It was recently reported that The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) system for submitting applications for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) is finally set to be reopened on May 22, and the leadership has announced that Professor Alain Pellet will serve as the Independent Objector for the retooled program.
For a bit of backstory, the ICANN application platform, called TLD application system (TAS), was taken down after a glitch was reported which allowed applicants to see each other’s user names and file names. ICANN set April 12th as the last day to submit applications before taking the system offline, after its board of directors approved an increase of the number of gTLDs from the current amount of 22 last June. ICANN, who moderates the address system of the internet, also began accepting non-traditional domain name endings this year, including ‘.sport,’ ‘,food,’ and ‘.bank,’ in hopes to prompt innovation in web commerce. Though, some critics have stated that the new extensions might only confuse consumers and force established online storefronts to spend millions on securing new versions of their brand web addresses.
According to ICANN, "acting solely in the best interests of global Internet users, the Independent Objector may lodge Limited Public Interest and Community objections in cases where no other objection is made to an application that the Independent Objector deems to be objectionable." ICANN commenced looking for an Independent Objector last November, and interviewed numerous candidates. Pellet, who is widely published and represented governments as Counsel and Advocate in the International Court of Justice, was selected for the position.
In related news, some parties think that ICANN's expanding of the variety of top-level domain addresses could become a bit of a disaster for certain brands, with cybersquatters stepping in and opportunistically buying up all sorts of brand names with new domain extensions. The post of the Independent Objector appears to be one of the last lines of defense against these sorts of nefarious domain registrations.