The Verisign pile on effect

VerisignLast week Verisign dropped a bomb on ICANN by releasing a report that said that ICANN was not yet ready for the rollout of new top level domains.

Critics have suggested that Verisign has financial motives for slowing out the rollout of new TLDs, and they’re likely correct.

Regardless of what Verisign’s motives are, and even regardless of the merit of its concerns, the report causes significant damage to ICANN.

Call it the “pile on” effect. Because Verisign is so important in the domain name ecosystem, existing critics of the new TLD program can point to Verisign as an authority and use the report to rally the troops.

Exhibit A: Association of National Advertisers, the biggest new TLD scare monger, yesterday published a post called “Train Wreck Ahead“.

It refers to the Verisign report as well as a letter from PayPal warning about invalid TLDs already in use on private networks.

ANA suggests that it would be in Verisign’s best interests to get new TLDs out there as soon as possible because Verisign will make money from new TLDs. I disagree; I’d argue it will be a net negative for the company for at least a couple years. (.com values won’t go down, but the growth of registrations will continue to decelerate).

I have to admit, it seems that ICANN it saying “full steam ahead” despite having a lot of work to accomplish. Part of the the problem is the April 23 date ICANN CEO Fadi ChehadĂ© set for “recommending” the first new TLD for delegation. Regardless of when this recommendation occurs, I suspect it will be a while before anyone can register these domains. Trademark clearinghouse, new registry agreement, new RAA…these take time. Yet sometimes the only way to push something across the finish line is to set a very aggressive deadline.

The pile on effect will be very visible at the ICANN meeting in Beijing. My biggest curiosity: will ICANN publicly question Verisign’s motives for the report?


  1. John UK says

    Excellent. Let them argue ,and argue, and argue and hopefully delay things for long time. The bigger the mess the better for, erm .com

  2. says

    Not sure that new gTLDs will effect VeriSign that much….

    For the different types of registrations

    Exact match defensive registrations are very different from the type of registrations that occur in a zone file with 105,000,000 existing registrations.

    Most new gTLDs won’t have any natural type ins for years, if ever, so most traffic domains will never be registered.

    Sure some speculators will pile in for the first few launches at least, but then most only want prime generics and these have long gone in .com. Plus if sellers can’t find any buyers to sell to is it sustainable?

    Very few businesses will have the marketing power to brand a successful business to the same level as in an established TLD for the same investment.

    So not sure where all the “competition” is going to come from?

    • says

      @ gpmgroup – It will likely slow new registrations. It’s not about type-ins, it’s about the average small business person and the choices they are presented with.

      If a restaurant owner searches for his name and finds that every possible .com combination is taken, but is available, he might opt for the latter.

Leave a Reply