The ANA Airs its Grievances

Last week, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) sent a letter to ICANN’s CEO Rod Beckstrom in which it enumerated various flaws that it found in ICANN’s New gTLD Program. The biggest problem, according to the ANA, was ICANN’s lack of a bottom-up process, in other words, its refusal to listen to the global community of Internet users. It also calls out the U.S. Department of Commerce for inadequate oversight.

The ANA is composed of over 400 companies representing over 10,000 brands, for which new gTLDs will pose serious harm through the increased likelihood of cybersquatting and other malicious activities. It argues that new gTLDs will throw the domain name system into chaotic confusion for relatively insignificant material gains in commerce, competition and innovation. Increasing those three things, of course, was the motivating factor behind ICANN’s approval of the New gTLD Program.

The letter concludes by urging ICANN to suspend the Program, and to sit down and work out all of the problems. The ANA has requested that ICANN respond to the letter by August 22, 2011.

This letter comes six weeks after ICANN’s vote to approve the Program on June 20. The ANA have provided input to ICANN before, participating in public comment periods about new gTLDs and urging ICANN to take into account the needs of its members and all businesses that rely on the Internet. It will be interesting to see how, and even whether, ICANN responds to the letter, and if the ANA’s actions inspire other parties that disagree with the New gTLD Program to come forward and confront ICANN.

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