Tag Archives: DotConnectAfrica

ICANN Finally Able To Delegate .AFRICA

ICANN has finally been able to delegate the .africa new gTLD to ZA Central Registry following the rejection of a request for a preliminary injunction brought in a Los Angeles court by rival applicant DotConnectAfrica. The injunction was sought to prevent ICANN delegating the new gTLD.

The ZACR application was supported by over 75% of African countries, well above the ICANN requirement of the 60% support needed. In addition, the ZACR bid was endorsed by the African Union Commission.

“The California Superior Court has ruled that a ‘covenant not to sue’ found in the .africa domain application likely bars claims by applicant DotConnectAfrica Trust against ICANN for alleged fraud and unfair business practices,” reported Bloomberg BNA. “The court rejected DCA Trust’s bid to stop ICANN from granting competing applicant ZA Central Registry the rights to .africa until the case is resolved.”

It was the second time a judge had ruled in favour of ICANN to allow the delegation of a new gTLD and “uphold an important piece of the legal framework underlying ICANN’s expansion of the domain name space. Under the covenant, internet domain applicants agree not to challenge ICANN decisions in court. They instead must rely on ICANN’s accountability mechanisms, such as the reconsideration and independent review processes.”

ICANN had previously rejected the DCA bid due to, in part, a lack of support from African countries. But it may not be the end as DCA has been reluctant to step down from the fight even when repeated decisions going against them with the court case ongoing for around one year.


Daily Wrap: .COM/.NET Trending Keywords; Istanbul gTLDs Go Live And Judge Gets It Wrong In .AFRICA

Dot Istanbul logoGlobal news items certainly impact on the trending keywords for .com and .net domains. For April Prince, Panama and Czechia both features in the .com list of trending keywords according to a post on the Verisign blog. But not so for .net.

The top trending keywords for .com in April were bot, guru, gram, prince, vibe, listings, rewards, panama, czechia and items. For .net they were loans, valley, prof, howto, guru, come, hotels, mobile, tshirt and fine.

The .ist and .istanbul gTLDs General Availability went live on 10 May and are available to anyone anywhere.

Available domains will be allocated on a “first-come, first-served” basis subject to the Registry Policies, ICANN requirements and the law and regulations of Turkey.

And according to a report in Domain Incite, the “ZA Central Registry has told the judge in DotConnectAfrica’s lawsuit against ICANN that the preliminary injunction he granted DCA recently was based on a misunderstanding.”

According to the report, ZACR claim the judge’s ruling was “predicated upon a key factual error”, and it is what Domain Incite has previously written about.

“The judge thinks DCA originally passed the Geographic Names Review of its Initial Evaluation for .africa, and that ICANN later failed it anyway.

“In fact, DCA never passed the GNR, and the document the judge cites in his ruling is actually ZACR’s Initial Evaluation report.”

Daily Update: ICANN’s .AFRICA Delegation Problems Continue; .KIDS Isn’t A Community and Chinese Perspective of Domain Disputes

DotConnectAfrica LogoThey won’t give up. They have little support within Africa, yet DotConnectAfrica (DCA) has not given up hope they will win the rights to operate the .africa gTLD.

In the latest instalment, a Californian court has granted a Preliminary Injunction for DCA in a case against ICANN and the ZA Central Registry. What it means is they will be able to continue litigation over the gTLD application that has already been rejected twice.

“District judge Gary Klausner ruled yesterday that the litigation waiver all applicants had to sign when they applied may be unenforceable,” reported Domain Incite.

“‘The Court finds substantial questions as to the Release, weighing toward its unenforceability,’ he wrote.”

“California law says that such waivers cannot stop people being sued for fraud, and fraud is what DCA is alleging.”

“Combined with previous revelations in the .africa case – where ICANN’s staff were shown to have unduly influenced the process, covered up the fact and then denied having done so – the decision represents yet another mark against the nonprofit which hopes to take over the task of allocating all internet names and numbers from the US government later this year,” reported The Register in another report.

