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Neustar Analysis Shows ICANN Mitigation Plan Overstates Risk Of Harmful Domain-Name Collision

Neustar, Inc. (NYSE:NSR) today filed comments with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) opposing its proposal to delay the launch of hundreds of new generic top-level domains (TLDs). Neustar stated that its evaluation of existing data demonstrates that the inclusion of numerous proposed TLDs in an “uncalculated risk” category is unwarranted. The company believes that the risks can be calculated, and mitigated, and suggests a means for doing so.

ICANN proposed delaying the new TLDs to re-examine concerns that the new names could cause domain name “collision,” or confusion with queries for existing domain names. ICANN based its proposal on a study it commissioned that designated two TLDs as being at “high risk” for collision, about 1,000 TLDs as “low risk” and about 150 TLDs as having an “uncalculated risk” of collision.

In its comments, Neustar analyzed the same data used in the ICANN-commissioned study and added three new important factors to propose a more accurate methodology to quantify the risk of harm associated with domain-name collision risk for every applied-for TLD, eliminating the need for the “uncalculated risk” category. Using its proposed methodology, Neustar found that only three TLDs —.home, .corp and .mail— stand out as having the potential to cause considerably higher collision risk to the domain name system than other proposed TLDs. Applied-for TLDs currently included in the “uncalculated risk” category should be moved to the “low risk” category, according to Neustar’s analysis.

“From this classification, registry operators, ICANN and the larger Internet community can develop focused and tailored approaches to further reduce both the likelihood and, more importantly, the consequences arising from domain name collision,” Neustar’s report states. The report also provides specific recommendations for mitigating the potential consequences of collision.

The following statement can be attributed to Neustar Deputy General Counsel Becky Burr:

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