The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers‘s (ICANN) rolling out of 20 new top-level domains every week starting this fall spells trouble to some.
Despite ICANN’s assurances that the expansion of gTLDs will create new opportunities for entrepreneurs, regulators as well as industry experts have been warning against it pointing out increased possibility of illegal use of domain names including fraud, trademark infringement as well as all sort of scams.
ICANN has committed to address the issue of violations by establishing a global trade-mark clearing-house that will deal with reported cases of abuse as well as making sure domain name registrants will follow ethical rules as outlined in contracts.
The expansion of domain name suffixes has been designed with the non-English speaking countries in mind to help the Internet be global and more usable resource. Domain names in national script will increase the scope of communication locally but sceptics doubt it will increase help international contacts. For example, Arabic users might feel reluctant to send out emails ending with an Arabic suffix. Furthermore, the online content will be harder to navigate causing confusion among users, especially trying to find their brand.
To protect their trade-marks and brands, businesses are going to buy several variations of their domain name in order to shield themselves from possible abuse. But with so many combinations at hand including misspellings and typo-squats the task can be very costly. Small businesses in particular will be facing challenges as they do not allocate as much preventive measures against fraud and legal counselling as big corporations.
Within a year and half it is expected that 1,400 new gTLDs will be introduced to the online community within various categories (industry, geography, ethnicity, etc.).