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Fifth ad group opposes new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, August 31, 2011, 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.