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Will ICANN Drop Its Biggest Revolutionary New Idea? Five Reasons

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Naseem Javed

ICANN, the Internet Authority is up against the wall, and here are the top five reasons for which it may simply drop its greatest revolutionary idea of offering a brand new type of a designer domain name to fit the next generation of widely expanded Internet and cyber realities of tomorrow. This new proposed platform will surely revolutionize the marketing and branding for big and small businesses around the world, offering highly affordable tools for global reach than ever before but the strong opposition would like to kill this idea. Would ICANN consider dropping the idea? Here are the five reasons:

Reason One

Fear of rejection and lack of support by the Internet practitioners and the domain registrar community of the world, who for some strange reason have not expressed their full and open support, partially due to serious lack of understanding of the global business nomenclature and also for real complexities of cyber-branding.

Historically speaking the original concept of the first five Top-Level Domains (TLDs), like 'com' or 'net', most probably drawn up at the back of a napkin, have proven one thing, that till now .com is the king and all the other TLDs are in a struggle. So, suddenly the unlimited issuance of suffixes of choice is a shocker.

Internet registrars in a suffix driven registration mentality are quite right as their existing suffixes will seriously shrink. However, based on soon to be released study by ABC Namebank, which points to the law of usability which dictates that these new domains are not about suffixes, rather these are domain names without suffixes. The future is all about name driven domain identities over suffix driven domain identities and the lack of corporate nomenclature understanding at a global scale is the proof. Imagine a city phone book and yellow pages under a suffix system. 100 phone books anyone?

The study also points to the numbers of new applications under the new platform to be so large all over the world that it will totally re-energize the entire Internet support services due to new sets of domain name management and varied registrations requirements.

Reason Two

Lack of credibility and confusion among the trademark professionals and attorneys worldwide who are aggressively exploring their particular role in the process but still keep pointing out serious risks to trademark holders and of increased cyber squatting.

The trademark profession justifiably recognizes three critical issues, firstly, the availability, suitability and registrability of any proposed name application under the common law, allowing traditional trademark process which provides progressive jurisdictional approval over years and now its sudden correlation to a new process of global cyber name branding in one single stroke. Secondly, the court challenges between newly recognized cyber brands and traditionally filed brands and lastly, the serious limitations on already approved trademarked names filed in regions in their own classification which would only fail on this single classification new platform where only one single name would be allowed to exist.

The study by ABC Namebank clearly points to a serious 95% dilution factor among major business names around the world and how this cyber branding race will create havoc among those aggressively filed but poorly crafted brand names.

Despite, all the weird and mysterious reasons, the fact remains that most medium and large size business names all over the world are badly structured and cannot pass the global test on this new platform and the exposure of this blunt fact should not be one of the prime reason of opposition, rather it only creates a great opportunity as a fix for real global image expansion. Irrespective of all this it will be a real big bang era for trademark and legal professions as they are poised to play a very big role.

Reason Three

Complete absence of any enthusiastic support from the advertising and marketing trade, this group is not only oblivious to this tsunami but due to the technical ramification finds it at odds to even mention it.

The marketing professionals, the branding experts and the advertising agencies, encompassing a couple of million people in this trade worldwide have yet to discover, what this revolutionary device can deliver at a global scale at a price less than the production cost of a single TV commercial. The massive shrinkage due to digitization of the global advertising and branding industry already underway will eventually get harmonized with these new cyber platforms. For now, some fast track education is needed to capture and re-energize the entire industry, the sheer volume of the re-branding; re-naming and the re-positioning will also open extraordinary new fronts.

Reason Four

Outright rejection by the domain name protection agencies, as their extra filings of millions of domain names to scare off cyber squatters as a service may be considered redundant.

The ease of entry to a domain name purchase really spread the disease of cyber-squatting but now with a proposed price tag of $200K-500K for each name, plus a rigorous complex process, the midnight trains of mysterious squatters would simply be shunted to other tracks. Furthermore, once a new gTLD is allotted to a party, it would be very naive to assume that ICANN would allow several modified versions of the same name to be sold to others. The brand protection agencies will have far too many other new fronts to explore and they may have to out focus form only squatting.

Reason Five

Lack of a powerful message for the global entrepreneurial audience and for not being able to articulate the issues with swift speed, utilizing the latest technologies of mass communication and making this a popular high-level global business debate.

The mother of all action is this arena, where brand new ideas will incubate and dynamics of the new platform will shine. With a billion additional users coming on the surface, the endless horizon will change and global interaction will create a very rich Internet experience. Media has paid little attention to this subject as this item is still in the IT columns of the lukewarm publications and has yet to make a front page breaking news when for example, Paris Hilton, would throw a tantrum and demand her exclusive global rights to both of the new global domain names dot paris and dot hilton etc. at any price or else. Are we really waiting for the Paris's parade of the paparazzi?

More information on the size and magnitude of these important issues can be found on www.icann.org or on Google by searching "the billion dollar domain babies" or "new gtld"


The world's business community needs a quick educational pill so that the techno-babble would seriously clash with the sing-song-slogans, creating a clear and a very rich message that will not only add the value and power to this new platform but also bring it to the center stage.

For now, should ICANN drop the idea? no, never, but if it did, nothing really will change for a while, but sooner or later, somehow a group of new countries would claim the true ownership of the Internet and set up a global body to meet the worldly challenges of tomorrow. While the above mentioned fears may have overtaken, right now, the global business community critically needs an easy global access and quick market expansion to survive and this platform offers some key solutions and for that reason alone and without delay the future must meet today.

Fire-up all the engines, ICANN.

By Naseem Javed, Expert: Global Naming Complexities, Corporate Nomenclature, Image & Branding. He is the founder of ABC Namebank, author of 'Domination: The GTLD Name Game', syndicated columnist, keynote speaker and specialist on global naming complexities.

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



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