MarkMonitor Customer Response to New TLDs

Before it was apparent that ICANN was pursuing new Top-Level Domains (TLDs) and the publication of the Draft Applicant Guidebook (DAG) which explains the program, we heard no interest whatsoever from our customers on this subject.

Since the publication of the DAG, our customers have voiced confusion & anger. They find the methodology complicated, the expense high, and, most importantly, a potential for abuse that is even greater than in the existing namespace. As for the opportunity that TLDs present, our customers — most large brand rights holders — are not interested in applying for new TLDs, but may feel forced to do so under the circumstances. Many of them feel compelled to protect their existing rights – at extreme expense. Only a small minority of our customers to date have embraced the idea for marketing or other reasons.

Universally, every customer we’ve spoken to has expressed concern over the immense scale of trademark abuse in the existing namespace as well as the insufficiency of the tools & great expense of resolving this abuse. Moreover, they worry about the tangible damage to Internet users from fraud and other crimes that are enabled by this abuse. With the new TLDs, they see much more abuse coming unless ICANN adopts better protections against systemic brand abuse.

Many customers asked us to help them make these concerns known to ICANN. As a result, we are preparing a comment on behalf of our customers that highlight these issues and advocates measures that should help to address them. We hope that our contribution will result in a more balanced approach that minimizes the expenditures required by our customers to fight brand abuse in the new TLDs.