ANA Calls for ICANN to Review and Revise Its Rejection of Defensive Registration Proposals

WASHINGTON (May 7, 2012) – The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has called on ICANN to provide a clear and complete analysis and review of its decision to summarily reject the proposal for a “Do Not Sell” registry, which would address the serious concerns internet stakeholders have about the need for “defensive registrations” to protect their brands in the Top Level Domain (TLD) expansion program. ANA also wrote to the U.S. Department of Commerce, urging the Department to seek a full accounting from ICANN of its decision to reject the “Do Not Sell” approach or other response to the significant danger of defensive registrations for new Top Level Domains. 

Dan Jaffe, ANA Group Executive Vice President, stated: “We are very disappointed that ICANN has apparently ignored the serious concerns about defensive registrations that have been expressed by the Department of Commerce, ANA and CRIDO and many other internet stakeholders. If ICANN believes that defensive registrations are counterproductive, it should provide some alternative, rather than just summarily dismissing or ignoring the problem.” 

Jaffe noted that, “Unless ICANN creates a mechanism for brand holders to declare whether they are filing defensively for Top Level Domains, it will be nearly impossible to assess accurately the full scope of the problem.” Jaffe emphasized that “Multi-millions of dollars are at stake. Already, ICANN has stated that more than 2,000 new Top Level Domains have been applied for, and ICANN has received over $350 million in application fees.”

ANA’s letters included two attachments demonstrating that numerous groups had specifically raised concerns about the need for defensive registrations at the top level. They also noted specific reasons why the existing protections provided by ICANN are not adequate, including potential string confusion problems.

Jaffe pointed out that, “Failure by ICANN to act quickly in this area will, in effect, create a final decision in regard to defensive registration through inertia and inaction.”

Jaffe stated: “Many parties have complained throughout ICANN’s history about its lack of transparency. Here once again, stakeholders filed comments with ICANN that seem to have gone into a black hole. While ICANN purports to embrace a multisectoral, bottom-up process, time after time it ignores its own stakeholders and rushes forward with its own agenda.” 

Jaffe concluded: “Dismissively sweeping these important issues aside is unacceptable. If ICANN remains unwilling to adopt a ‘Do Not Sell’ registry or some other approach to address defensive registrations, it owes the entire internet community a complete, detailed explanation.”

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About the ANA

The mission of the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) is to drive growth for marketing professionals, brands and businesses, the industry, and humanity. The ANA serves the marketing needs of 20,000 brands by leveraging the 12-point ANA Growth Agenda, which has been endorsed by the Global CMO Growth Council. The ANA’s membership consists of U.S. and international companies, including client-side marketers, nonprofits, fundraisers, and marketing solutions providers (data science and technology companies, ad agencies, publishers, media companies, suppliers, and vendors). The ANA creates Marketing Growth Champions by serving, educating, and advocating for more than 50,000 industry members that collectively invest more than $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually.