Who and What is ICANN?
Posted by Jennifer Wolfe on 27th February 2013 in 360 Blog

ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers) is the non-profit organization that was formed to run the internet. Its mission to operate a safe and fair internet environment for all runs in the very fabric of our lives and yet very few marketing and business leaders understand the scope and nature of ICANN or how what it’s doing will change everything. ICANN’s purpose is to serve as a not-for-profit corporation that sets policy governing the world wide web based upon input and consensus from representatives from around the planet categorized into various constituency groups. It’s a complex organization. The organization has input from governments, registries and registrars (the companies that are the backbone of the internet) as well as business and user constituency groups.

There are three meetings a year around the globe and it’s free to register (though travel costs can add up). Fortunately or unfortunately, the participants are mostly trademark lawyers and registries and registrars and thus debate is often limited to those points of view . But that may change as the internet continues to evolve and expand with gTLDs and other expansion initiatives. I encourage more brand TLDs and their digital and marketing leaders to get involved, understand how the organization works and participate. Get involved not just from a brand protection standpoint, but because what happens on the internet is a critical element to your business and marketing strategy at all levels of you organization. Ever have the internet go down at your company for an hour or even a few minutes? It likely paralyzes your organization. While brand protection is critical and should remain an important budgeted investment, you may want some others in your company to understand how what happens at ICANN impacts your business’ future. When many marketing people believe Google runs the internet, it might be time to get marketing and digital strategists involved in a meaningful way. The next meeting is in Beijing, China the week of April 7th. The summer meeting is mid-July in Durban, South Africa.