More details are available in both reports. But what it means is that DCA has at least some hope of gaining the rights to operate the gTLD.

And on another gTLD application, this time for .kids, the “DotKids Foundation has comprehensively lost is .kids Community Priority Evaluation,” reports Domain Incite.

“The company’s CPE results came out at the weekend, showing a score of 6 out of the 16 available points, a long way short of the 14-point passing score.”

“Like other ‘community’ new gTLD bids before it, .kids failed because the Economist Intelligence Unit panel decided that the application was an attempt to create a community rather than represent an existing one.”

And ever wondered about the Chinese perspective on domain name disputes? If so, Lung Tin Intellectual Property Agent may have come to save you! They’ve published on Lexology “What Do You Need to Know About Domain Name Disputes? from the Chinese Perspective”.

ICANN Temporarily Stopped from Delegating .AFRICA Pending Federal Court Hearing on 4 April

DotConnectAfrica LogoThe Court in the DotConnectAfrica Trust (DCA) v. ICANN matter granted DCA’s request for an emergency order (aka Temporary Restraining Order or TRO).

The order issued by a United States Federal District Court located in Los Angeles directed ICANN to not “issue” the .AFRICA top level domain until following a ruling on the hearing to be held on the matter on 4 April 2016.

DCA has asked the Court to order ICANN not to delegate .AFRICA until its lawsuit is resolved in its entirety. In doing so, DCA asked for an emergency order to stop ICANN for a short period of time until the Court could fully evaluate whether stopping the delegation of .AFRICA during the pendency of the lawsuit is appropriate.

DCA has already presented its facts in writing to the Court, and ICANN will do so on 14 March 2016. The parties will present oral arguments to the Court on 4 April 2016, after which the Court will make a decision about whether or not ICANN can proceed to delegation, even though the lawsuit is still proceeding.

In its temporary order, the Court did not make a ruling as to the “merits” of DCA’s claims but ruled specifically on the “irreparable harm” standard. In taking the step of temporarily preserving the status quo, the Court considered that there is only one .AFRICA, and if ICANN delegates it to some other entity, DCA would not be able to get use of the TLD if DCA won the lawsuit. ICANN has not had the chance to present facts to show why delegation at this point is appropriate. ICANN will have that chance in the next few weeks.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:

ICANN to Resume Evaluation of DotConnectAfrica Trust Application for .AFRICA

DotConnectAfrica LogoICANN today (16/7) announced it will resume evaluation of DotConnectAfrica Trust’s (DCA’s) application for the .AFRICA new generic top-level domain.

ICANN‘s Board of Directors convened a special meeting on 16 July 2015 to quickly address an independent review panel’s declaration that held in favor of DotConnectAfrica Trust regarding certain claims about its .AFRICA top-level domain application. (read more). During the meeting, the Board resolved to:

  • Continue to refrain from delegating the .AFRICA gTLD.
  • Permit DCA’s application to proceed through the remainder of the new gTLD application process.
  • Reimburse DCA for certain costs related to the independent review process.

As such, the Board has directed staff to take all steps necessary to resume the evaluation of DCA’s application for .AFRICA and to ensure that such evaluation proceeds in accordance with the established process(es) as quickly as possible.

“I want to thank the panel for their efforts and careful deliberation of this matter,” said Steve Crocker, ICANN‘s Chairman of the Board. “Though these proceedings have been lengthy and delayed the launch of the .AFRICA top-level domain, the independent review process is an integral part of ICANN‘s community-developed accountability mechanisms, which are fundamental safeguards in ensuring that ICANN‘s bottom-up, multistakeholder model remains effective.”

Dr. Crocker further noted, “Our commitment to ICANN‘s African stakeholders remains strong. As this advances to final resolution, we will assist in moving this process forward as rapidly as possible and provide all parties with the certainties they are looking for and deserve.”

