The Association of National Advertisers has offered ICANN a risible last-minute “solution” to the outrage it has created over the new generic top-level domains program.
The ANA wants ICANN to create a temporary “Do Not Sell” list to protect trademark owners and intergovernmental organizations during the first application round, which begins Thursday.
While the first round is open, the ANA itself wants to takes over policy development for the program.
This is its “Proposed Way Forward” in full:
1. ICANN will proceed with its plan to begin accepting applications for new TLDs on January 12, as scheduled;
2. Concurrently, all NGOs, IGOs and commercial stakeholders concerned about protecting their brands will be given the opportunity to have those brands registered, without cost, on a temporary “Do Not Sell” list to be maintained by ICANN during the first application round (any interested party which does not want to have its brands on the Do Not Sell list and would rather apply for a TLD would be free to do so).
We will assemble a team from the interested constituencies to work with ICANN leadership during the first application round. If this group achieves consensus with respect to any proposals, those proposals will be voted on by the Board.
At the end of the first application round, should the parties continue to disagree, all parties will be free to pursue their legal and equitable rights without prejudice.
The alternative to adopting this proposal, ANA president Bob Liodice said in a letter to ICANN today, is “destructive and costly litigation”.
ICANN’s response should be provided “IMMEDIATELY”, Liodice wrote.
I can’t see him getting the answer he wants.
First, the ANA still seems to be worried about top-level cybersquatting, which any sane person can see is extremely unlikely to happen under the new gTLD program’s existing policies.
Second, it’s asking for ICANN to give anyone with a trademark the right to block a string matching that trademark at the top-level.
This may appear reasonable if you think a trademark is something like “Coca-Cola” or “Gucci” or “Google”.
But as soon as you realize that pretty much every word – “music”, “blog”, “web”, “London”, “Paris” – is trademarked, the idea of a Do Not Sell list becomes clearly ludicrous.
It would be a recipe for banning all gTLDs from the first application round.
Third, ICANN already has a mechanism for letting interested stakeholders achieve consensus on new trademark protection policies.
It’s called ICANN, and you don’t need to threaten litigation to participate. You just show up.
You can read the entire laughable ANA proposal here.