In the last issue, we discussed issues relating to the final report of the Generic Names Supporting Organization, which recommended the introduction of new top-level domains (TLDs). At a recent meeting in Paris, the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) passed a resolution approving the expansion, although the implementation plan has yet to be finalized.

Currently, proposals for new TLDs undergo a stringent approval process and hence the number of TLDs is quite small. The new procedure will eliminate some of the barriers to establishing a new TLD, making it much easier for new TLDs to be introduced. Once the ICANN board has agreed upon the implementation plan, hundreds of new TLDs are expected to be available for choosing. While this development will create a wealth of new marketing options and provide greater variety for domain name seekers, it will also raise considerable issues for organizations seeking to protect their trade-mark rights.

The ICANN board also passed a resolution limiting the number of registrations that registrars can add and delete during the grace period. The purpose of this resolution is to curtail “domain tasting,” the process whereby individuals or companies register a domain, test it out to determine its value, and delete it if it does not meet certain profitability standards. Under the current regime, if the domain is deleted within the five-day “addgrace period,” the cost of the domain is refunded. The new process will curtail the number of deletions for which money is refundable, and may lead to less domains being snapped up for pay-per-click purposes.