuchar. “Will you listen to these concerns as we go forward?””I certainly will,” Mr. Pritz replied.Another critic, Dan Jaffe, exec VP-government relations for the Association of National Advertisers, wants ICANN to delay commencing accepting applications for gTLDs in January saying “there is not a consensus. There is nothing sacrosanct about this January 12 date.” The ANA continued with its claims that creating hundreds of new generic TLDs will burden businesses of all sizes, forcing them to defensively purchase numerous domains with different iterations of their brand names reported Ad Age, something supported by Angela Williams, general counsel for the YMCA of the USA who said the YMCA “can’t afford to keep trying to do this to protect our brand.” But Williams is a stooge for the part of the intellectual property lobby that is vociferously opposing the introduction of new gTLDs, and as Kieren McCarthy recently pointed out, the YMCA has never been involved in ICANN’s activities until the Dakar meeting in October this year.In his testimony to the committee according to Ad Age, Kurt Pritz said “studies indicate that corporations and other parties will not need to defensively register as many domains as they think, because many of the new TLDs will not be large enough to attract cybersquatters and ‘typosquatters.’ He also pointed to trademark protections built into the expansion strategy. But his reassurances did not seem to move the opponents.””Now is the time for launching the program,” Pritz went on to say reported PC World. “It is the proceed of well-thought-out, thoroughly debated polices that are designed to benefit the billions of Internet users through increased competition, choice and innovation.”The new domains will create competition in the domain-name market and will mitigate the market power of the current TLDs, including .com, he said.Meanwhile the inaugural ICANN chair Esther Dyson continued her opposition to ICANN’s plans saying “this is an economic creation” as she contrasted the programme with how companies like Twitter and Amazon built value into top-level domains. “What I would like to see is real innovation. … For that, you don’t need a new TLD.”