June 25, 2008

Priorities Amuck: ICANN Poised to Trigger Naming Quagmire

Greetings. With all of the high-priority issues we face today regarding the Internet --like assuring network neutrality, or even getting decent Internet services to the 80% of the world's population that doesn't have them now -- it's distressing to see that ICANN is poised tomorrow to potentially trigger a confusing and likely highly litigious, wasteful, and disruptive land grab in new global top-level domain names (gTLDs).

While ICANN's theoretical rationale for loosening up the domain name environment is not utterly without merit, the likely real world implications of a relative flood of new top-level domain names should be pretty obvious to even a casual observer of the Net over recent years.

Everybody and his brother will want a top-level name. ICANN will be deluged with applications. Clever crooks will find ways to game the application and auction processes in league with shady registries. Name confusion and phishing will rise to new heights. Full employment for lawyers is guaranteed, as trademark disputes -- and other legal disputes filed against ICANN's decisions regarding particular names, balloon to capture as much oxygen as possible. The dot-ex-ex-ex controversy and related censorship concerns associated with the horrible idea of a sex-centric TLD will rise yet again from the grave.

And through it all, ICANN will be spinning its wheels with a complicated and expensive process while so many more important Internet issues are rotting essentially ignored on the sidelines.

ICANN needs to get over their "domain names as issue #1" fetish once and for all. Some minor relaxation of the gTLD structure is probably warranted, but not the waste of time, money, and other resources that their current plan seems sure to trigger -- and we could definitely live without the consumer confusion and risks that will arise from this mess as well.

Enough is enough. It's time for ICANN to get its priorities straight.


Posted by Lauren at June 25, 2008 09:49 AM | Permalink
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