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Fifth ad group opposes new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, August 31, 2011, 13:29:03 (UTC), Domain Policy

The World Federation of Advertisers has become the fifth major coalition of advertising big-spenders to ask ICANN to rethink its new gTLD program.

Stephan Loerke, managing director of the Brussels-based organization, wrote to Rod Beckstrom, to “strongly urge ICANN to abandon the program in its current form”.

The letter (pdf) explicitly echoes statements first made by Bob Liodice of the US Association of National Advertisers, which is a WFA member.

To recap, these organizations are worried about consumer confusion, leading to phishing and cybersquatting and an increase in the cost of defending trademarks online.

Loerke said in a press release:

ICANN’s decision flies in the face of their own impact assessments, which highlight the potential dangers and massive costs that unlimited domain names could incur. Worse, it could lead to significant confusion among consumers and expose them to abuse by fraudulent operators.

The WFA is an umbrella trade group that comprises the national advertising trade groups of 50-odd countries. It also has 50-odd brand names as members.

Its members collectively spend $700 billion a year on advertising.

As well as the ANA, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Association of American Advertising Agencies and the UK Direct Marketing Association have recently opposed the new gTLD program.

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Comments (3)

  1. Acro says:

    Insane, isn’t it? I understand the organization’s anxiety at this point, but where were they when ICANN was receiving suggestions? The last thing we need is a flood of TLDs that force brands and tm holders to stay on their toes 24/7 to protect them.

  2. Scott Pinzon says:

    I keep seeing the advertisers say that new gTLDs will cause “consumer confusion,” but have they noticed all the phishing and squatting currently under .com? If you go to ipod.com today, guess what? That site isn’t Apple’s. I would think going to ipod.apple would cause less consumer confusion, not more.

    Supporting Kevin’s point from an earlier article, reasonable people can take opposing points of view on new gTLDs and both sides can have a fair amount of facts and logic backing them. As ever with innovation, if a hundred more TLDs come online, no one knows today what will actually happen. But I’ll go out on a limb here and predict that the world will not end and the Internet will not stop.

  3. Scott Pinzon says:

    A typo in my previous comment. It is ipad.com that is not Apple, rather than ipod.com. (See? Confusion!)

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