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Two Things that Could Derail the New Top Level Domain Timeline

Government action and lawsuits could slow down new TLD rollout.

So ICANN has approved the new top level domain name program and set out the timeline.

Full steam ahead?

There are two possible forces that could slow this down.

One would be some sort of government action. Governments aren’t happy, and there’s that looming IANA contract expiration coming up later this year. The U.S. could use it to force concessions.

As I’ve noted before, any delay in new TLDs brought on by government pressure is likely to be bad for domainers. It only means heavy-handed trademark restrictions that could potentially harm legitimate domainers.

ICANN is still looking in to competition issues with allowing registries to own registrars and vice-versa. This is a probable target for antitrust authorities if ICANN doesn’t bend it.

Another potential hiccup would be a lawsuit by a trademark interest with a request for an injunction. The Olympics have already threatened to sue, and you can be sure other groups want special protections with new TLDs.

But haven’t they had a chance to complain be part of the process already? Sure, if they pay attention to internet governance.

As new TLDs move closer to reality and ICANN starts marketing the opportunity, you can bet a number of people will be peeved.

The question is what, if anything, they choose to do about it.

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