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New Generic Top Level Domains Will Launch January 12

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced on Monday that it has approved the plan for unlimited new gTLDs, and that ICANN will be taking applications from January 12 to April 12, 2012.

ANA has been following developments at ICANN very closely for the past few years.  As we first alerted you in 2008, this proposal would greatly expand the number of generic top level domains (gTLDs) available to the general public.  Currently, there are 22 generic top level domains available, which are the letters to the right of the dot in any web address - .com, .net, .biz, etc.  With the dramatic expansion of the gTLDs available, any company, group or individual anywhere in the world could purchase a new TLD that includes virtually any word or phrase, including company or brand names. 

While the hurdles to purchasing one of the new TLDs are not insignificant, this proposal could have a dramatic impact on our members and their brands.  Any domain name broker, a cyber-squatter or even a competitor could attempt to purchase a new top level domain name that includes your company's brands.  We strongly advise our members to become acquainted with the new ICANN process so that their brands are protected in the marketplace.

ANA filed two sets of comments with ICANN on this proposal.  You can read our comments here.  To read a more in-depth summary prepared by ANA’s general counsel, Reed Smith LLP about what these new gTLDs would mean for marketers, please click here.

We need the help of our members as soon as possible on how we can move forward on this important issue.  We have reached out to our international and national association partners in regard to this matter and are looking for avenues for reconsideration by ICANN of this decision.  If, despite these efforts, this proposal proves to be inalterable, then we are seeking how to assure the greatest protection to advertiser interests under this regime. 

Please discuss this issue with those within your company who have responsibility in this area, and then please provide your company’s input on how you believe ANA should proceed in regard to this critical issue. 

If you have any questions, you can reach Dan Jaffe in ANA’s Washington office at 202-296-2359 or at djaffe@ana.net.

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