The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) has released a report claiming that the introduction of new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) as proposed by ICANN will cost brand owners worldwide over $746 million.
However the study is part of the propaganda CADNA regularly releases based on the premise, as they claim, that the cost to individual brand owners will be “about $500,000 each if one conservatively estimates that the average brand owner will defensively register 3 domain names per gTLD, that the average price of domain name registrations in sunrise periods of new gTLD launches will be $500, and that brands will not necessarily participate in each gTLD launch equally.”
However one needs to consider whether brand owners will really bother with defensively registering their brand names in small gTLDs. Currently very few brand owners bother with small country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs), so why will it be any different small gTLDs? For a large number of ccTLDs brand owners ignore registering domain names, either defensively and/or to promote their products in the local community, until there is a critical mass of domain names registered.
Backing up this view is a survey by Minds + Machines, who have a vested in this process admittedly as they are proposing to apply for several gTLDs when ICANN begins taking applications.
In their survey of the domain registration behaviour of Fortune 100 companies, they found that they have not registered many of their trademarks in recently created gTLDs. In a sample of 1,043 brands, they found that they were registered in less than 30 per cent of the eight new open gTLDs created after 2001.
The survey theorised that if historical registration data is a guide, brands are unlikely to undertake many defensive domain name registrations in the proposed new gTLDs, and furthermore are unlikely to be the victims of cybersquatting.
In an earlier study by Minds + Machines, they found that the cost of enforcement of trademark rights in new gTLDs is likely to be small – on the order of $0.10 per registered trademark, per year.
Additionally, ICANN is proposing to create a Trademark Clearinghouse and Uniform Rapid Suspension procedure to protect trademarks in the new gTLD programme.
So yes, brand owners will often find they have additional costs in the new gTLDs. But the costs will be miniscule compared to the claims made by CADNA, but still significant.