The Circuit: ICANN, Research in Motion, Google Chrome


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is scheduled to begin taking applications for its new domain name program on Jan. 12.

ICANN will begin taking applications for the expanded addresses on Jan. 12, but has faced opposition from some businesses and lawmakers who say the expansion could hurt copyright holders. In the letter, Strickling — head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration — urged ICANN to “phase in” its new program to determine its effects and to take steps to address the concerns raised over companies’ needs to register defensive top-level domains. Last month, Senate and House committees called two hearings to examine the program, and advised ICANN to slow down its process.

Research in Motion: Speculation about a shake-up at Research in Motion sent its stock up seven percent Tuesday. The National Post, citing unnamed individuals, reported that the embattled company is considering appointing a single chairman — a role currently shared by the company’s co-chief executives, company founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie.

The report said that Barbara Stymiest, who joined RIM’s board in 2007, is the most likely candidate to replace Balsillie and Lazaridis as chairman of the board. RIM’s board is evaluating the company structure and is scheduled to deliver a report on the matter at the end of the month.

Google Chrome: Google is pushing its own Chrome browser down in search rankings for 60 days as the the result of a Chrome ad campaign that paid for content that bolstered search traffic — an action prohibited by the company’s own guidelines. Google said Tuesday that it agreed only to run Web ads about its Chrome browser, not to participate in any paid links advertising. At least one ad for the browser, however, appeared to be in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines, because it featured a paid-for link that had an impact on the Google Chrome download page’s search ranking.

In remarks released late Tuesday night, Google’s PR team said,“We’ve investigated and are taking manual action to demote www.google.com/chrome and lower the site’s PageRank for a period of at least 60 days. We strive to enforce Google’s webmaster guidelines consistently in order to provide better search results for users.”

Groupon shares fall below opening price: Shares of Groupon have fallen below the price of the company’s much-anticipated initial public offering in November, underscoring doubts about the daily-deals market, Bloomberg reported. On Tuesday, Groupon fell 8.6 percent to $19.27 while most of the market saw gains. The report said that the daily-deals market in general has been facing backlash from merchants who have said they’re not satisfied with the return they get from using the services.

Netflix reports streaming numbers: Streaming video company Netflix reported Wednesday that its customers watched more than two billion hours of television shows and movies in the fourth quarter of 2011. In an attempt to move on from a rocky year that included a user exodus over Netflix pricing and business decisions, the company said that renewed partnerships with CBS, Twentieth Century Fox, Lionsgate and Miramax and its upcoming original series “House of Cards” would drive the company forward in 2012.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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