Frederick Felman, Chief Marketing Officer at MarkMonitor, posted up his thoughts on new gTLD’s a few days ago on the company’s brand protection blog. He addresses the very real threat of brandjacking and/or brand abuse once the newly sponsored gTLD’s are approved and go live, which could happen as early as 2013. He says companies and brands need to pay special attention to “generics” in the soon to be made available generic top level domains (gTLD’s):
“A few days ago, I started to convince myself that there might be less to worry about with new gTLDs. It was calming to consider that the largest percentage of new extensions would likely be .brands which would pose little risk to others’ intellectual property rights.
What I’d forgotten is how potentially problematic some of the new generic extensions could be. And recent news reminded me that rights’ holders will likely realize all the pain they expected and more. Announcements from Momentus Corporation, Radix, CloudNames and TLDH have catalyzed these fears. They’ve published the extensions they have applied for, many of which will be troubling to brand-owners.”
The threats that Fred talks about are definitely real and could be potentially on a massive scale that we have never seen before. It will be interesting to see what ICANN proposes to address these issues dealing with trademark infringement/abuse. Feldman went on to say:
“Using defensive registration trends in .XXX as a guide, we’d expect large brands to consider blocking strategies in many of these gTLDs, if they come to fruition, considering their potential for controversy and damage to brand reputation. With the high percentage of defensives in .XXX this could be a very profitable endeavor for these new registries, if their extensions are delegated.
Whether you see these new registries as entrepreneurial opportunities to increase the namespace or a ploy to force brand owners into registering defensively, it raises very real business concerns for large corporations. Will these gTLDs be delegated and how many other applications will be of this nature? We’ll all be looking for news to trickle in until the flood on the 13th of June. Meanwhile, brands should be considering how to mount campaigns for GAC advice and evaluating other blocking actions including objections.”
At MarkMonitor, Fred is responsible for defining and promoting the company’s brand protection product offerings as well as leading business development. He and his team created the Brandjacking Index®, an often-cited measure of the trends in online abuse targeting the world’s largest brands. As part of the MarkMonitor commitment to securing brands online, Fred also leads advocacy initiatives for brandholders’ rights issues that intersect internet governance.
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