N.Y. Times Urges ICANN to Roll Out gTLD Plan Slowly

NEW YORK — The New York Times, in an opinion piece, has asked ICANN to follow the suggestion of the Federal Trade Commission and roll out the new generic top-level domain plan slowly.

The Times cited the potential for cybersquatting and the huge cost of undertaking defensive registrations as reasons for its stand.

ICANN will start taking applications Jan. 12 for new top-level domains with such possible brand extensions as .coke and .costco. Applications will cost $185,000 for each domain.

"The FTC is rightly urging ICANN to require that registries and registrars be able to verify the identity of owners of all domains that have a commercial purpose, and to impose meaningful penalties for those who break the rules," the Times' opinion said. "There is no pressing need to create hundreds of new suffixes next year. It would be far better for ICANN to start with a pilot program to work out problems before expanding the system."

Various trade groups, such as the Association of National Advertisers, oppose the plan, saying that the creation of hundreds of new generic TLDs will burden businesses, forcing them to buy defensive registrations.

As it turns out, defensive registrations have become a large part of the business model for another TLD roll out — .XXX.

On the gTLD plan, the Times said that "companies will still have to spend a lot on defense, registering domains to avoid squatting on their brands and keeping an eye out for potentially infringing websites across hundreds of new suffixes."

"And ICANN's current inability to deal with abusive domain name registrations undermines confidence in its ability to address the risks of this vast expansion."

ICANN has said that the gTLD naming policy took more than 10 years and included input from more than 85 countries and various organizations.