FTC asks ICANN to run pilot new TLD launch
Saturday, December 17th, 2011
FTC says adding just 22 new TLDs would be “aggressive”.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has sent a letter (pdf) to ICANN asking it to significantly curtail its plans for new top level domain names.
The FTC believes the mass introduction of new top level domains will lead to more fraud on the internet including phishing and malware distribution.
It is asking ICANN to run a pilot program of new TLDs. How small of a pilot?
We strongly believe that ICANN should substantially reduce the maximum number of new gTLDs that could be introduced in the initial round to a much smaller number. Indeed, doubling the number of existing gTLDs in one year
would be an aggressive increase.
I read this as suggesting a pilot program should include fewer than 22 new TLDs.
Of course ICANN is referring only to gTLDs, not the hundreds of existing ccTLDs. That’s a point that shouldn’t be overlooked, as adding just 22 more gTLDs is only a minor expansion when compared to all of the existing TLDs.
While I disagree with the FTC’s notion that new TLDs will lead to more phishing, I also disagree with new TLD proponent’s pitch that new TLDs will reduce phishing. Arguing that people will feel more secure at .bankofamerica suggests that they actually recognize the URL they’re on after clicking a link on an email. Given the number of phishing victims, that’s clearly not the case.
The FTC also pushes for ICANN to improve whois accuracy, citing obviously fake records it finds such as Mickey Mouse and Bill Clinton. It reminds me of how ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom had fake whois information before he became ICANN’ CEO.