The new gTLD conference organised by .NXT to be held in London from 29-31 August has been cancelled.
Organiser Kieren McCarthy announced the cancellation saying in a statement that âit is with the greatest regret that we are announcing the cancellation of the .Nxt London conference.â
The organisers are contacting all those registered to attend to explain the reasons, but the statement on the .NXT website said:
âOngoing uncertainty over the new gTLD process run by ICANN – the focus of the conference – has led to fewer sponsors and confirmed attendees than at our previous two conferences and so made the event as originally planned untenable.
âWe would like to sincerely apologize to all attendees and sponsors. We are attempting to personally contact all those that planned to attend and will do what we can to limit the impact of the cancellation.â
To take account the work that has already gone into organising the event, .NXT intends âto run some of the conference’s planned sessions online, rather than in-person, over the next few months.â More details will be provided at a later date.
The London .NXT conference to be held from 20-22 June has been postponed indefinitely “due to ongoing uncertainty over ICANN’s application process for new gTLDs”.
The organisers note that delays in ICANN’s application system mean that even if the organisation keeps to its current timeline for releasing information, there is unlikely to be sufficient time to fully understand the situation before the conference starts.
And given the main goal for this conference was to give a comprehensive overview of the new gTLD process, including: providing an understanding of this new market; assisting applicants in moving forward; learning lessons from the past; and giving everyone a significant new industry an opportunity to meet, debate and network, the organisers say they just don’t feel this is going to be possible for the 20-22 June timeframe.
For anyone that has registered for the June conference, the organisers will refund in full all hotel rooms and sponsorships. All tickets purchased will be automatically extended for admittance to the new date for the conference. Until the next conference, .NXT will also be running a series of session webinars as details of the new gTLD process finally emerge.
For more information, see the .NXT website at dot-nxt.com/london.
The recent glitch in ICANN’s TLD Application System (TAS) could have resulted in applicants being able to see competitors bids. While nobody has come forth to say they saw other bid details, it is also most likely if you had knowledge of competitor’s bids one would stay silent and possibly even use the information for commercial advantage.In a statement from Akram Atallah, ICANN’s chief operating officer, ICANN acknowledged some users may have been able to see other bid details.”As we have reported, ICANN has learned of a technical issue with the TLD application system software, or TAS, that allowed a limited number of users to view some other users’ file names and user names in certain scenarios. We temporarily shut the system down on 12 April 2012 to protect applicant data, and to look into the technical issue and fix it.”The glitch saw ICANN shut down the TAS for some hours Tuesday last and the closing date for applications extended one week until Friday, 20 April.It is possible that had a registered user of the TAS seen details of existing applicants, they could then use this information to encourage organisations, and in particular brand owners, to apply.Speaking to The Guardian, Kieren McCarthy, former ICANN staffer and currently managing the dot-nxt consultancy, said ICANN “might bear some liability if applicants lost out because of the fault: ‘it depends on what people could see. And if a competing applicant changed details at some point through the process. If someone loses their bid – most likely if the same name is applied for under a ‘community’ application and so gets precedence – then the losing party may sue and use discovery to subpoena records relating to what the problem was and whether ICANN was responsible or, worse, knew about it.'”It is also likely ICANN became aware of the problem on 19 March following a user report the organisation acknowledged in a statement.In the statement from Atallah, it also stated that ICANN “believed the issues identified in the initial and subsequent reports had been addressed, [but] on 12 April we confirmed that there was a continuing unresolved issue and we shut down the system.”ICANN “are still aggressively looking into the issue, and we will publish additional information as soon as it can be confirmed.”What happens if competitors of applicants gained information to their benefit, and detriment of organisations already applying, is unsure.
The third .NXT conference will be held in London from 20 to 22 June with registrations now open with early bird rates now available for Â£399 until 12 April.
The conference will be held immediately preceding the ICANN meeting in Prague, which will be held from 24 to 29 June.
Some of the topics to be covered include batching, current reviews, legal opportunities and risks, the Registrar Accreditation Agreement, lessons from a CEO on running a TLD, privacy laws, laws and threats, the Internet Governance Forum, the importance of registrars in setting up a new TLD, SOPA and more.
More information including a preliminary agenda is available from the .NXT website at dot-nxt.com/london.
