Finally someone is injecting a much-needed note of caution into ICANN’s plan to offer-up top-level domain names willy-nilly to anyone who can afford them– meaning .Beatbeat or .Budweiser could be procured as as easily (for a price) as .biz.
Today TechCrunch reports that Randall Rothenberg, CEO and President of the Internet Advertising Bureau asked ICANN to withdraw its plan, pointing out that despite an initial giddiness among publishers and advertisers, the domains would be extremely costly, and open up the possibility of cyber squatters extorting money in bad faith. As TechCrunch reports, Mr. Rothenberg says the 13-to-1 vote in favor of the change shouldn’t be dictated from on high, when the consequences will trickle down:
“ICANN’s potentially momentous change seems to have been made in a top-down star chamber. There appears to have been no economic impact research, no full and open stakeholder discussions, and little concern for the delicate balance of the Internet ecosystem. This could be disastrous for the media brand owners we represent and the brand owners with which they work. We hope that ICANN will reconsider both this ill-considered decision and the process by which it was reached.”
As TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez points out, entrepreneur and philanthropist Esther Dyson, the founding chairwoman of ICANN, was similarly critical. Her argument went beyond economic concerns and trademark issues to the people of the internet, who, perhaps because of the amount of time they spend online, don’t have the attention span for additional brand-name TLDs. Really? Not even for .Betabeat?? Because we were totally gonna launch a Kickstarter to buy that.