The next step in the process for DCA is to complete Initial Evaluation, a phase of the New gTLD Program in which multiple independent panels, including a panel dedicated to geographic names, review an application to ensure it meets the requirements in the Applicant Guidebook.

With respect to the Governmental Advisory Committee‘s (GAC‘s) consensus advice in the Beijing Communiqué that DCA’s application for .AFRICA should not proceed, the Board will ask the GAC if it wishes to refine that advice and/or provide the board with further information regarding that advice and/or otherwise address the concerns raised in the Declaration.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:

Independent Review Panel Finds in Favor of DCA Trust – Makes Recommendation to ICANN’s Board to Resume Evaluation of DCA’s Application

ICANN logoA three-member panel convened to review DotConnectAfrica Trust’s (DCA’s) request for Independent Review issued its final declaration, late yesterday. The 63-page IRP declaration, which is now published on the ICANN website [PDF, 506 KB], held in favor of DCA and recommended that ICANN send DCA Trust’s application for .AFRICA back into evaluation.

The panel cited two main concerns relating to the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee‘s (GAC‘s) advice on DCA’s application: (1) the panel was concerned that the GAC did not include, and that ICANN did not request, a rationale on the GAC‘s advice; and (2) the panel expressed concern that ICANN took action on the GAC‘s advice without conducting diligence on the level of transparency and the manner in which the advice was developed by the GAC.

The panel found that ICANN‘s conduct was inconsistent with the ICANN Articles and Bylaws because of certain actions and inactions of the ICANN Board.

“Consistent with ICANN‘s Bylaws, ICANN will carefully review the panels declaration and the ICANN Board will be asked to consider the matter at its next meeting on 28 July 2015,” said John Jeffrey, ICANN‘s General Counsel and Secretary.

Although ICANN has already entered into an agreement with ZA Central Registry for the .AFRICA string, the panel has recommended that ICANN continue to refrain from delegating the .AFRICA gTLD, at this time. The panel ordered ICANN to pay the administrative and panel fees. The panel also indicated that both parties are responsible for their own attorney’s fees and expenses.

The IRP is one of the accountability review processes set out in the ICANN Bylaws. For an understanding of how ICANN‘s accountability review processes work, including the IRP, please view this infographic.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:

DotConnectAfrica Suffers Final Blow In Bid For .AFRICA

The .africa bid by ZA Central Registry received a boost this week when a controversial rival application from DotConnectAfrica (DCA) was rejected by the Governmental Advisory Committee, with DCA being invited to withdraw its application, reports MyBroadband.co.za.The bid by DCA was always seen as being unlikely to succeed for several reasons, one of the main ones being it did not have the key support of African countries and the African Union.The ZACR bid to manage .africa had the support of over 40 of the 54 countries African countries.”Some 75% of African countries have now endorsed the ZACR bid for .africa, well above the ICANN requirement of 60% support needed. In addition, the ZACR bid is endorsed by the African Union Commission,” says ZACR Africa Liaison, Koffi Fabrice Djossou, in a statement reported in BizCommunity.”The ICT ministers meeting was sufficiently satisfied that the ZACR, the most diverse bidding entity, has the required technical, administrative and financial know-how to make a success of Africa’s proposed new home on the web,” added Djossou.gTLD was always seen as the frontrunner, especially after it was has selected by the African Union as its preferred registry operator to administer the domain.With DCA’s bid to manage .africa rejected, it now means ZACR is now the only remaining applicant for the pan-African gTLD.

Domain Incite Gets Kicking From “Nutty” DotConnectAfrica

DotConnectAfrica logoAfter publishing a an article describing DotConnectAfrica’s campaign for the .africa gTLD as “unhinged” and “nutty”, the gTLD applicant fired back, shooting themselves in both feet with a lengthy riposte that Domain Incite republished in full with comments.

The original article on 22 February noted that “DotConnectAfrica’s increasingly unhinged campaign for the .africa gTLD has seen it take the unusual step of complaining to the US Congress about ‘wholesale illegality’ in the contest.”

