ICANN’s New Domain Plan – An Opportunity or a Threat
As the date of implementation of ICANN’s new domain plan draws closer, opinions regarding the proposal continue to remain divided. Until now websites had no choice but to opt for one of the 22 existing domains like .org and .com or .uk, .ca and other 250 country specific domains. Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the governing authority for domain names, in June this year decided to remove this limitation. The policy, set to be implemented in 2012, will allow brands to choose any domain names like .ibm and .microsoft or even general names like .chocolate and .car.
According to ICANN, the move is a great opportunity for brands to widen their internet presence. But many organizations from the world of advertising, including the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau from the US, have strongly opposed the move. These organizations believe that the implementation of the police will dilute brands, reduce the power of trademarks and lead to increase in cyber crimes. Mark Sherman, Media Experts executive chairman, states that the move will introduce unnecessary complexity. His views are supported by Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada.
On the other side, Cassels Brock and Blackwell LLP (Toronto) intellectual property lawyer John McKeown opines that the concerns of advertising firms may be exaggerated. The stringent process of registration and high cost ($185,000 for an application) are likely to keep most criminals and cybersquatters in check. He further states that for internet marketing Toronto firms, the possible cut backs in traditional advertising as a result of the new domain environment may be a bigger reason for opposition to the move.