Monday, August 15, 2011
IAB Opposes New Web Domain Program From ICANN

Controversial ICANN Plan Includes Exorbitant Fees for Web Publishers and
Brand Marketers & Opens Doors to ‘Cyber Squatters’

NEW YORK, NY (August 15, 2011) — The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) today called on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to withdraw its controversial new domain-naming plan, saying that the program to assign hundreds of thousands of new domain names would cause incalculable financial damage to brand owners, including the hundreds of media brands in its membership. These “top-level domain” addresses, which could include domain endings that focus on specific trademarked brand names such as .coke, .jetblue, .cnn, .facebook or .verizon, would come at an extremely high cost to publishers and advertisers, and would also offer “cyber squatters” an opportunity to harm a brand’s integrity and/or profit greatly from their bad-faith domain registrations.

“ICANN’s potentially momentous change seems to have been made in a top-down star chamber. 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,” said Randall Rothenberg, CEO and President, IAB. “This could be disastrous for the media brand owners we represent and the brand owners with which they work. We hope that ICANN will reconsider both this ill-considered decision and the process by which it was reached.”

The IAB move followed strong criticism of the ICANN plan by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). The ANA has labeled the plan as economically unsupportable, stating that it is likely to cause irreparable harm and damage to its membership and the Internet business community in general. At the same time, according to the ANA, the program contravenes the legal rights of brand owners and jeopardizes the safety of consumers.

These new domain endings are expected to roll out in late 2012.

About the IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 500 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.iab.net.

IAB Media Contact
Laura Goldberg
347.683.1859
[email protected]