“The company also appears to be running an astroturf campaign on Twitter and bogus blogs to advance its case.

“In a rambling nine-page letter to the chairs of the House and Senate telecommunications committees this week, DCA chief Sophia Bekele outlines a series of ‘corruption’ claims against rival .africa applicant UniForum.”

The article goes on to outline the bizarre antics of DotConnectAfrica in their seemingly futile application for .africa, largely because the African Union “wanted an experienced, Africa-based registry operator to run the TLD, and UniForum, which runs South Africa’s .za ccTLD, was the only qualified candidate.”

So in an email to media outlets on 2 March, DotConnectAfrica sent out an open letter to try and set the record straight.

Domain Incite republished the rambling letter as requested by DotConnectAfrica, adding its own comments, saying “The nutty .africa applicant took issue with a recent post describing the company as ‘nutty’ and trying to make sense of a rambling conspiracy-laden letter it had sent to the US Congress.”

DCA complained about Domain Incite’s description of them as “nutty”, however in the reply, Domain Incite said:

  • “‘Nutty’ is a generous, whimsical way to describe the company’s recent antics, which have included:
  • nuttily wasting >$185,000 on a gTLD application that has no chance of being approved,
  • nuttily applying for the wrong gTLD (.dotafrica),
  • using fake online identities to make it appear that DCA has grass-roots support for its nutty ideas,
  • throwing around nutty allegations of ‘wholesale illegality’ without a) specifying what laws have been broken b) by whom and c) presenting any credible evidence to back up the allegations,
  • overabundant use of bold text, underlined text, colored text and font changes to distract from the fact that its nutty missives lack substance — a tactic favored by online conspiracy theorists since the dawn of the ‘net.

“In short, if you think ‘nutty’ is bad, trust me when I say it was the least antagonistic adjective I could come up with.”

Domain Incite even wonders if “DCA read the [Applicant] Guidebook” since “ICANN makes it abundantly clear throughout that it will defer to governments on geographic gTLDs [and IC ANN] won’t approve any geographic gTLDs that don’t have the support of the relevant government.” Which clearly DCA doesn’t have.

The full Domain Incite reply is available here.

DotConnectAfrica Conflict Of Interest Allegations Against ICANN Board Members Unfounded

Allegations of a conflict against ICANN board members Mike Silber and Chris Disspain by DotConnectAfrica, one of two applicants for the .africa generic Top Level Domain, has been dismissed by the ICANN Ombudsman.The allegations have led to a considerable amount of discussion on blogs, Twitter and other sites and in comments on the ICANN website in relation to the new .africa gTLDs applications. Regrettably, the Ombudsman notes much of the discussion has been intemperate.The conflict of interest relates to a policy adopted by the ICANN board in December 2011 that requires board members and other key ICANN employees to not take advantage of their position within the organisation.During the investigation the Ombudsman investigated whether there were any decisions made during the New gTLD Program Committee and ICANN board meetings that affected the complainant and the .africa applications.The Ombudsman says:
it is clearly apparent when the records are examined, that the 2 board members have not participated in any decision-making about .africa, and indeed there has been little discussion other than at a higher level about the program in general. It is in my view premature to consider whether there can even be apparent bias, because it is too remote to link the suggested connections with the very generic discussions which have taken place, and in addition, where the actual decisions about the applications are still some distance from being made.Dismissing the complaint the Ombudsman says he considers:
that no disqualifying conflict of interest, or indeed any conflict of interest at all, is present in the actions of both Chris Disspain and Mike Silber. It is likely this complaint has led to increased awareness of the possibilities of conflict of interest, which the Board will carefully consider in terms of the existing policy about conflict, when the issue arises.

