New gTLDs and ccTLD string confusion: what are the chances?

Kevin Murphy
July 26, 2012

SX Registry may have denied rumors – fueled by its erotically charged launch marketing – that it already has plans to object to the two applications for .sex generic top-level domains, but the new Sint Maarten ccTLD registry is far from alone when it comes to potential string similarity clashes with new gTLD applications.

In fact, applicants for three-character gTLDs are more likely than not to find themselves in the same position as ICM Registry SX LLC and Internet Marketing Solutions Limited Ltd, the two .sex applicants, wondering whether they will face objections from ccTLDs.

If .SX Registry is able to object to .sex on visual similarity grounds, 169 other ccTLD registries have the same rights to object to other gTLD applications, we have found.

Of the 375 applications for three-letter gTLDs in the first round, 304 have only one character variance with one or more existing ccTLDs, according to DI PRO’s string similarity analysis. In total, if a single additional character is enough to create similarity, there are 368 potential ccTLD/gTLD conflicts in the current application round.

The visual similarity ratio between ccTLDs and gTLDs, as measured by the algorithm developed by Sword Group for ICANN, is in many cases only a few percentage points lower than in the case of TLDs that have already been rejected on confusing similarity grounds.

This analysis discusses the String Confusion Objection as it relates to ccTLDs and presents the raw results of our similarity checks, including Sword tool results for each of the 368 potential conflicts.

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