New TLD Debate Mirrors Health Care Debate

New TLD debate has degenerated into nonsense.

protestorIf you live in America, the past several months have been all about loonies on both sides of the health care debate. They’ll say just about anything, even if it’s not true, to sway opinion on health care. The new top level domain name debate is really quite similar. Like American political issues, you have people on extremes on both sides of the issues.

On one side you have Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA). These fear mongers suggest the world is going to end if new TLDs are introduced. Its latest charge, based on some simplistic math and assumptions pulled out of its (excuse me) ass, is that the launch of new TLDs will cost brand owners $746 million. Like people on the far fringes of political debate, even the ICANN Intellectual Property Consistency is distancing itself from these crack pots.

On the other side you have a lot of the new TLD promoters, who are willing to ignore what has happened over the past 10 years of new TLD introductions. They want to do anything to push new TLDs to fruition. One example is Minds + Machines, which suggests that the cost of protecting brands in new TLDs will be about 10 cents per trademark. (To be fair, M+M puts some actual logic and basis behind its assumptions, unlike CADNA.) These same groups often point to brands owning their own TLDs as some sort of utopia that will erase all of their brand management problems.

What’s the reality? Like with all debates, it’s somewhere in the middle.

The launch of new TLDs will increase costs for brand holders. But it won’t be the end of the world. A handful of companies are spending more money worrying about and fighting new TLDs than they will spend managing their brands when they’re introduced.

Instances of cybercrime and phishing may increase. But new TLDs probably won’t have a huge effect. After all, most phishing isn’t domain dependent today.

Companies that own their own TLDs may get some small branding perks, but it won’t prevent them from having to own the same non-.brand domains they needed in the past.

Much like the health care debate, one side is trying to starve out the other. The trademark interests hope that, by delaying the inevitable, the new TLD promoters will run out of money. Ironically, the smart players may end up being the ones who have sat on the sideline and will get involved when the process is finalized.


  1. says

    “Ironically, the smart players may end up being the ones who have sat on the sideline and will get involved when the process is finalized.”

    Completely agree on this statement. Why burn through money for the past two years trying to be the team that gets .ECO (for example) when anybody can step up to the plate tomorrow and pitch for the same TLD. Who is better off? The team that has attempted to lobby ICANN for the past 24 months?

    • says

      @ Michael – these companies have definitely spent a lot of money prior to even being able to apply. I think some of them wanted to shape policy, but I don’t think they won any major concessions. They may have helped push things forward, but the “freeloaders” got the same benefit.

  2. says

    “What’s the reality? Like with all debates, it’s somewhere in the middle.”

    Actually, sometimes one side is right and the other is plain wrong.

    Although in this instance I think you may be correct.

  3. says

    A small percentage of people (pioneers ? explorers ?) may soon embark on a return to
    the SCUBA Model of the Internet.

    SCUBA – Self-Contained UNI☼ Broadband Apparatus

    DNS, as most people know it, is Centralized. It is ironic that many DNS insiders once flamed Centralized (Telco) Architectures.
    They now live off their pyramid of non-profit
    cash cows. They no longer try to hide their
    Eco-System of collusion.

    SCUBA DNS would first and foremost place
    the Domains in the User’s hands & in the equipment at the Customer Premises (CPE). Magic network-wide P2P software & services then make all those names appear to be part of a coherent NameSpace. The Network IS the Registry.

    SCUBA & SCUBA DNS will not be for everyone.
    It will appeal to people who want the
    Original Internet Architecture, free from
    central control & censorship. It has to be
    more FUN to experience a SCUBA adventure
    than the nightmare that DNS has become.

  4. says

    @Michael – For community-priority TLDs, going public is not about lobbying ICANN, it’s about working with our community in a transparent and open way over the long term.

  5. says

    For the vast majority of people who will
    likely will be stuck with Central Orwellian
    [1984] DNS the question arises whether the
    current Monetized-Model will be able to
    out-live FREE domains coming from many

    The new American HealthCare system emerges
    from an electorate that wants everything FREE
    from their Federal Sugar Daddy. FREE DNS will
    likely appeal to that same electorate.

    Since 99.99% of the cost of the Monetized-Model
    is collecting the fees, it seems unlikely
    that model will survive. Centralized and
    FREE is an easy sell and hard to beat.

    It is sort of ironic that the SCUBA Model
    and the Centralized FREE Model blur together
    from a user point of view. The difference is
    the Capital Expense of the SCUBA model
    pays the bills. Uncle Sam will have to
    likely pay for Centralized & FREE. That
    appears to match with the new American
    Healthcare Plan. [Will Doctors & Nurses
    continue to work for FREE?]

  6. says

    The SCUBA Model of the Internet & DNS can work because EVERY participant comes with about
    an equal amount of “Gear”. Also, to share a
    tiny percent of your gear (disk storage) with
    others can make the group safer, more secure,

    SCUBA – Self-Contained UNI☼ Broadband Apparatus

    The SCUBA Model does not work when 30 people
    arrive for a DIVE and 25 of those people
    have NOTHING. Those 25 expect to breath off
    the tanks of 5 others?

