29 May 2015

Dot SUCKS: FTC Lectures ICANN On How To Protect Consumers

The FTC has responded (pdf here) to ICANN's letter (pdf) in which ICANN attempted to throw dot SUCKS Registry operator Vox Populi under the bus and pass the buck to the FTC on a problem ICANN created in its ill-conceived, misbegotten, and "horribly implemented" new gTLDs program. 

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, after duly noting that the FTC had recommended against the "exponential" expansion of new gTLDs (which recommendations ICANN disregarded), proceeds to lecture ("recommendations") ICANN on how ICANN can begin doing its job responsibly and protect consumers (and thereby avoid having to run to the FTC for help and advice after having acted irresponsibly and negligently in authorizing over 1000 new gTLDs into the DNS):

Excerpt (pdf) from FTC Chairwoman Ramirez Letter to ICANN May 27, 2015, re: Vox Populi and .SUCKS new gTLD
Excerpt from FTC Chairwoman Ramirez Letter to ICANN May 27, 2015, re: Vox Populi and .SUCKS new gTLD








By not answering ICANN's question of whether Vox Populi is violating any laws, the FTC has left the issue open and the onus is now back on ICANN (the FTC may have opened an investigation, it does not "comment on the existence of any pending investigations").

Good for Ms. Ramirez and FTC--well done! The FTC is not going to bail ICANN out of problems ICANN irresponsibly created. Now the issue is back in "ICANN's court." ICANN now knows it is not just a clerk "collecting the money" from new gTLD wannabe Registry operators, but has a duty to protect consumers and the public interest, and must consider, before authorizing any new gTLD, the consequences of its own actions and omissions, and the contractual requirements it imposes upon new gTLD registry operators. One thing is clear, ICANN's existing new gTLDs program and policy is clearly deficient in the FTC's view, and ICANN needs to do a lot more to protect consumers (domain name registrants, trademark holders, users of the internet). Maybe ICANN will listen to the FTC this time.

In the meantime, the sunrise for  .SUCKS closes Friday, May 29th.UPDATE: per the Registry operator--dotSucks Domain Name RegistrySunrise Phase Extended until June 19th, 2015 -- "Even though the launch of the new dotSucks domain names has received overwhelming media and market attention, we have discovered that far too many intellectual property lawyers, company executives and brand owners were unaware of the registry, the availability of its names or the Trademark Clearinghouse. This was a concern that led us over the last weeks to pay closer attention to the ability of the trademark holders to make a timely and informed decision about registering their marks or not. We have decided that the responsible move is to extend the TMCH Sunrise phase for a period of three weeks. This effectively moves the close of the TMCH Sunrise Period to June 19th at 00:01 UTC with General Availability to start June 21st at 00:01 UTC."

Also, every new gTLD Registry operator should take note: the FTC is watching you!

For background on this, see:

No comments:

Domain Mondo posts: