ANA Voices Opposition to ICANN’s Proposed New gTLD Program

If you have been reading LegalBytes, you already know that the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved a plan to allow the proliferation of new generic top-level Internet domain names (Nightmare on Brand Street: ICANN Adopts Unlimited gTLDs). We hope you also know that a brief, executive-level presentation was made available entitled "The New gTLDs: What Does It Mean for Brand Owners?" that you can still download from "ICANN. You Can. We All Can: Own Your Own gTLD, Of Course!"

Well since then, all has not been quiet on the Western, Eastern, Northern or Southern Fronts, and today, in a letter to ICANN, the Association of National Advertisers ("ANA") detailed major flaws in the proposed ICANN program. You can read the ANA press release, as well as comments regarding ICANN’s administration of the root server system for the Internet that the ANA filed with the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (U.S. Department of Commerce).

Full disclosure: Rimon is representing the ANA in this initiative, with the support of other associations and organizations, to put ICANN on notice that the program will be economically disastrous and is unjustified by reports and experts relied upon by ICANN. The starting point for inquiring minds is the simple question: What problem or concern is this new program intended to address? The next question might be: At US$185,000 per application, plus additional annual fees, hosting or domain administration costs; dispute resolution expenses; and the added staff and monitoring (not to mention that companies will not simply abandon their existing domains (e.g., the dot com world); how can the Department of Commerce explain to small- to medium-sized businesses or start-up and emerging-growth companies that this additional cost is well worth it?

If you ask me, there is no shortage of questions, but an apparent paucity of answers. While there may be an emerging chorus of opposition, companies are already being forced to spend money hiring consultants, conducting analyses, commissioning internal task forces—all to study the impact, and determine if they should fight, apply or pursue any number of alternatives, in response to a program of questionable need and more questionable value. But then, that’s just my humble and slightly biased opinion.

So if you are stimulated to act or just to ask, you can contact any member of Rimon’s TLD Task Force: Doug Wood at +1 212-549-0377 or dwood@rimonlaw.com; Judy Harris at +1 202 414 9276 or jharris@rimonlaw.com; John Hines at +1 312 207 3876 or jhines@rimonlaw.com; Alex Klett (Germany) at +49 89 20304 179 or aklett@rimonlaw.com; Amy Mushahwar at +1 202 414 9295 or amushahwar@rimonlaw.com; Brad Newberg at +1 703 641 4272 or bnewberg@rimonlaw.com; Bo Phillips at +1 213 457 8311 or rphillips@rimonlaw.com; or Joe Rosenbaum at +1 212 702 1303 or joseph.rosenbaum@rimonlaw.com