    When the reverse is the case, 25 with gear
    and 5 noobs, there is time to train the new
    people and help them acquire some gear.
    That helps to add to the community of SCUBA
    divers. People can not DIVE for FREE all
    their life.

    As we see with the Centralized DNS “Community”
    we now have several hundred people who live
    FREE from the Eco-System. They have largely
    NOTHING to do. They have given each other
    lofty titles and collect fees at every turn.
    FREE Centralized domains end that game and
    they certainly do not support those.

    Have you seen anything FREE come from the
    Non-Profit Eco-System ? except member
    recruiting meetings ? They no longer try to hide their
    Eco-System of collusion.

    At least with SCUBA what you see is what
    you have to work with. In the ideal situation
    EACH domain owner will participate with
    about the same amount of “gear”. People
    with nothing and those that expect FREE will
    not be attracted to that community.

  7. says

    @Jacob — .ECO was just an example. However, suffice to say there is definitely some lobbying going on within the ICANN new gTLD process – that would only be normal. And with 2 organizations, yours and Mind+Machines both going after .ECO, it will be interesting to see if it pays off, or if a 3rd party who hasn’t gone public yet ends up being the winner of .ECO once the process if finalized and the applications roll in.

  8. says

    @andrew – thanks for the implied “loony” tag. So nice to be lumped together with CADNA.

    I should point out that not only did we try to “put a little logic” behind our reports, but that the methodology is clearly laid out, as well as the actual data, and anyone is free to check this themselves and find out if we made any mistakes.

    You may disagree with what the data means, but unless you find a mistake, the data just is what it is.

    Did we make a mistake in getting involved in the process, pushing for new gTLDs, and announcing our projects, instead of just sitting and waiting?

    Maybe, but it depends on your point of view. There are a lot of benefits that come from being passionate, and willing to put ourselves on the line. Some of the benefits are tangible, others are psychological, and many are completely unexpected. And because so many people are passive, or unwilling to be controversial, or to do the work to add data to the debate, we were able to get a lot of visibility in the industry. When gTLDs happen, that will benefit us.

    Each company has to make its own cost-benefit calculus. We are happy with ours.

  9. says

    @Andrew – that is an informational update on what the Stakeholder Council is doing.

    Big Room is participating in the ICANN process. That is not, however, the main reason that the company publicly announced its intention to apply for .eco.

    Big Room has submitted comments to several of ICANN’s public comment periods, most notably here:

    and here:

    • says

      @ Jacob – the stakeholder council is clearly lobbying. ICANN shouldn’t have anything to do with the policies for .eco.

      That is why, with this letter, we officially convene an independently facilitated
      Stakeholder Council and Expert Working Group to achieve consensus on a set of dot eco
      policies for submission to ICANN. These policies will continue to evolve into the future,
      alongside the progressive concept of sustainability.

  10. says

    @ Andrew. Thanks for posting the transparency.

    I am actually looking forward to seeing how .ECO plays out. One the one side you have a group that has partnered with Afilias for the backend technology, whose CTO is on the board of ICANN (albeit a ‘non-voting member’). And on the other side you have what I believe to be a group of people who are very experienced in the space who will definitely add value to the registry vertical and who are in the case of .ECO, backed by the ‘father of the internet’. Add to the mix any other potential group who has not announced yet and it has all the makings for a thriller.

    • says

      .Eco will be interesting

      Jacob, how would .eco potentially differentiate itself from .green? Seems you could have two TLDs pitching a similar story to companies to get on board.

  11. says

    Hi Andrew, Re: .green – that depends on the policies, the process for the creation of which can be reviewed here:

    Re: the letter, can see how that could be misinterpreted – ‘as part of a dot eco domain application’ or something to that effect, may have been clearer in this case. It is simply an open communication. Happy for you to point it out just want to get the context correct!

    AFAIK, ICANN wouldn’t have have anything to do with the specific policies for any TLD, aside from providing guidance in the DAG on community-priority requirements.

  12. Khanan B. says

    “Re: the letter, can see how that could be misinterpreted”

    LOL. I’m sure the letter sent to the Chairman and the CEO of ICANN was simply to give them a “heads up” as to what you’re up to. I’m sure they appreciate it.

    Speaking of wastes of time, Big Room has spent the last year lobbying ICANN to consider their .eco project as a community application, when under the current rules it clearly does not come even remotely close to qualifying. Then again, with the CTO of the Afilias, the organization that will benefit most from a .eco controlled by Big Room ($4 per domain registration!!), on the board of ICANN, who knows what kind of shenanigans we’ll see in connection with this particular TLD.

  13. m. grant says

    it seems to me that this is a ploy from bigroom to get attention.

    bigroom can “officially convene their working group”, but why should ICANN or anyone else care?

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