Tag Archives: top level domains

ICANN: Initial Report on Universal Acceptance of IDN TLDs

ICANN logoPurpose (Brief): The Initial Report reflects the preliminary stocktaking by the WG members of policy and other considerations relating to the Universal Acceptance of IDN TLDs. The WG is now seeking public comment on its Initial Report and will closely review all submitted comments to revise and assess its prelimanary stocktaking as part of the process to report on identified issues to the ccNSO and GNSO Councils.

Public Comment Box Link: www.icann.org/en/public-comment/universal-acceptance-idn-tlds-06jan12-en.htm

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-06jan12-en.htm

NTIA Asks ICANN, Nicely, To Consider Poor, Beleaguered Trademark Holders

Various arms of the US government have been asking ICANN to reconsider and even delay the introduction of new generic Top Level Domains, however the National Telecommunications and Information Administration has been reticent to criticise the organisation and has generally offered ICANN support. Until now.While not asking ICANN to stop the introduction of new gTLDs, the NTIA’s Lawrence Strickling has written to ICANN (here and here) suggesting that as they move forward with the programme’s introduction, he urges the organisation “to consider implementing measures: (i) to minimise the perceived need for defensive registrations; (ii) to implement promptly ICANN’s existing commitments for law enforcement and consumer protection; and (iii) to ensure better education of stakeholders.”The Strickling letter seems to be saying to ICANN that while we support the introduction of new gTLDs, to stop some US marketing and advertising organisations, albeit often with a global membership, complaining please publicly at least take into account their concerns.The NTIA has obviously been receiving the same barrage of complaints that several US government departments, politicians and even ICANN has been receiving mainly relating to trademark issues from the very same organisations that virtually ignored six years of ICANN’s consultation.Expanding on the points in the letter, the NTIA says that following “recent discussions with stakeholders, it has become clear that many organisations, particularly trademark owners, believe they need to file defensive applications at the top level.” The NTIA suggests “it appears that this possibility might not have been fully appreciated during the multistakeholder process on the belief that the cost and difficulty of operating a top-level registry would constrain companies from filing defensive registrations.”The NTIA also suggests ICANN should consider “whether there is a need to phase in the introduction of new gTLDS” once ICANN has been able to assess the total number of applications.Their third point notes that “it has become apparent that some stakeholders in the United States are not clear about the new gTLD programme” and Strickling urges ICANN “to engage immediately and directly with these and other stakeholders to better educate them on the purpose and scope of the program as well as the mechanisms available to address their concerns.”One could possibly read this to say the dunces that have failed to be engaged in the development process for new gTLDs despite ICANN’s multistakeholder approach need to have their hands held and explained the process. Or in the case of the Association of National Advertisers, who submitted comments around 1998 during ICANN’s extensive consultation, conveniently forgot about the whole thing for three years until after the programme was approved, some help with their amnesia.These complaints have been pursued by the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse, who unlike of the several organisations that have recently started voicing their concerns, have been involved in the process for some years.CADNA has strong reservations about the introduction of new gTLDs, the organisation wants to work with ICANN to address the issues they see.”CADNA looks forward to working constructively with ICANN, the Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Congress to make the policy better,” said Josh Bourne, President of CADNA. “With ICANN set on moving forward with the New gTLD Programme in less than two weeks, there are certain clear, straightforward changes that could be made to the policy that will improve it for businesses and the Internet community at large.”CADNA has a number of requests for ICANN including announcing when the next round of applications for new gTLDs will be, a lessening of the burden on trademark owners and improving consumer protection, “consider adopting a pricing structure where a single applicant applying for multiple gTLDs pays a reduced rate for the subsequent gTLD applications” and allowing non-profits wanting to apply for their gTLDs to participate in the Applicant Support Programme.CADNA also says The US Congress should take much-needed action to improve the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act and for the NTIA, that if ICANN is awarded the new IANA contract following its expiration in March 2012, its structure and policy development process should also be subject to an audit.

Full Steam Ahead For New gTLDS

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.”

