It’s a bad day for Verisign.
As the company pins its growth hopes partially on its applications for IDN gTLDs — in the wake of losing its price-raising powers over .com — ccTLD registries from Asia-Pacific have raised serious concerns about its bids.
The Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association says that many of its members reckon the proposed IDN transliterations of .com “could give rise to an increased risk of phishing and other malicious abuses”.
Verisign has applied for a dozen transliterations of .com and .net in scripts such as Hebrew, Cyrillic and Arabic. The strings themselves are meaningless, but they sound like “com” and “net”.
It’s for this reason that APTLD reckons they could cause problems. In an October 1 letter to ICANN, published today, the organization said:
In addition to the potential for user confusion, some [Working Group] members also noted that the creation of transliterated TLDs, without the development of adequate registration and eligibility polices and procedures, could give rise to an increased risk of phishing and other malicious abuses of the new spaces.
The WG notes that this potential problem manifests itself at the second level, and is not unique to tranlisterated TLDs, but would argue that the very nature of these TLDs, and their close similarity to existing TLDs, makes them particularly high-risk targets.
The letter does not single out Verisign, and does not represent a consensus APTLD view.
There are also worries among APTLD members about the application for .thai in Latin script, which could clash with Thailand’s IDN ccTLD, and various translations of “.site”.
APTLD notes that the new gTLD evaluation process only contains checks for visual similarity between TLDs.
The only way to block an application based on phonetic confusion is to file a String Confusion Objection, but the only entity eligible to object to Verisign’s applications is Verisign itself.