To the Naysayers

Josh Bourne ⬥ 20 April

CADNA recently released a report that predicts how much new generic TLDs will cost brand owners once they are released.  A lot of the attention paid to the subject of new TLDs has been focused on .BRAND TLDs and whether or not companies should register their own branded TLD.  In my experience dealing with various businesses, there seems to be the impression that once a company decides it will not register its own .BRAND, it will be in the clear and new TLDs will not be much of an issue.  The truth is, generic TLDs like .MUSIC, .ECO and .NYC will actually be a greater concern for businesses in terms of defending their brands against infringement and cybersquatting.

After ICANN released its predictions regarding how many generic TLD applications it will receive in the initial round, CADNA went to work calculating how much brand owners on average will need to spend to defensively register their brands and trademarks across these new generic TLDs.  It found that the initial launch will cost brand owners about $500,000 each, and that the cost to businesses worldwide could exceed $746 million.  The full explanation of these figures and calculations can be viewed on the CADNA Web site.

CADNA, which many know is a nonprofit that FairWinds helped to found, undertook the task of figuring out the cost of new generic TLDs in order to give brand owners an accurate picture of what impact the TLD launch will have on their brands and their bottom lines.  CADNA put forward this research to help illustrate how absurd it is to allow such a radical shift in Web site naming to be a complete free-for-all.  New TLDs are probably a good idea – some day.  But, it is never a good idea to build on a shaky foundation.  ICANN is broken and anticybersquatting laws are outdated.  If it underwent necessary reforms to improve its policy development process and Internet governance function in order to make public interest a higher priority, then a rollout of new TLDs would look very different.  There wouldn’t be a massive flood of extensions that would create an impossible challenge for trademark holders and law enforcement to protect consumers from the misuse of brand names.

Unfortunately, since releasing its calculations, CADNA has experienced some negative backlash.  Interestingly the negative reactions came specifically from new TLD entrepreneurs blogging about the topic.  All those who called CADNA’s projections bogus and charged the organization with fear mongering are the same people who have a vested financial interest in the success of new TLDs.  Not one of those critics contacted CADNA to ask for comments or for a further explanation of the calculations and methodology.  Instead, they simply wrote off the figures because the results were inconvenient for them and their business.  What it boils down to is this: these critics are calling CADNA biased when they are clearly as far from neutral as they can be. 

Tags: brand, CADNA, calculations, cybersquatting, enforcement, FairWinds, generic TLDS, gTLDs, ICANN, infringement, Internet governance, nonprofit, policy development, public interest, TLD entrepreneurs, TLDs, trademark holders

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