We do not agree with the ICANN program of allocating new (generic) gTLD.  Their claim that the “expansion of the generic top-level domain (gTLD) space will allow for a greater degree of innovation and choice. ” is, in our view in a word, nonsense.

An existing brand will already have their BRAND plus .COM, .NET and .ORG gTLD. The innovation and choice has already settled at that second level.

A small startup won’t be able to afford to run or own a .BRAND gTLD but must make do with the existing  .COM and other gTLD or ccTLD space. You would be a moron to come up with a great new name and go ahead with your branding without getting the  .COM even if ICANN go ahead with their plans. Your ability to spend a vast amount of money and get a new gTLD isn’t going to make the fact that if you don’t have the .COM then you are still doomed to try a reverse domain name hijack or throw lots of money at the existing .COM owner to grab that too. So much for your choice.

“Innvovation” and “choice” is an application layer problem.  It is not a network problem. ICANN need to go back to school with a wall chart of the ISO 7-layer model if they think that semantically overloading the DNS is a way to “Innovation” and “choice”.

For the past 10 years of the ICANN existence there are basically two problems that ICANN should be focusing on with all their hearts, minds and our money and that is the exhaustion of the IPv4 address space (i.e. IPv6) and the security of the DNS infrastructure (i.e. DNSSEC). Given IPv4 has started to exhaust but many ISP are only in beta programs for IPv6 then we’ll leave you to make a call as to how successful that has been.

We, the existing domain name owners, all pay the ICANN money as a levy on our gTLD domain names that we buy, so we all have a right to complain about what they are doing. Like many domain name owners  we’ve accumulated the main top level domains for our own company, Open Mutual Limited, but being a small company we have ignored the ccTLD and the more esoteric gTLD. With the new ICANN plans we’ll be looking at potentially many hundreds of new gTLD which will segment the domain name space into a vast number of silos and the further out you go from the traditional .COM then these new gTLD seem to get progressively more expensive to buy (if existing .info, .biz or .xxx are anything to go by).

If we wanted to semantically overload our domain names for application reasons then we do this at the 3rd level i.e. Our customers would always go to the existing domain name and then at an application level we would route them to the 3rd level domain and in all probability this would be done behind the scenes without the customer even knowing this domain name existed.

At a company level we would not be able to afford a new gTLD of http://openmutual.idea/ or http://idea.openmutual/and neither would 99.9% of the rest of the world and neither would this be the focus of any startups unless those startups were just in the business of allocating domain names. I fail to see where the innovation and choice is in filling out the ICANN forms to be just another registry for just another gTLD.