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New ICANN Chief on gTLDs

In a recent Washington Post article, Rod Beckstrom, former Director of the National Cyber Security Center and ICANN's newly appointed CEO, provided his initial views on ICANN, and its plans for the launch of new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs).

According to the article, Mr. Beckstrom said that he was "a bit overwhelmed by the tremendous complexity of issues on the table." He added, "(ICANN) is perhaps the most complex, multi-stakeholder environment (he has) ever seen."

In terms of the new gTLDs, Mr. Beckstrom stated that "ICANN is receiving a lot of pressure from many companies around the world who want new gTLDs...who want them opened up and available."

He continued "the solution is not avoiding the gTLDs, because there's tremendous demand from all over the world to have those, and the number of companies who are opposing them appear to be a minority compared to those who think they should be out there and present."

Mr. Beckstrom is likely hearing the cacophony of voices from ICANN's 'contracted' parties, registries and registrars, as well as newly announced registries that intend to make the most of the new namespace. Several new registries announced their intent to apply for a new gTLD with splashy events and celebrity guests at the meeting held last week in Sydney. Many of these new proposed registries have large amounts of capital invested and are eager to put their money to work.

While the companies that enable and support new gTLDs are certainly among those clamoring for their launch, MarkMonitor has yet to hear many large corporations expressing a similar desire. In fact, of the many conversations we've had with rights owners, there are precious few brand owners who have expressed their desire for the launch of new gTLDs. However, many corporations will be forced to participate in some way to protect their rights or for competitive reasons.

We are sure that Mr. Beckstrom will have a chance to hear more of the voices that represent other ICANN stakeholders, including Internet users and rights owners who are endangered by domain name system abuse, before he must make decisions about the new gTLDs. His writings in his book "The Starfish and the Spider" indicate that he has an appreciation for smart organizations and the importance of reputation and respects the wisdom of crowds.

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Related topics: Cybersquatting, Domain Names, ICANN, Internet Governance, Law, Top-Level Domains

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