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Simple Solution, Simply Ignored

ICANN has been consistently and justifiably criticized for its unfriendly attitude towards brand owners. Its latest set of proposed rules to address trademark issues should it succeed in launching hundreds of new TLDs is yet another example of ICANN’s adversarial attitude and willingness to bite the hand that feeds it with apparent impunity. For just a few of the gaps in protection caused by ICANN’s latest scheme, click here. Without question, the economic engine that drives the Internet is the investment brands make to websites and e-commerce. Without those investments, the Internet would be nothing more than a passing fad. Certainly, no one can credibly object to the return on those investments nor deny the healthy competition the Internet has created with barriers to enter a new market virtually zero. An entrepreneur’s dream. But key to that healthy marketplace is respect and protection for brands, the most important distinguishing factor between goods and services that go the to core of consumer choice and confidence. Yet ICANN continues to make brand owners collectively spend billions a year on defensive registrations and battles with cyber-squatters, typo-squatters, and an ever growing array of intellectual property infringers. ICANN’s solution is to make it all even more complicated, summarily refusing to comment on a proposal made on January 9, 2012 by the Association of National Advertisers — a Do Not Sell list where marketers can register their brand names for free and remove them from the application process for new TLDs. In the future, the same concept can be applied to stop marauders who illegally feed off brand equity at the second level domains as well. After all, if you don’t want to get pesky telephone calls, put your number on the Do Not Call list. And if you’re tired of getting unwanted email, opt out or, better yet, visit and learn how you can, if that is your desire, rid yourself of receiving unwanted ads. No doubt there are some complications in applying and administering a Do Not Sell list, but none of them are insurmountable. ICANN claims the marketers will not seek defensive registrations at the top level. If that’s true, then adopting the Do Not Sell list will cost ICANN nothing and insure that brands don’t have to pay yet again for something they already own. It’s simple — ADOPT THE DO NOT SELL LIST NOW! It’s only the simple minded who fail to see how simple a solution the Do Not Sell list would be.

Doug Wood, We Expert

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