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Breaking: Ad industry piles on ICANN

Kevin Murphy, August 15, 2011, 15:27:13 (UTC), Domain Policy

The Interactive Advertising Bureau, which represents over 500 companies including Facebook, Google, eBay and Microsoft, has told ICANN to put a stop to its new top-level domains program.

The cry calls just a couple of weeks after the Association of National Advertisers said it would lobby Congress and may take ICANN to court over the controversial program.

Randall Rothenberg, CEO of the IAB, said in a press release:

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.

The IAB’s membership is a Who’s Who of leading online media companies, purportedly responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the US.

It counts AOL, Digg, Amazon, the BBC, Bebo, CNN, Ziff Davis, LinkedIn, Time Warner, Slate, Thomson-Reuters, IDG, the Huffington Post and many other well-known names as members.

Demand Media, too.

If the ANA represents advertisers themselves, the IAB represents the places they spend their advertising money.

It looks like a large portion of corporate America is not happy about new gTLDs. ICANN may have found itself a new, extremely well-funded enemy.

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Comments (8)

  1. M says:

    Where were they in the past 6 versions to the applicant guidebook (7 years +/-)?

    This is a good start for an answer to them:
    http://www.icann.org/en/correspondence/pritz-to-goodlatte-07jun11-en.pdf

  2. Gee, I thought ICANN said the public was excited about these (cough, cough)?

  3. Johnny says:

    Never fear. All is well in Icann-land.
    .xxx will be blocked by every corporation, every university, plus a bunch of countries and ISPs.
    Looks like new TLDs will all be kabash.
    But there is always South Sudan and .ss to hype to the masses. .SS, .sS, .Ss – looks real good any way you look at it.

  4. There is no new enemy, it’s the same interests as always. It should come as no surprise to anyone who lived through the ICANN process that vested-interest opponents are trying a flanking movement. From them, there has never been a commitment, either announced or in practice, to a multi-stakeholder process. They are in control now, why would they want to share decision-making?

    The strategy is tried and true, and best exemplified by Napoleon, who was a master of talking even as he was attacking by force of arms.

    ICANN should expect a lot more of this, but I doubt it took them by surprise.

    Antony

  5. @Antony:
    You consider the IAB, who represent 86% of online advertisers, to be simply “vested-interest opponents.”?

    ICANN acts like they had this very open process where all voices could be heard. Thr truth is that, from the start, ICANN was going to damn the torpedoes to get this done. Believe me, they have lot$ of rea$on$.

    And Napoleon did meet a place called Waterloo 🙂

  6. We’re entering a very dangerous period here.

    Groups like the IAB don’t issue idle threats, and will be crawling over Capitol Hill as soon as Congress gets back raising hell about new gTLDs. And the IANA contract renewal, and its future scope, remains up in the air — and with it the technical source of ICANN’s authority.Courts do put their fingers to the political winds, including the 9th Circuit. ICANN’s best defense in any litigation rests on peceived legitimacy of its quasi-regulator role and semi-official blessing.

    What’s ICANN to do? Stick to its guns and risk daunting litigation and political pressure? Abandon the new gTLD program and wreck the multi-stakeholder process? Scale back the new gTLD program, and introduce a whole new round of delays over prioritization and filtering? Or perhaps try to appease trademark interests at registrants’ expense by reopening URS and the other “rights protections”?

    Fasten your seat belts. It could be a very bumpy ride.

  7. Totally agree, Phil. Bette Davis sentiments exactly.

  8. And, yes, the smartest thing ICANN can do here is scale back the roll out. It’s a prudent move and would calm the waters. However, I don’t believe they will because ICANN has been consistently acting in way that can only be described as arrogant. They’ve never truly been challenged and everyone knows the eventual fate of a schoolyard bully.

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