Kurt Pritz,a senior vice president at ICANN, said the group is expecting between 500 and 1,000 applications for new top-level domains. But an array of advertisers, businesses and nonprofits are worried the plan could force them to defensively buy up potential domains related to their brand. They have also expressed concern that the new domains would create opportunities for scammers to set up fake websites to take advantage of consumers.
Dan Jaffee, vice president of government relations for the Association of National Advertisers, called the plan a “reckless experiment.” He told the senators the plan could cause them headaches as they will have to pay thousands of dollars to prevent scammers or political opponents from setting up top-level domains using their names.
“Why are we rushing into this?” Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) asked. “It doesn’t make sense for a Jan. 12 rollout.” “I’m hopeful that you will listen to these concerns as you go forward,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) told Pritz.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee has scheduled a hearing next week to examine the plan. After the Senate hearing, Klobuchar said she expects ICANN to “get an earful in the House.”
But ICANN argues its plan will increase innovation and competition on the Internet and will create new options for consumers. Pritz told the lawmakers that ICANN will only grant new top-level domains “that meet stringent technical and financial criteria.”
Groups will have to pay $185,000 to buy a new domain, which Pritz argued will discourage scammers looking to make a quick buck. He said allowing for any new domain that meets the strict criteria will prevent ICANN from having to pick winners and losers.
After the hearing, Pritz told reporters that ICANN’s board has not discussed delaying the implementation of its plan. When pressed on whether the group might push back the rollout, he said, “Never say never.”
It is unclear what Congress could do to stop the rollout of new gTLDs. ICANN is an independent, international nonprofit. Klobuchar said she plans to look into whether Congress or the Commerce Department can do anything to change or delay the plan.
All I can say is LOL, which also stands for “lots of luck”.
Thanks to Brendan Sasso and The Hill, and
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