ICANN has no intention to delay or limit its rollout of the programme to introduce new generic Top Level Domains, the ICANN Chair Steve Crocker told .NXT recently.ICANN is due to begin taking applications on 12 January for a three month period and has been under a sustained but belated attack from a consortium of marketers and advertisers, largely US-based, along with a number of US politicians, all echoing the same complaints mostly revolving around trademark and brand protection issues.According to the .NXT report, Crocker admitted ICANN’s board will hold a special meeting in the “first week of January and that the meeting’s focus will be the launch of the new gTLD programme the following week. But that meeting will not consider either a delay or a limited rollout, he stated.”Support to continue the plan to begin accepting TLD applications also came from regular ICANN critic Milton Mueller who wrote on the Internet Governance blog that “this long overdue implementation is the result of an open process that began in 2006. It would, in fact, be more realistic to say that the decision has been in the works 15 years; i.e., since early 1997. That is when demand for new top-level domain names, and the need for other policy decisions regarding the coordination of the domain name system, made it clear that a new institutional framework had to be created.”Mueller believes the “result has been far from perfect, but human institutions never are.” He continues “Over the past 15 years, every stakeholder with a serious interest in the issue of top level domains has had multiple opportunities to make their voice heard and to shape the policy. The resulting new gTLD policy reflects that diversity and complexity. From our point of view, it is too regulatory, too costly, and makes too many concessions to content regulators and trademark holders. But delay is only going to make it worse. Stopping now disrupts the compromises that came out of the process which enabled movement forward after a long period of stagnation and artificial scarcity.”Commenting on those who have belatedly come to the party demanding the new TLD programme be stopped or delayed, Mueller writes “Now there is a cynical, illegitimate last-second push by a few corporate interests in the United States to derail that process. The arguments put forward by these interests are not new; they are the same anti-new TLD arguments that have been made since 1997, and the concerns expressed are all addressed in one way or another by the policies ICANN has developed. What is new is that U.S. corporate trademark interests are openly admitting that their participation in the ICANN process has been in bad faith all along. Despite the multiple concessions and numerous re-dos that these interests managed to extract over the past 6 years, they are now demanding that everything grind to a halt because they didn’t get exactly what they demanded, as if no other interests and concerns mattered and no other stakeholders exist. What they wanted, in fact, was simply to freeze the status quo of 1996 into place forever, so that there would be no new competition, no new entrepreneurial opportunities, no linguistic diversification, nothing that would have the potential to cause them any problems.””That group’s demands must be rebuffed, unambiguously and finally. ICANN must start implementing the new TLD program on January 12 as scheduled. It must keep its promise to those who participated in its processes in good faith.”Mueller credits the US Commerce Department for not caving “in to the cynical corporate obstructionism.””If ICANN blinks, if it deviates from or delays its agreed and hard-fought policy in the slightest way, the coup d’etat succeeds. Everyone in the world then concludes that a few corporate interests in the United States hold veto power over the policies of the Internet’s domain name system. Imagine the centrifugal forces that are unleashed as a result. Imagine the impact in Russia, China, Brazil, India, South Africa, and even the EU, when they are told in no uncertain terms that ICANN’s policy making is hostage to the whims of a few well-placed, narrowly focused U.S. business interests; that they can invest thousands of person-hours and resources to working in that framework only to see the rug pulled out from under them by a campaign by the ANA and an editorial by the New York Times. The entire institutional infrastructure we have spent 15 years trying to build will be drained of its life.”
A representative of the Young Men’s Christian Association of the United States of America (YMCA) and Esther Dyson will appear before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation a full committee hearing on ICANN’s expansion of top level domains today (Thursday).Others who will be appearing include ICANN’s Kurt Pritz, Fiona Alexander from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Dan Jaffe from the Association of National Advertisers and the Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight.While it is predictable that Jaffe will rant against the introduction of new gTLDs, it is to be hoped the committee will ask why the organisation has only belatedly come to the party in opposing new gTLDs.The proposal for new gTLDs has been around since the mid-2000s and the ANA has even submitted comments on the proposal around 2008. Something Robert Liodice, the organisation’s president and CEO, forgot when writing his ill-informed letter to ICANN’s CEO and president in August 2011. Embarrassingly for the ANA and Liodice, Beckstrom refuted many of the issues noted in their letter and outlined how comments including the ANA’s had been taken into account when formulating new gTLD policy.Esther Dyson is an oddity. She was ICANN’s inaugural chair and has become a vocal opponent of new gTLDs, in an article she wrote for the Project Syndicate in August that new gTLDs do not “actually create any new value.””The value is in people’s heads – in the meanings of the words and the brand associations – not in the expanded namespace. In fact, the new approach carves up the namespace: the value formerly associated with Apple could now be divided into Apple.computers, apple.phone, ipod.apple, and so on.”Dyson believes “this sounds confusing [and] that is because it is.”Possibly, on the face of it, strangest appearance will be from Angela Williams, the General Counsel of the YMCA in the US. Kieren McCarthy on his dotNXT blog has dug a little deeper. McCarthy notes that the reason they are appearing is solely because of the intellectual property lobby.”The YMCA turned up for the first time at an ICANN meeting at the most recent meeting in Dakar just over a month ago,” wrote McCarthy. “Incredibly its representative, Michael Carson, immediately became the person in charge of both communication and membership for the newly formed Not-for-Profit Operational Concerns Constituency (NPOC).””Michael’s sudden elevation is thanks to the NPOC’s chair, Debra Hughes. Debra represents the Red Cross but is viewed by some in the ICANN constituency she represents – the non-commercial stakeholders group – as a Trojan Horse for intellectual property interests.”
With ICANN approving the Applicant Guidebook for new generic Top Level Domains and the window for applications opening on 12 January, the second .NXT conference in San Francisco in late August is focussing on giving potential applicants, registries and consultants the very latest information on the process and prepare for launch.The conference will be held Wednesday to Friday, 24-26 August at the San Francisco InterContinental.A full conference pass includes all sessions, exhibit hall access and lunches. It is also anticipated there will be great networking opportunities with hundreds of internet professionals and education to take your career to the next level.One of the key speakers is Chris Disspain, CEO of auDA, the .AU policy and regulatory body, member of the Internet Governance Forum’s main decision-making body, the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) and as of the last ICANN meeting held in Singapore in June is now an ICANN Board member. Disspain will steer both the opening and closing sessions of the conference, pulling out critical details about the internet’s expansion from a series of experts, as well as summarising the outcomes of the conference itself on the last day.Other confirmed speakers include Shawn Gunnarson (Kirton & McConkie), Markus Kummer (ISOC), John Matson (Architelos), Rob Hall (Momentous.com) and Monte Cahn (co-founder and President of Right of the Dot).Registration costs $695. For more information and to register, go to dot-nxt.com.