German Internet Body Asks ICANN to Declare New gTLDs Status

Eco, the German ISP and internet industry association, has written to ICANN questioning the new gTLD process due to questions arising from members and German business on the same day ICANN has posted a video Applicant Guidebook Update.In their letter, eco support the introduction of new gTLDs, but ask a number of questions on the process. In the letter last week, the organisation asked:

  • if there is any possibility ICANN may call off or delay the announced next application round to 2010 or later for any reason
  • will there be any limitations in the numbers of delegated TLDs in the first round be limited, and if so, what is the criteria for this limitation
  • can companies apply for their own .company TLD in the upcoming round as long as they fulfil the application criteria and no objections or competing applications are filed
  • from ICANN’s point of view, are there any arguments against the delegation of any such company TLDs.

The letter asks reasonable questions that will surely be in the spotlight at the upcoming ICANN meeting in Mexico City in early March. And it asks direct questions of ICANN to give those interested in new gTLDs confidence or otherwise of where the process is going.Eco state they have received inquiries from potential applicants for company TLDs in Germany who are uncertain about the parameters that have been announced in the Draft Applicant Guidebook, and questions that eco believe ICANN is only able to answer authoritatively.One of the German organisations interested in the new gTLD process is dotBERLIN, who have been planning for the introduction of new TLDs since 2004. DotBERLIN is one of the organisations set to be adversely affected by any new delay in the application process.”The first question on the potential breakdown or indefinite adjournment of the introduction of new TLDs is of high relevance to many parties in Germany, which include the national and many city governments, authorities and businesses. We are faced with this question every day and since 2007 we can only answer with a shrug. At this stage ICANN needs to give a definite Yes or No answer to maintain its credibility,” says Dirk Krischenowski, founder and CEO of dotBERLIN.Eco also noted the ongoing delays in the process are causing problems for businesses wishing to build in the costs of a company TLD into their business plans and budgets.The letter was sent on the same day ICANN posted an Applicant Guidebook video update, with comments by Paul Twomey, Kurt Pritz and Doug Brent. In this video, no timeframes for new gTLDs are given, but there are strong indications the consultation process has possibly several further rounds, and most definitely at least one, to go. This means the policy development process for the new gTLDs could go way beyond the current proposal of the introduction of new gTLDs in 2010.In the video Paul Towmey addresses the concerns raised in the comments period following the first draft of the Applicant Guidebook. Twomey notes brand protection issues, the concerns around the introduction of new gTLDs, DNSSEC, IDNs and the scale of these implementation changes and finally, that the introduction of new gTLDs will make it more difficult to manage malware, phishing, pharming and related issues that already exist.Taking into account the issues raised by bodies such as CADNA and some trademark holders who are vociferously campaigning against the introduction of new gTLDs, Towmey says the potential confusion and increase in malicious behaviour that might emerge from the introduction of new gTLDs should be thought of “in a more creative way”.Twomey says it might be a time to review some of the contractual frameworks with registries and registrars, and this might help address some of the concerns in areas such as malware and malicious behaviour.From Twomey’s comments, it seems to be that while the concerns of CADNA and other trademark holders will be considered, but there is no way the process will be stopped.The letter from Harald Summa, CEO of eco, to Paul Twomey is available on the ICANN website at icann.org/correspondence/summa-to-tomey-04feb09-en.pdf.The Applicant Guidebook Update video is available from the ICANN website at icann.org/video/More information on dotBERLIN is available from dotberlin.de/en/

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