New York Times Joins Washington Post Urging For Delay in New TLDs

New York Times mastheadThe New York Times has joined the Washington Post in urging ICANN to rethink and delay its introduction of new Top Level Domains (TLDs) saying “a pilot program to work out problems before expanding the system” would be a better option, just as the three month application period is scheduled to open in a little over two weeks. The two editorials raised similar points.

The New York Times says “a plethora of new suffixes is just as likely to cause confusion for consumers and enable malefactors to use the new arenas for deception. Icann expects 500 to 1,000 applications in next year’s 90-day application window. Before it approves any of them, it needs to slow down and put in place better safeguards against consumer fraud.”

Raising concerns of cybersquatting, the Times says the “Web is full of sites that masquerade as legitimate companies to sell pirated goods or steal consumers’ financial information. Fraudsters avoid detection by registering their sites using proxy services and false identities. The administrators of the online address system — Icann, the registries that operate suffixes like VeriSign, and agents like GoDaddy that sell Internet addresses to the public — are doing a terrible job curbing fraud.”

The Times is also concerned that despite efforts by ICANN to combat fraud, “companies will still have to spend a lot on defense, registering domains to avoid squatting on their brands and keeping an eye out for potentially infringing Web sites across hundreds of new suffixes. And Icann’s current inability to deal with abusive domain name registrations undermines confidence in its ability to address the risks of this vast expansion.”

The Washington Post taking a similar line says “ICANN reports to no one — a decision made when the group was created during the Clinton administration to protect Internet independence. The group has made some adjustments in response to concerns, including creation of a trademark clearinghouse and a ‘rapid response’ process to allow legitimate rights holders to quickly knock out imposters. Officials have said that some nonprofits may be permitted to pay lower fees.”

The Times concludes saying the Federal Trade Commission “is rightly urging Icann to require that registries and registrars be able to verify the identity of owners of all domains that have a commercial purpose, and to impose meaningful penalties for those who break the rules. There is no pressing need to create hundreds of new suffixes next year. It would be far better for Icann to start with a pilot program to work out problems before expanding the system.”

The Washington Post concludes its editorial saying “ICANN should not approve new names until enforcement and protection issues are resolved. Even then, it should approve at most a few, to allow the marketplace to absorb and weigh the changes. ICANN would be wise to move slowly; its legitimacy and Internet efficacy are at stake.”

ICANN: Continued Operations Instrument Guidelines Available for New gTLD Applicants

ICANN logoAs part of the new gTLD program, all new gTLD applicants are required to provide a cost estimate for funding critical registry functions on an annual basis in case of registry failure.

Several community members and prospective applicants asked ICANN for further guidelines regarding the calculation of these estimated costs. After analyzing the costs provided from several potential providers who responded to the recent EBERO-RFI (Emergency Back End Registry Operator – Request for Information) (see: www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-2-14sep11-en.htm), ICANN is providing the cost guidance in the table below.

The numbers provided are based on data gleaned from the proposals received, and are for guidance only. None of the costs in the table are identical to the estimates provided by the potential providers. All applicants are expected to complete calculations according to their particular circumstances, and to provide rationale for their cost estimates commensurate with the technical, operational, and financial approach described in the application.

Also note that these are costs only for providing the five critical registry functions identified in this process. These cost guidelines are not representative of the costs needed for running all of the services associated with operating a gTLD.

Applicants should ensure that the financial instrument will cover the costs for the five critical registry functions for a period of three years using the applicant’s projections of domain registrations under management.

Continued Operations Instrument guidance:

 

Projected Number of Domains Estimated 3 Year COI (USD)
10,000 $18,000
25,000 $40,000
50,000 $80,000
100,000 $140,000
250,000 $250,000
>250,000 $300,000

Note: The minimum COI for any new gTLD should be US $18,000. The Maximum COI for any new gTLD need not be more than US $300,000.

Bank rating guidance

The financial instrument must be issued/held by a financial institution rated “A” or above (or the equivalent) by any of the following rating agencies: A.M. Best, Dominion Bond Rating Service, Egan-Jones, Fitch Ratings, Kroll Bond Rating Agency, Moody’s, Morningstar, Standard & Poors, and Japan Credit Rating Agency.

If applicant cannot access an “A” rated financial institution, but a branch or subsidiary exists in the applicant’s local jurisdiction then applicant may use any local institution with a similar or higher rating.

As a last resort applicants may use the highest-rated financial institution in their national jurisdiction, if accepted by ICANN.

Note: For any financial instruments that contemplate ICANN being a party, upon the written request of the applicant, ICANN may (but is not obligated to) execute such agreement prior to submission of the applicant’s application if the agreement is on terms acceptable to ICANN. ICANN encourages applicant to deliver a written copy of any such agreement (only if it requires ICANN’s signature) to ICANN as soon as possible to facilitate ICANN’s review. If the financial instrument requires ICANN’s signature, then the applicant will only receive 3 points for question 50 (for the instrument being “secured and in place”) if ICANN executes the agreement prior to submission of the application. ICANN will determine, in its sole discretion, whether to execute and become a party to a financial instrument.

Why is the Continued Operations Instrument important?

As registrant protection is critical, new gTLD applications are required to provide evidence that the critical registry functions will continue to be performed even if the registry operator fails. The critical functions of a registry which must be supported even if an applicant’s business and/or funding fails are: (1) DNS resolution for registered domain names; (2) operation of the Shared Registration System; (3) provision of Whois service; (4) registry data escrow deposits; and (5) maintenance of a properly signed zone in accordance with DNSSEC requirements. This provides an opportunity for existing registrants in the TLD to maintain existing services dependent on registered domain names, and creates the ability for these registrants to plan for an extended transition where necessary.

ICANN’s core values and bylaws states that preserving and enhancing the operational stability, reliability, security, and global interoperability of the Internet should guide ICANN’s decisions and actions. The Continued Operations Instrument requirements are in pursuit of this principle and as a result of the development of ICANN’s Registry Continuity Framework.

Where can I find more information?

The current model proposed by ICANN is outlined in the Applicant Guidebook newgtlds.icann.org/applicants/agb), in particular please refer to question 50 in the Evaluation Questions and Criteria set forth in Module 2, and Specification 8 of the Registry Agreement.

In April 2009, ICANN published the ICANN gTLD Registry Continuity Plan – www.icann.org/en/registries/continuity/. This document depicts a gTLD Registry Continuity Framework developed in collaboration with experienced gTLD, ccTLD registries and members of the technical community.

In May 2010 ICANN published a New Top-Level Domain Explanatory Memorandum “gTLD Registry Transition Processes Model” (RyTP) – www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/registry-transition-processes-clean-30may11-en.pdf [PDF, 747 KB]. This document further elaborates on the concept of critical functions required for maintaining Top-Level Domain services and discusses the types of transitions between one Registry Operator and another.

Links to Relevant Information:

ICANN Public Comment: New gTLD Financial Assistance Implementation Plan

ICANN logoICANN is introducing today for public comment the implementation plans for the gTLD Applicant Support Program. Among other goals, the program seeks to provide financial assistance to applicants demonstrating financial need in order to succeed as a new gTLD applicant and registry operator, and also a mission to operate in the public interest.

The public comment period starts today and ends on 10 January 2012.

That program is represented by these documents:

The program is a result of two years cooperation among the ICANN community, particularly represented by the Joint Applicant Support Working Group (JAS WG), and the ICANN Board. The foundation of the program takes into consideration several elements of the JAS WG recommendations.

Some of the highlights of the program are:

  • Assistance will include a fee reduction to a limited number of qualifying applicants from US$185.000 to US$47.000.
  • Additional forms of assistance will include time-phased evaluation fees and provision of translation services.
  • The Applicant Support Program does not relax existing criteria for a new gTLD as outlined in the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook. The Support Program has additional criteria to identify those who best demonstrate: (1) service in the public interest; (2) financial need; and (3) having at least a level of financial capabilities.
  • Support applications will be evaluated by an independents evaluation panel – Support Applicant Review Panel (SARP).
  • Support candidates will be able to submit applications as soon as the New gTLDs Program launches, 12 January 2012.
  • The support application form will be available in TAS (TLD Application System), the same system used for all New gTLD Applicants.
  • Important Notice: the Financial Assistance Program is dedicated to truly deserving new gTLD applicants. Those applications from entities that apply for financial assistant and do not meet certain threshold criteria will be disqualified from the new gTLD program.

