Despite nobody really thinking that the decision by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to expand the variety of top-level domain addresses is a good idea, the plan seems to be chugging right along. Joining the chorus of businesses that oppose ICANN’s plan, the United Nations and 26 other international entities have voiced their concern that making available possible site domains like “.un” and “.imf” could be used maliciously. The cadre of organizations sent a letter to ICANN last month requesting that they refrain from offering such domains for use.
In a report from Reuters today, however, ICANN President Rod Beckstrom sought to re-assure the organizations that they’re “very sensitive to those concerns” and that they’d be “responding to that letter.” He adds, “If (those who registered the domain) have no rights to that term, then you’re in a very good position. So you don’t need to apply for the term for a top-level domain because you’re concerned that someone who has no rights might apply.”
Beckstrom might as well have just come out and told the U.N. to keep their shirt on.
His mildly insouciant rebuttal of the concerns isn’t completely invalid. In the same Reuters article, Beckstrom points out that on top of the likely preventive price tag of $185,000 to register a top-level domain, additional annual fees due to ICANN will inflate the cost of owning the domain name upwards of $400,000 over the first 10 years. Cybersquatting a web domain in order to get paid out a nice ransom from governments or businesses hardly seems like even a little bit of fun when you’ll be bleeding tons of money just to hold on to the top-level domain. Cybersquatters are opportunists that like to register these domain names in order to make profits, not simply cover the astronomical cost of registering the domain in the first place.
The U.N, IMF, other international organizations and all the businesses freaking out about the possibility of someone registering a site with their likeness really need to get to know they’re neighborhood scam artists a little better. Think more Wile E. Coyote and less Lex Luthor.