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Online Ad Industry Still Fighting ICANN's TLD Program

The Association of National Advertisers is keeping up the pressure on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), hoping to derail or at least modify its program to introduce top-level domain expansion program.

It has formed an alliance with 87 additional companies under the the Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight that also oppose the program. The TLD program, critics say, is deeply flawed, excessively expensive and will harm brand owners.

Controversial from the Start

Announced in June, the TLD plan has been controversial from the start.

It would allow companies to create website addresses ending in their own names — that is, replacing the .com with, say, an Apple.com, or a place, such as Vegas.com. The fees involved are huge, however, and there there is bound to be much dispute over which firm or entity is entitled to a seemingly generic name, such as Apple or Giant or Money or Food.

The online ad industry has voiced its disapproval. The Interactive Advertising Bureau is calling on ICANN to withdraw the program because it will cause incalculable financial damage to brand owners, it claims.

Besides their large costs, such top-level domain addresses would also offer “cyber squatters” an opportunity to harm a brand’s integrity and/or profit.

London Likes the Idea

Some entities like the idea, such as the city of London.  The city has announced it will apply for its own web domain for the city. It is the latest municipality to admit coveting such an address: New York, Paris, Sydney, Rome and Berlin are all reportedly considering one as well.

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