ICANN has really dropped the ball on new TLDs. Folks like Tim Berners-Lee were explicitly against new top level domains. The W3 even wrote a position paper New Top Level Domains Considered Harmful. They used the examples of .xxx and .mobi, but the reasoning applied to all new TLDs.
ICANN hand-picked economists to examine the costs and benefits, and their own experts could not come up with anything close to definitive as to whether the benefits exceeded the costs. ICANN is supposed to act in the public interest, and only approve policies where the net benefit (i.e. benefits MINUS costs) are positive. ICANN doesn't even know the *sign* (i.e. positive or negative) of this policy change's impact, let alone know the magnitude. Their pathetic reports didn't even attempt to put a monetary figure on the costs vs. the benefits, i.e. are we talking about millions of dollars of benefits, billions, etc? However, many individuals and companies commented in each of the relevant comment periods pointing out how there would be grave consequences, as there would be huge costs associated with such a change. As is typical, ICANN ignored these concerns, attempting to win a war of attrition, to "tire out" opponents.
Fortunately, the US Department of Commerce / NTIA may not renew its contract with ICANN. There is a pending Notice of Inquiry regarding the renewal. I would encourage people to send comments, to voice their concerns about the bad policymaking from ICANN.
ICANN is also about to renew the .NET agreement with VeriSign despite numerous comments in opposition. VeriSign will be allowed to continue to raise prices by 10% per year, despite falling technology costs, and without facing a competitive tender process (which would certainly result in much lower prices for consumers). The US Department of Justice should investigate both ICANN and VeriSign for anti-trust violations, as consumers are being harmed by these no-bid contracts. Toll-free numbers costs less than $1.50 per year at the wholesale level, yet .com/net/org fees are above $7/yr, due to lack of regular competitive tender processes.
Why has ICANN been consistently making decisions against the public interest? The reason is obvious -- it has been captured by the registries and registrars, who only care about selling more and more domain names, even if they are not needed (i.e. "defensive registrations"). They don't care about confusing users or making it harder to navigate the internet.