Employ Media Files Arbitration Request With ICANN Over .JOBS

The ongoing dispute between the .JOBS registry and ICANN has taken a further twist with Employ Media filing a Request for Arbitration with the International Chamber of Commerce.

In the letter from Employ Media’s lawyers Crowell and Moring, Employ Media say they still “hope that a negotiated resolution to the parties’ dispute can be achieved.”

The request to have the dispute mediated follows ICANN accusing Employ Media of being in breach of their registry agreement in February.

In their letter noting the breach, ICANN said “this breach results from Employ Media and its sponsoring organization, the Society of Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) failure to establish policies, in conformity with the defined purpose and intent of the .JOBS registry; and further may be inconsistent with the .JOBS Charter for the naming conventions within the sponsored TLD and for requirements of registration as required by Section 3.1(d)(i)(A) of the .JOBS Registry Agreement.”

Employ Media were given 30 days to get their house in order. But Employ Media hit back saying they viewed “the substance of this notice to be a surprising reversal of position and contradictory to prior decisions issued by its Board of Directors. Further, we find the claims contained in the Notice to be utterly without merit. We will continue to vigorously defend our position while we work with ICANN staff to resolve the matter at hand relying upon the language of our registry agreement. We plan to publish our formal response to ICANN at our web site located at www.goto.jobs in the near future.”

The decision by ICANN was supported by some in the employment industry.

While Employ Media and DirectEmployers Association have created many false expectations about the Dot Jobs Universe, ICANN’s strong stance is a victory for the Internet community, as well as for employers and job seekers,” said Peter Weddle, Executive Director of the International Association of Employment Web Sites.

“First, the Dot Jobs Universe was not an innovation but rather an unprecedented attempt by a registry operator to misappropriate an entire TLD for itself and its alliance partner in blatant disregard of ICANN’s rules. Fair and honest competition is welcome in the online recruitment industry, but a TLD operator must be held to the commitments it makes to the Internet community, and upon which ICANN’s approval rests. This principle is particularly important as ICANN prepares to expand the domain name space by hundreds of new TLDs. Second, Employ Media and DirectEmployers Association can no longer infringe the trademark rights of third parties by thoughtlessly launching numerous .JOBS sites with names that are confusingly similar to those of long established enterprises, many of them small businesses. Finally, the lofty promises of completely free and fully vetted job postings were simply not economically viable and could never have been fulfilled, ultimately resulting in frustration for both employers and job seekers.”

“The Coalition welcomes ICANN’s enforcement action and commends ICANN’s Legal Department and Contractual Compliance Department for conducting its review of the non-compliant actions by Employ Media, DirectEmployers Association and SHRM,” said John Bell, Chairman of the .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition.