Over the past couple of weeks, a number of organizations have issued strongly worded press releases condemning ICANN and the gTLD program. Among those who have criticized ICANN was the CEO of the International Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the CEO of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).
According to Randall Rothenberg, CEO and President of the IAB, “There appears to have been no economic impact research, no full and open stakeholder discussions, and little concern for the delicate balance of the Internet ecosystem.”
Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the ANA stated that, “Brand confusion, dilution and other abuses also pose risks of cyber predator harms, consumer privacy violations, identity theft and cyber security breaches. The decision to go forward with the program also violates sound public policy and contravenes ICANN’s Code of Conduct and its undertakings with the United States Department of Commerce.”
While Rothenberg and Liodice are of course entitled to their opinions, I am surprised they were not more vocal about their beliefs during the gTLD approval and discussion process that went on for a number of years. Many companies and organizations provided commentary, and there were plenty who opposed the gTLD program.
I am sure one opinion would be that it’s better to oppose this late than never, but it’s strange to see. What were some organizations waiting for to comment? I can’t believe they didn’t know about the program or know how to participate. That just wouldn’t make sense that such large organizations didn’t realize this was taking place.