Is ICANN incompetent? Advertisers irked over botched domain-application process

is icann incompetent advertisers irked over botched domain application processLooks like the US House of Representatives might’ve been right when it wanted the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to delay the rollout of new top-level domains. The system for accepting applications from companies was pulled offline without warning on April 12, and a planned April 30 announcement of companies that had applied for new TLDs has been postponed, following the discovery that a system error had resulted in confidential information about applicants being accidentally shared with other companies.

The process would have opened up the top-level domain naming process from generic .com, .net, and similar terms to potentially anything that met the conditions as named in the application process  — like .apple, .coke, .nike, and so on. It already turned controversial when the application window opened on January 12; US lawmakers, aware of potential problems and complaints that might arise, suggested postponing the application period to fine-tune the process last December. This surprise early closure for applications and postponement of the announcing of interested parties has, unsurprisingly, hardly dampened concerns — particularly because no-one outside of ICANN is quite sure what actually happened, or why.

The Association of National Advertisers has called upon CEO and President of ICANN Rod Beckstrom to hire an independent, third-party investigator to look into what went wrong, while also asking the US Commerce Department to get involved. “Problems can happen to everybody, but [ICANN] is a group that is supposed to be taking care of some of the key functions of the Internet,” says ANA Executive Vice President Dan Jaffe, adding “The system was supposed to be secret. It’s particularly important we get this right from the outset.”

For its part, ICANN is declining to reveal how many applicants were affected by the system error, and downplaying the issue. “We know what caused the issue, and we’re correcting it,” said ICANN chief security officer Jeff Moss in an interview released by the organization last week.

With the application process remaining closed, and advertisers and their clients increasingly concerned about the lack of communication and explanation around the subject, it’s looking like it may be more of a wait for your dream .awesome domain than we all initially hoped… Maybe we should just get used to .com for awhile, just in case.

Emerging Tech

NASA’s ‘space wheat’ is helping earthbound farmers grow crops quicker

Could NASA technology for growing plants on other planets help farmers improve crop yield here on Earth? According to researchers in Australia and the U.K., the answer is a resounding yes.

Common Kindle Fire problems, and how to fix them

Is your Amazon tablet giving you grief? Is it refusing to behave the way you expect? Take a deep breath -- everything will be fine. Here are some widely reported Kindle Fire problems and a few possible solutions to go with them.

15 tips for keeping your vault-dwellers alive in ‘Fallout Shelter’

The wasteland can be an unfriendly place, if you don't know what you're doing. Here are 15 tips that will help your vault thrive in Fallout Shelter, including information on questing.

Windows Update not working after October 2018 patch? Here’s how to fix it

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you, step by step.

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Social Media

‘Superwoman’ YouTuber Lilly Singh taking a break for her mental health

Claiming to be "mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted," popular YouTuber Lilly Singh has told her millions of fans she's taking a break from making videos in order to recuperate.
Smart Home

Amazon has a huge team dedicated to enhancing Alexa and Echo

An Amazon executive on Tuesday, November 13 revealed the huge size of the team that's tasked with developing the Echo, the company's smart speaker, and Alexa, the digital assistant that powers it.

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Social Media

Going incognito: Here's how to appear offline on Facebook

How do you make sure your friends and family can't see if you're on Facebook, even if you are? Here, we'll show you how to turn off your active status on three different platforms, so you can browse Facebook without anyone knowing.

Our 10 favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.

Aussies hope free Wi-Fi on their beaches will lead to fewer drownings

Lifeguards in Australia have hit on an idea to use Wi-Fi to make the nation's beaches safer. It's a simple but clever idea that plays on our need to stay connected around the clock.

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.
Smart Home

Amazon will bring a 7-foot-tall Christmas tree to your doorstep starting today

If you have fond memories of going out with your family and searching for the perfect Christmas tree, well, Amazon wants to create its own holiday tradition. Starting today, you can order a real, 7-foot tree from Amazon.