WASHINGTON, December 18, 2008 — The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) welcomes Goldman, Sachs & Co. and New York Life Insurance Company as its newest members. These memberships top off an 80% increase in membership in 2008. This is clear evidence that more businesses recognize the need to speak out about domain name abuse, including cybersquatting, phishing, and domain name tasting. With the support of its member companies, CADNA is eager to address domain name abuses in 2009.
In the past year, with the help of CADNA’s educational efforts and outreach, brand owners have learned about the domain name problems plaguing the Internet and have come to recognize the need for solutions. A major concern is that, based on conservative projections, the three-year cost to business of registering new domains in the proposed new TLDs to prevent loophole exploitations and combat significant harm caused by fraudsters could be more than $1,500,000,000. However, the challenges facing brand owners and the Internet community go beyond the costs of ICANN’s misguided organizational efforts and include efforts to pass the Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act (APCPA) currently being considered in Congress and issues involving the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) dispute resolution system.
With a new government taking office in January, CADNA has begun increasing its efforts to bring attention to these problems and feels confident that, under the leadership of President-elect Obama and the 111th Congress, these concerns will be addressed as part of the country’s efforts to maintain leadership in areas related to technology and to protect its economy and national security. CADNA’s leadership in Washington and its role as a catalyst for change in the domain name space have been widely recognized, and this influence has mobilized brand owners to join the Coalition’s efforts.
Last week, CADNA held its strategic planning meeting for the coming year in Washington, D.C., where experts in the areas of Internet technology, intellectual property, legislative policy, and international relations gathered with representatives of major brands to discuss CADNA’s future steps towards combating domain name abuse. The Coalition is confident that its plans will allow CADNA to continue to positively redefine the domain name space. While brand owners are certainly facing many obstacles, CADNA will remain steady in its resolve to make the Internet a safer place for the entire online community.
CADNA encourages brand owners to make a New Year’s resolution to get involved in the positive redevelopment of the domain name space wherever they can. CADNA submitted its comments regarding ICANN’s Draft Applicant Guidebook this past Monday and was pleased to find that over a hundred additional organizations submitted their comments as well. While many issues were brought up, an overwhelming majority of those commenting agree that ICANN’s latest actions pose more risks than benefits.
It is important for groups to post responses crafted from their specific perspective in order to achieve the broader involvement that is necessary to influence ICANN. Asking others to bandwagon on comments is not productive, as it creates the impression of offering a timesaving solution to a problem that requires the individual attention and thoughtful consideration of all stakeholders and does not stress to ICANN how much attention this issue deserves. After all, brand owners who are already under water due to infringements in the 1,000-plus worldwide domain extensions including ccTLD variations will be forced to contend with the added complexity of policing the use of their brands in many additional domain names in a newly expanded space. Consumers and nonprofits, too, are at risk of fraud, which can be exceptionally risky due to their lack of the necessary funds to protect themselves; the domain expansion will only exacerbate this problem. All of these complainants need to speak for themselves in order to ensure that their unique and individual concerns are properly represented before ICANN.