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ICANN CEO Snaps Back at ANA Over New TLDs

Beckstrom responds to advertising group with strongly worded letter.

ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom has responded (pdf) to a letter (pdf) from Association of National Advertisers (ANA) that had demanded ICANN suspend its plans for the new top level domain name program.

Beckstrom informs IANA that “The assertions in your letter are either incorrect or problematic in several respects.”

He stresses that the program is the culmination of work with every stakeholder in the ICANN process including 45 public comment periods (one of which ANA submitted comments for).

Beckstrom writes:

Your letter also claims that the program represents “unrestricted expansion” or allows “virtually any word or phrase.” These statements demonstrate a lack of understanding of Program details. More research on your part would have revealed: (i) restrictions on delegation rates; (ii) string requirements and limitations; (iii) required applicant background, financial and technical qualifications; (iv) objection processes for infringing and other inappropriately applied-for strings; and (v) standing registry operator obligations in the registry agreement.

He then explains actions ICANN took that address all five of ANA’s concerns it submitted during public comment periods.

And for a closing salvo, Beckstrom informs ANA that it isn’t scared about legal posturing:

Please be advised that ICANN will vigorously defend the multi-stakeholder model and the hard-fought consensus of its global stakeholder participants, its duty to act in accordance with established bottom-up processes, and its responsibility to the broad public interest of the global Internet community, rather than to the specific interests of any particular group.

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  1. David J Castello

    “Please be advised” that it’s only a matter of time before someone takes ICANN on. The one thing ANA pointed out, and is true, is that there is little demand for these names in the marketplace. Most of the people “in favor” say so only because they believe they will profit from it. No one really believes this “is great for the Internet.”

  2. ojohn

    I like the New TLD program and I believe that it has the potential to create a lot of new opportunities with City names and Company names (brand names), but it is still unclear to me as to how ICANN is going to deal with the issues surrounding the thousand or so generic keyword TLDs that define a whole Industry such as .insurance , .homes , .loan ,or .Diamonds

    If these generic keyword TLDs are given to just one Company within their respective Industry it will be totally unfair to all the other businesses that operate within that industry as it has the potential to create monopolies that can put everyone else out of business or at the very least create an environment of favoritism when it comes to getting the best domains.

  3. John Berryhill

    ““Please be advised” that it’s only a matter of time before someone takes ICANN on.”

    So?

    Is ICANN doing something unlawful by running the new tld program, and if so, could you point out what that is?

    “The one thing ANA pointed out, and is true, is that there is little demand for these names in the marketplace.”

    Then no worries.

    People seem to trust markets except when they don’t trust markets. So, six years from now there are a bunch of folks sitting around with shiny TLDs and no money in their pockets. Problem solved.

  4. ojohn

    For better or worse the New TLDs are going to be here soon and at this point it is a waste of time to discuss the validity or usefulness of this program as that should have been done before this program was approved. At this point we need to direct our attention to the implementation of this program in order to assure that it is going to be carried out in the interest of the global Internet community as claimed by ICANN.

    As we all know a lot of ICANN employees have left their job and are now working for private companies and although it is not illegal to do so, but that worries me as to who is really looking after the interest of the global Internet community.

    The way I look at it the generic keyword TLDs that represent a whole Industry or category are a global public asset and should be used for the benefit of everyone in every corner of the World not only now, but for generations to come, and that is what we need to be the most concerned about at this point.

  5. gpmgroup

    Then no worries.

    That logic doesn’t follow. There are implications for innocent third parties.

    For starters existing contracted parties will seek and have already demanded equal treatment.

    Trademark owners will demand greater protections for their marks as they become more difficult to protect. Equal treatment clauses will make it more difficult for smaller owners in existing gTLDs looking to defend their names against more powerful and aggressive companies which desire their names.

    The lack of real competition through the introduction of primarily non competing monopoly positions will allow existing gTLDs to lobby against price caps and that will justify increased prices in existing gTLDs.

    gTLDs should be treated as infrastructure.

    Not many nations these days say to road builders hey where would like to go and build some roads?

  6. David J Castello

    @John
    In my opinion: Unlawful, no. Unethical, yes.
    They absolutely know there is no genuine public demand for these TLDs and the only people who will not have empty pockets in 2014 will be ICANN. These are the people who are supposed to be protecting the public, not leading them to the slaughterhouse.

  7. MysteryBob

    One thing that is clear; although ICANN is non-profit, it doesn’t stop it’s junket-loving CEO and board from having salaries linked to the successful roll-out of new TLDs. And people wonder why “ICANN” is so keen to steam roll this through despite so much opposition.

  8. M. Menius

    @ojohn – “who is really looking after the interest of the global Internet community”

    That’s the ultimate question. Is it ICANN? In theory, yes. In reality, they seem to have become their own best client. That “bottom up” consenus-building model is pathetically transparent. Adept at misdirection & changing the argument. ICANN’s stock and trade.

    @Castello – “These are the people who are supposed to be protecting the public, not leading them to the slaughterhouse.”

    Ditto the comment. ICANN have partnered with a small group of profiteers at the expense of the larger internet community. Are they not still trivializing larger stakeholder concerns in order to move forward with a pure profit agenda? Numerous new tld’s, right of the dot, are a massive x-factor with negative implications, and it is the one topic ICANN don’t address … aside to say it’s “innovation” ad nauseum.

    @MysteryBob – “junket-loving CEO and board from having salaries linked to the successful roll-out of new TLDs”

    To what body are ICANN answerable? Really? No accountability … means greed takes over. One thing it seems, public criticism rolls off the back of ICANN, like water off a duck.

  9. John Berryhill

    “Not many nations these days say to road builders hey where would like to go and build some roads?”

    I’m willing to bet that the US interstate highways in the vicinity of Orlando, Florida looked quite different than they way they did prior to Walt Disney’s decision to build a resort there. What country told him where to put his resort?

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