Simply put, it would be a disaster for its competitors if L’Oreal snapped up generic domains like .hair, .makeup, and .beauty; but that is what's at stake for advertisers. Also at stake claims the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), a flood of secondary domains that would choke the internet, and exponential growth in cybersquatting and fraud.
The ANA yesterday urged the US Department of Commerce (DOC) to work within the Internet stakeholder processes of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to advocate for a "Do Not Sell registry" at the upcoming ICANN Board meeting next month in Toronto.
ANA's letter is a follow-up to a meeting on September 4th that was hosted by DOC and the US Patent and Trademark Office to discuss additional protections at the second level for all new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs).
Said Dan Jaffe, ANA Group Executive Vice President in the letter, "The Internet community is on the verge of a [TLD] tsunami which will create a huge wave of risk for both businesses and consumers." More than a thousand TLDs are being considered to be added to the internet which should lead to an "explosive growth in secondary domains (those domains to the left of the dot in Internet addresses). We believe it is critical that the DOC push for a comprehensive protection system that includes both a Do Not Sell registry and strong Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs)."
Jaffe observed that cybersquatting and fraud are already rampant problems in the current universe of 22 TLDs, and pointed out that "Even if only half of the new gTLDs receive delegation into the Internet root database, the projected increase would be 3181%. It is critical for the integrity of the Internet that the Department of Commerce and other members of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of ICANN come together to demand more protections for both consumers and businesses."
ANA's letter claims a growing consensus within the business community to implement a TLD block list to avoid the need for defensive registrations.
As an example, if someone snaps up the gTLD ".sucks," then a brand like McDonalds would have to buy the mcdonalds.sucks secondary domain to defend itself. Or an auto dealer called "Bennigan Cars" would have to snap up bennigan.car, else risk having to pay an exorbitant fee to some cybersquatter.
ANA believes a TLD-by-TLD block list will be wholly inadequate for the number of new gTLDs expected to be approved by ICANN.
Jaffe emphasized: "The cost to companies that want to defensively register domains at the second level could mount easily into the multi-millions of dollars. The costs of defensive registrations also could be economically unfeasible for small and medium sized companies that will face enhanced risks of cybersquatting, typosquatting and phishing in the expanding top level domain universe."
ANA has advocated for ICANN to adopt a "Do Not Sell" registry for almost a year and will be taking part in the upcoming ICANN Board meeting next month in Toronto to continue to push for the approach. ANA's letter concluded: "We are on the verge of grave threats to the stability of the Internet, so now is the time to act."