Microsoft, Time Warner, Others Weigh In On New TLDs

A quick synopsis of public comments about new top level domains.

The deadline to comment on the latest revisions of ICANN’s plan for introducing new top level domains was Monday. As is usually the case, the big companies waited until the last minute to file their comments. The general consensus is:

1. We don’t like the trademark implications
2. There’s no need to add more TLDs (save for IDNs) as they won’t actually create competition for .com
3. Don’t rush it just to meet some artificial deadline; get it right
4. Start with a phased rollout of IDNs rather than ASCII gTLDs
5. We’re worried this will become one big cluster[expletive]

My prediction is that the new gTLD process will be significantly delayed. It’s possible we’ll see some lawsuits against ICANN to delay it further.

Here are some of the comments:

Microsoft: As a practical matter, Microsoft objects to the introduction of new ASCII gTLDs for several reasons. History suggests that the introduction of new ASCII gTLDs will not result in true competition…the introduction of potentially hundreds of new ASCII gTLDs is far more likely to threaten the security and stability of the Internet as a commercial platform than to ensure it.

Time Warner: ICANN needs to examine seriously for whose benefit the proposed new gTLD round is being launched. If it is truly for the benefit of the “next billion” Internet users around the globe, then the launch should focus on IDN TLDs to serve populations that have historically been excluded from full participation in the Internet in their native tongues. If after the launch of new IDN TLDs ICANN can demonstrate that there remains a strong need for additional gTLDs, only then should it consider the launch of such extensions.

US Chamber of Commerce: The new gTLD program will introduce significant threats to businesses and consumers without clear evidence of counterbalancing benefits…ICANN has provided little persuasive evidence that establishment of additional gTLDs will provide competition against .com addresses.

Internet Commerce Association: The new gTLD process must not be used to resurrect much less validate the concept of differential pricing by registries; any exceptions to this policy must only be for a carefully circumscribed group of “closed” registries subject to strict numerical registration limits.

Bank of America: We strongly believe that ICANN is proceeding too hastily to enable the unlimited expansion of new generic Top Level Domain names…We do not believe there is significant demand from businesses or consumers for additional gTLDs to host commercial sites. The dot com gTLD is the preeminent top level domain in the world. No other commercially-oriented domain comes close to dot com in popularity, whether measured by the number of registered domain names or by the amount of user traffic.

Read all comments on ICANN’s web site.

© 2008.

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