ICANN's move to expand Internet domains draws criticism

Unfazed by criticism from Internet industry members and law enforcement agencies, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is going forward with its initiative to expand the pool of website addresses. Beginning next week, interested parties can apply for a larger number of Web domain options with ICANN.

The organization's move is causing consternation for large corporations, which often purchase Web addresses similar to their own so they won't be taken by cybersquatters, and which may have to drastically increase the monitoring and purchase of Web addresses to deter cybersquatters.

Lawrence Strickling, the administrator of the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), asked ICANN to put safeguards in place to keep names out of cybersquatters' hands.  

"In meetings we have held with industry over the past weeks, we have learned that there is tremendous concern about the specifics of the program that may lead to a number of unintended and unforeseen consequences and could jeopardize its success," Strickling wrote in a letter to ICANN on Tuesday.

In response, ICANN said it would review the issues Strickling raised. "We appreciate Assistant Secretary Strickling's comments and suggestions," said Steve Crocker, chair of ICANN's board in an emailed statement.

At a price tag of $185,000, purchasing a top level domain is not cheap and might be a deterrent to potential Web domain violators. Although ICANN will start accepting applications on Jan 12, it is unclear when the new domains would become operational.

One small piece of comfort for corporations is that ICANN said that it would immediately shut down any trademark violators.

For more:
- Reuters has this article

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