- New gTLD database
New York Times joins call for restricted new gTLD rollout
by Kieren McCarthy | 26 Dec 2011 |
The New York Times has joined the long list of institutions urging ICANN to reconsider a full-scale rollout of new Internet extensions, arguing in an editorial earlier today for a "pilot program" to be considered instead.
In the piece, which mirrors one from the Washington Post a fortnight ago, the esteemed paper argues that "a plethora of new suffixes" will "cause confusion for consumers and enable malefactors to use the new arenas for deception". ICANN, it says, "needs to slow down and put in place better safeguards".
The editorial refers to the other concerns that have been aired this month. They include: the need for "defensive registrations" - something that has been pushed heavily for large corporations and was repeatedly aired during two Congressional hearings; and problems with the Whois - raised in a damning letter by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The Whois problem is referred to as "ICANN's current inability to deal with abusive domain name registrations" and notes that this "undermines confidence in its ability to address the risks of this vast expansion."
As with the Post's editorial, the paper recognizes that the arguments put forward by ICANN, including greater security and new opportunities for businesses, but argues the counter-arguments are such that the organization should reconsider its current plans and instead run a pilot program with a limited number of new generic top-level domains.
It concludes: "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."
TheTimes' editorial is yet another blow to ICANN and its plans to radically open up the Internet's top level, with applications opening on 12 January - just two weeks away.
It joins the FTC's letter, two letters from Congress, the Washington Post editorial, a letter from legal counsels from all the main international organizations (the UN, OECD, ITU, WIPO, OECD et al) and a campaign led by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) to which over 150 large corporates have added their names.
All have now rallied around the idea of a restricted launch of new extensions - precisely the system used twice before by ICANN in 2000 and 2004.
The ball is now firmly in ICANN's court. The plethora of voices asking for the same thing has long since tipped over from pre-launch jitters and fears and now threatens to undermine the organization itself if the concerns raised do end up a reality. With so many respected and powerful groups asking for a delay, it will look reckless if ICANN pushes on regardless and finds it cannot handle the resulting problems.
As we noted earlier this week, the Board has entered crisis talks over the issue and is likely to call a formal meeting early in the new year, to quiz its staff and CEO about their preparations.
The stakes are rapidly rising and a significant degree of trust is now being placed in the hands of ICANN executives who do not enjoy widespread confidence, especially after their weak response to the past month's events.