US Senate hearings voice regret at ICANN decision on internet domain names


Back to the overview
The US Senate has held two hearings* to discuss the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) decision to increase the availability of generic top level domains (gTLDs), due to come into force on 12 January 2012. In June this year, ICANN took a final decision to increase the number of internet domain names, such as .honda or .coke. Marketers are worried that this could lead to excessive costs for registration, potential consumer confusion and even fraud.

Both sessions echoed concerns raised by the global marketer community and warned ICANN that the January deadline would be premature and should therefore be delayed. Representative Anna Eshoo, a Californian democrat, told the committee that she didn't think this “[was] ready for prime time”.

Nevertheless, nothing indicates that ICANN is planning on reversing their decision. Kurt Pritz, ICANN's Senior Vice-President recently wrote on his blog "A long and careful deliberative process produced this program. World-class experts on intellectual property, economics and Internet security developed solutions and those solutions were reviewed by the Internet community and vetted by governments."

WFA's position on the issue remains unchanged; ICANN's plan carries with it potentially very serious financial and legal implications for brands worldwide. The Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight (CRIDO), led by ANA in the US, is the global coalition formed in the wake of ICANN's June 2011 approval of its gTLD programme. Today, it has close to 160 signatories, including WFA and fifty-one of its national associations, as well as a number of major advertisers. It represents the single biggest force opposing ICANN's plans.

*by the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on 8th December and the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on 14th December

Sign up to monthly WFA news