If your company has an online presence, you’re probably familiar with ICANN — the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — the group that oversees Internet domain names. ICANN has announced a plan to dramatically increase the number of generic top-level domain names. (That’s the part to the right of the dot, like .com, .net, or .org.) But in a letter to ICANN sent last Friday, the FTC has raised concerns that expanding too rapidly could leave consumers more vulnerable to online fraud and undermine law enforcers’ ability to track down scammers.
The FTC is concerned about how easy it would be for con artists to use tricks like misspelled domain names and copycat websites to defraud consumers. ICANN’s expansion plans are slated to take effect on January 12, 2012. But to ensure that consumer protection isn’t compromised, the FTC has urged ICANN to:
- implement the new domain name program as a pilot and substantially reduce the number of new names introduced in the first round;
- strengthen its compliance program;
- develop a new program to monitor consumer issues;
- assess the risk of consumer harm as part of the evaluation and approval process; and
- improve the accuracy of Whois data.
Read the letter to find out more.