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Companies that both support and oppose new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, December 8, 2011, 23:13:40 (UTC), Domain Policy

NetChoice, which has spent the last few years publicly expressing a skeptical view of ICANN’s new top-level domains program, has today come out explicitly in its support.

“While not perfect, ICANN’s plan to expand the domain space is a critical step forward for the Internet,” NetChoice executive director Steve DelBianco said in a press release.

“Managed properly, the new gTLD program should increase competition, expand user choice, and make the Internet far more useful to hundreds of millions of users worldwide who read and write in alphabets other than Latin,” he said.

This puts a number of companies in the interesting situation of simultaneously opposing and supporting the new gTLDs program, at least if you track which associations they belong to.

Take eBay, for example.

eBay is a member of NetChoice, but it’s also a member of the anti-expansion Association of National Advertisers, according to the organizations’ respective web sites.

It’s also a member of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which opposes new gTLDs and is a founder member of the Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight, which was founded by the ANA and also opposes new gTLDs.

Yahoo, Expedia and Facebook are all members of the IAB, which opposes the expansion, and NetChoice, which doesn’t.

The Screen Actors Guild, which has openly opposed new gTLDs, is also inexplicably listed as a member of the Electronic Retailing Association, which in turn is a member of NetChoice.

News Corp is a member of NetChoice, which supports new gTLDs, while many of its Fox-branded subsidiaries are members of the IAB, which is a member of CRIDO, which opposes new gTLDs.

Intel is a member of the ANA, which opposes the program. It’s also a member of the Association of Competitive Technology, which is in turn a member of NetChoice, which supports it.

Very confusing, isn’t it?

Almost makes you think that, regardless of which side you’re on, hiding behind a coalition just makes your point of view seem less valid.

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Comments (6)

  1. gpmgroup says:

    Perhaps NetChoice hasn’t checked with its members?

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Could be.

      Could also be that the associations on the other side of the argument didn’t check with theirs.

      NetChoice has a small number of members compared to ANA.

  2. I happen to know that at least one of the companies you mention is going after gTLDs with gusto — brands and generics. Funny old world, isn’t it?

    It seems a safe bet that many companies who belong to trade associations have little idea what those associations are doing or saying.

    • gpmgroup says:

      Its a bit like .xxx defensive registrations. Doesn’t mean your company wants them, but if you don’t buy them it has the potential to be much more problematic.

      ICANN has exasperated the problem through the conscious choices it made in its proposed program for new gTLDs.

  3. Paul Levins says:

    So the reason there’s an apparent bi-polarism is that innovation is hard. We don’t know what innovation will flow from their introduction but we do know there will be innovation and we can’t hold it back. And that’s what has driven the growth and acceptance of the Internet. The apparent bi-polarism in support is caused by that expectant doubt. To quote Voltaire, “doubt may be an uncomfortable position, but certainty is an absurd one”.

    Well done to Steve DelBianco for seeing this and saying it!

  4. John Berryhill says:

    It is probably more a demonstration of politics as an entrepreneurial pursuit. With a good mailing list and a knack for writing scary campfire stories in the form of fundraising letters, you can make a good living. Making sense or even having a respect for testable, verifiable facts is not a requirement.

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