2015-06-03

New gTLD Domain Names, Defects, ICANN Liability, FTC Complaints

"..."Universal acceptance" (UA) has become an urgent top priority for new gTLD adherents as well as those concerned about the performance of new domains for consumers and businesses. Simply put, many new gTLD addresses don't resolve in web browsers or work with email systems. This is exactly the type of technical issue that is supposed to be ICANN's core competence, so why is it only now being grappled with given the many years of planning in the run-up to new gTLDs becoming available? This is hardly a new issue. According to the CTO for Afilias, the challenge was first identified by ICANN's Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) in 2003, with multiple recommendations made to address it. Yet, he observes,"That was over a decade ago! "..."--Philip S. Corwin - ICANN.WTF?...
As Phil Corwin pointed out above, ICANN knew that new gTLD domain names would have universal acceptance "defects"--i.e., "failing to work as expected on the Internet" and/or "break stuff" or even compromise the stability and security of the Internet--that must be why ICANN included an exculpatory (escape of liability) clause a/k/a weasel clause, in its Registry Agreements with new gTLD domain name registry operators:
Registry Agreement between ICANN and new gTLD Registry operators"....1.2 Technical Feasibility of String. While ICANN has encouraged and will continue to encourage universal acceptance of all top-level domain strings across the Internet, certain top-level domain strings may encounter difficulty in acceptance by ISPs and webhosters and/or validation by web applications. Registry Operator shall be responsible for ensuring to its satisfaction the technical feasibility of the TLD string prior to entering into this Agreement...." (emphasis added)
But what about the gullible "suckers" (not a reference to dotSUCKS and no pun intended) who "buy" or register these new gTLD domain names, and then discover their new gTLD domain names "failing to work as expected on the Internet" or "break stuff"Where was ICANN when it came to protecting consumers--domain name registrants, users, businesses-- and the public interest? Or was ICANN just out to make money for itself to expand its offices and pay lavish amounts to ICANN officers, staff, directors, and/or "line the pockets" of its multitudes of contractors and self-serving, self-interested stakeholders?

How big a problem is universal acceptance with new gTLDs (new generic top-level domains)? Look at the schedule for the ICANN 53 meeting later this month: a full one-day Universal Acceptance workshop plus another separate Universal Acceptance session the next day. No prior ICANN meeting has devoted so much time to the Universal Acceptance problemBetter late than never!

The victims or "injured parties" here include domain name registrants who have been deceived by all the hype from ICANN or its new gTLD registry operators or new gTLD domain name registrars, without benefit of any corresponding prominent warnings or disclosures about the universal acceptance problems with new gTLD domain names.
Domain Name Registrants' Rights: "... 3.You shall not be subject to false advertising or deceptive practices by your Registrar or though [sic] any proxy or privacy services made available by your Registrar. This includes deceptive notices, hidden fees, and any practices that are illegal under the consumer protection law of your residence...." (emphasis added)
Could this be yet another ICANN matter for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate?
What We Do | Federal Trade Commission: "The FTC protects consumers by stopping unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices in the marketplace. We conduct investigations, sue companies and people that violate the law, develop rules to ensure a vibrant marketplace, and educate consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities. We collect complaints about hundreds of issues from data security and deceptive advertising to ... and make them available to law enforcement agencies worldwide for follow-up. Our experienced and motivated staff uses 21st century tools to anticipate – and respond to – changes in the marketplace." (emphasis added)
For more information or to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission go to https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/Information or www.ftc.gov/complaint and watch the video below, or call Toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).


If you cannot view the FTC video above, view the video here.

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