The fee reduction has been made possible due to the designation by the ICANN Board of a US$2 million budget. This initial budget is considered seed funding. ICANN will work with the community plans to create opportunity for other parties to contribute to the fund. Details about the fundraising activities will be made available in 2012.

There are some non-financial aspects of the program already in place:

  • ICANN has made available the Applicant Support Program to facilitate cooperation among those applicants interested in establishing gTLD registry and those entities willing and able to provide assistance.
  • Recent launch of the Customer Service Center.

Information about these can be found here: newgtlds.icann.org/applicants

What’s next?

  • Review of the public comments; changes the program implementation details, as possible.
  • Final Program details and handbook posted before 12 January 2012.
  • Recruiting Support Application Review Panel (SARP).
  • Raising additional funds in partnership with the community.

The Applicant Support Program is an important aspect of the overall New gTLD program communications campaign. ICANN already started targeting developing economies with dedicated materials regarding the program. ICANN is also creating materials that will be available for community members that are asked to assist with outreach efforts.

Background:

This work started in April 2010 with the ICANN community work, mostly through the Joint Applicant Support Working Group. The group was represented by ICANN community members who have been working together on this initiative since April 2010. The JAS WG was formed following a Resolution from ICANN Board of Directors in Nairobi, on March 2010 which asked ICANN’s stakeholder community “…to develop a sustainable approach to providing support to applicants requiring assistance in applying for and operating new gTLDs.”

In the past two years, the JAS WG has shared with the community recommendations on how ICANN should develop a sustainable approach to providing support to applicants from developing economies requiring assistance in applying for and operating new gTLDs Registries under the New gTLD Program. The work culminated in the Final Report posted for comments on October 2011.

In addition to the JAS WG, ICANN Board and community have been actively providing input that helped to shape the proposed plan, particularly the Government Advisory Committee (GAC), The At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) and the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO).

During the ICANN Dakar Meeting in October 2011, the Board noted that a working group of Board members should been convened to oversee the scoping and implementation of the recommendations arising out of the JAS Report, and resolved that ICANN was “expected to commence work immediately and provide a detailed plan for consideration.” That work was undertaken with the oversight of the Board working group.

At its recent December 2011 meeting, the Board adopted the proposed “Process” and “Criteria” now open for public comment.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-20dec11-en.htm

More Financial Options May Mean More Applicants for New gTLDs by Pat Kane

In developing its plan to create potentially hundreds of new top-level domains, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) had to strike a difficult balance between technical stability and economic accessibility. And while ICANN did a good job of establishing that balance, a small market-driven adjustment to the organization’s policy could expand the program’s reach, without jeopardizing stability and security.One of ICANN’s core responsibilities in creating the new gTLD program was to ensure that new top-level domains did not harm the stability and security of the Domain Name System (DNS), which is critical to the effective functioning of the Internet.To meet that responsibility, ICANN has created an extensive and well-thought-out list of technical guidelines, resource requirements and financial benchmarks that new gTLD applicants must meet in order for their applications to be approved.While these requirements are absolutely necessary, they also present a challenge. One of the key goals of the new gTLD program is to reach new markets, especially those in the underserved areas of the developing world where new Internet expansion could provide significant economic and social benefits. But many potential entrepreneurs in those markets may be stymied by steep financial requirements that apply to all new gTLD applicants, regardless of location or target audience.Nobody wants ICANN to lower these critical benchmarks for new gTLDs, but there may be some leeway for ICANN to provide applicants with a wider range of options for meeting their financial obligations under the new gTLD plan.Under the current version of the gTLD Applicant Guidebook, new applicants would be required to escrow three years worth of operating funds as a perquisite for securing ICANN approval to operate a new gTLD. While the amount prescribed by the “Continuing Operations Instrument” is widely supported, ICANN should provide as much flexibility as possible in how prospective registry operators meet their requirements.Some members of ICANN’s Registry Stakeholder Group (of which Verisign is also a member) have proposed an alternative model under which all prospective operators would contribute $50,000 to a Continued Operations Fund, which could be tapped “to ensure the continued operations of a new gTLD registry in the event of the early termination of the Registry Agreement between the Registry Operator (RO) and ICANN.”While this approach is interesting, neither it, nor the escrow model in the Guidebook represent the only possible options for ensuring the protection of registrants and the continued operation of new gTLDs.Another possible tool that has been discussed has been the development of an insurance instrument for new gTLD applicants that could provide the same level of protection envisioned in the COI, but at a lower out-of-pocket cost to applicants with less upfront capital available to tie up in an escrow fund.With all the innovative minds in the domain name space, there are likely many other approaches that could provide the security and stability that ICANN needs, while also allowing for the flexibility and accessibility we all want. By letting the market – and applicants – play an innovative role in ensuring continuing operations, ICANN will help to spur more applications, serving a broader audience, in manner that maintains the underlying integrity of the DNS.What sorts of approaches would you like to see broaden the funding choices for prospective new gTLD operators?This article by Pat Kane, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Naming Services at Verisign, was sourced with permission from:
blogs.verisigninc.com/blog/entry/more_financial_options_may_mean

