The organization is concerned that consumers will be confused.
ICANN has published a Warning to consumers on alt-root domain names.
Alt-root domains are domain names that are not compatible with the existing Domain Name System (DNS). They require special software or browsers to be solved.
Attempts to create top-level domains that rival the primary DNS have been around for decades. The latest iterations are blockchain-based domains such as Handshake and Unstoppable Domains.
ICANN manages the process of adding “real” top-level domains to the DNS.
I CAN warns that many consumers might not understand these alt-root domains and how they work. While blockchain fans understand what they are doing when they create a domain in these systems, some domain registrars are now selling alt-root domains directly to the public alongside regular top-level domains.
I suspect that blockchain enthusiasts will retort that ICANN is simply trying to dissuade people from using the competition. But ICANN has reason to be concerned about consumer confusion. The typical consumer probably does not understand exactly what they are getting. It also extends beyond alt-root domains. I’m sure many consumers were surprised to learn that the third level domains they purchased from registrars that looked like country code domains were anything but.