DotConnectAfrica Clarifies its .AFRICA bid at EAIGF

DotConnectAfrica logo[news release] The annual East African Internet Governance Forum (EAIGF) event was held recently at the Jacaranda Hotel Nairobi. It was preceded by the Kenya IGF that was held at the same venue a fortnight ago. The meeting was attended by many delegates from East Africa sub-region and addressed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communication of Kenya, Mr. Bitange Ndemo who addressed issues concerning Internet connectivity within the East Africa region as well as the dire need for the development of Internet Content that is specific for Africa, citing that it was the only way Africa would be able to redirect the online traffic to Africa as opposed to the current situation where almost 70% of Internet content accessed is external.

This concept of African content was strongly supported by the DotConnectAfrica delegation who were roundly appreciated by the East Africa IGF Delegates for being the organization that has really put Africa on the Map both in the issues concerning the DotAfrica top level domain that it has campaigned well for over six years as well as the constant and incessant education of the African netizentry through its press releases and industry updates.

It may be recalled that DotAfrica as a project idea was largely abandoned at ICANN for nearly five years before DCA re-started the projected with renewed impetus and momentum, and re-introduced it to the African inter-governmental organizations such as the AU and UNECA for their support, to ensure that Africa does not lose this important generic top-level domain. DotAfrica today remains the re-energized effort commenced by DCA which was underpinned by a strong communications strategy to sensitize various African and global publics about the DotAfrica initiative. Many people always look forward to DCA’s important commentaries and Op-Ed pieces that are highly relevant to global Internet governance.

On matters pertaining to the .Africa Domain, Gedion Rop, DCA’s Representative noted that “DotConnectAfrica had an opportunity to clarify and defend its position as a strong and compelling applicant for the DotAfrica (.africa) top level domain” saying that “no organization was the chosen front runner” since ICANN has yet to evaluate all complete applications that have been submitted by applicants. This was to correct the misleading reports that Uniforum group, who were also present at the meeting, had firmly secured the dotAfrica gTLD.

Mr. Gedion Rop dismissed such wrong reports as an exercise in mass media manipulation with a view to misinforming the public, which is quite unethical.   DCA also sought to emphasize that the geographic string name applied for was indeed .Africa gTLD as clarified in its post reveal Press release. Contrary to the unfounded allegations that DCA did not apply for .AFRICA (dotAfrica) string, DotConnectAfrica remains a strong contender for the DotAfrica string name and actually stands the best chance of being awarded the mandate to operate the .AFRICA gTLD registry since it has adhered to, and respected all the guidelines of the new gTLD programme, in addition to accepting ICANN’s oversight of the entire process, unlike UniForum which might be penalized for wrongly attributing the rights of DotAfrica gTLD to the AU instead of ICANN in direct contravention of the new gTLD programme guidelines.

Even though the EAIGF was not well attended, the event provided a good opportunity for the participants to discuss key issues that included Africa’s position on the ITR’s and resolutions submitted to the ITU in order to weigh behind changes that need to be made on the resolutions. Efforts were also made to see how Africa’s position could be well articulated given that Africa is becoming a key player and stakeholder in global telecommunications. Countries that emerged to have a position include Rwanda.

Among other key discussions was Cyber-Security which is becoming an important and engaging issue of great concern within the East African Community. Given that CyberCrime is now on the increase, several countries have taken preliminary steps to curb this development thus forming CIRTs (Cyber Incidence and Emergency Response Teams). DCA was happy to note that most East African states had attained this and have even gone further to form the East African Consortium that would give a unified position.

Issues of Broadband connectivity were also taken as important in enabling data and content development by aiming to reduce the call termination rates by improving international connectivity via the Fiber optic trunk that would serve all the countries across the East African sub-region.

Greater youth involvement was recognized as a key development being that the first ever Rwandan IGF was held in the native language with the aim of including the rural community in the discussions. The youth representatives had asked pertinent questions regarding how the youth in the rural areas could properly contribute and brought into the mainstream of Internet development. We think that this is a good way to preserve culture and extend the frontiers of African languages; imagine saying the word Internet governance in your local language! Interesting, isn’t it?   DCA, being a proud founder of the generation.africa will always support such initiatives.