Update on Opposition to ICANN's Introduction of New Top Level Domains (TLDs)

As you may remember, we wrote to ICANN President and CEO Rod Beckstrom on August 4 expressing our concern with ICANN’s recent approval of a program that will vastly expand the availability of Generic Top Level Domain Names (GTLDs). If enacted, this program would allow the purchase of new GTLDs including nearly any word or phrase, even names of brands. This, in turn, could allow domain brokers, competitors, or cybersquatters to register GTLDs, including the brand names of your companies.

We received this response to our letter from ICANN on August 9. We considered all of the references cited by ICANN and are not persuaded by any of its arguments that the process ICANN went through reached a true consensus, much less justifies the staggering costs that will be incurred by the brand community should the ICANN Program be implemented. The protections for brands ICANN cites have been factored in by the ANA and its members. They fall far short of what is needed and do not diminish the economic harm, trademark dilution, and consumer confusion that will result if the ICANN Program is implemented.

It has become clear to us that there are many members of the internet ecosphere that have serious problems with ICANN's proposal, supporting our belief that consensus was not the basis for ICANN's decision and hope that ICANN will reconsider. We need your help in identifying those associations that are opposed to the ICANN Program. Please encourage your primary associations to contact us to get involved.

We have also responded to ICANN’s recent letter and have issued a press release in response to the many inquiries we have received. We will be in touch shortly about a meeting in our Washington office early in September to coordinate the ad community’s response to the ICANN Proposal.

We would deeply appreciate your support for this critical issue and also any data you could provide us on the impact of these proposals on your business activities. As always, if you have any further questions, feel free to contact Dan Jaffe in ANA’s Washington office at 202.296.2359 or at djaffe@ana.net; or Doug Wood of Reed Smith LLP and ANA’s General Counsel at 212.549.0377 or at dwood@reedsmith.com.