ICANN Critics Complain Over New gTLDs to Senate, But Little Any Can Do

Some of the critics of ICANN’s plan to introduce new generic Top Level Domains vented at the organisation’s plans at a US Senate hearing Thursday, but there is little any of the hearing participants can do to stop.The introduction of new gTLDs received cautious support from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation with the committee’s opening statement saying:
If ICANN is determined to move forward, it should do so slowly and cautiously. The potential for fraud, consumer confusion, and cybersquatting is massive and argues for a phased in implementation. Scaling back the initial round of new top level domains introduced in 2013 may be a prudent approach. Companies, non-profit organizations, and others are rightly concerned that this new landscape will require them to spend money to protect their online identity. It’s my hope that we can phase this expansion in over time and not be regretful after the fact that it was done too hastily. That said, there are exciting new possibilities out there.But participants lined up to give ICANN a whack without much success. One exchange reported by Ad Age between Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and ICANN Senior VP-Stakeholder Relations Kurt Pritz went:
“I’m hopeful you will listen to these concerns,” said Ms. Klobuchar. “Will you listen to these concerns as we go forward?””I certainly will,” Mr. Pritz replied.Another critic, Dan Jaffe, exec VP-government relations for the Association of National Advertisers, wants ICANN to delay commencing accepting applications for gTLDs in January saying “there is not a consensus. There is nothing sacrosanct about this January 12 date.” The ANA continued with its claims that creating hundreds of new generic TLDs will burden businesses of all sizes, forcing them to defensively purchase numerous domains with different iterations of their brand names reported Ad Age, something supported by Angela Williams, general counsel for the YMCA of the USA who said the YMCA “can’t afford to keep trying to do this to protect our brand.” But Williams is a stooge for the part of the intellectual property lobby that is vociferously opposing the introduction of new gTLDs, and as Kieren McCarthy recently pointed out, the YMCA has never been involved in ICANN’s activities until the Dakar meeting in October this year.In his testimony to the committee according to Ad Age, Kurt Pritz said “studies indicate that corporations and other parties will not need to defensively register as many domains as they think, because many of the new TLDs will not be large enough to attract cybersquatters and ‘typosquatters.’ He also pointed to trademark protections built into the expansion strategy. But his reassurances did not seem to move the opponents.””Now is the time for launching the program,” Pritz went on to say reported PC World. “It is the proceed of well-thought-out, thoroughly debated polices that are designed to benefit the billions of Internet users through increased competition, choice and innovation.”The new domains will create competition in the domain-name market and will mitigate the market power of the current TLDs, including .com, he said.Meanwhile the inaugural ICANN chair Esther Dyson continued her opposition to ICANN’s plans saying “this is an economic creation” as she contrasted the programme with how companies like Twitter and Amazon built value into top-level domains. “What I would like to see is real innovation. … For that, you don’t need a new TLD.”

Q. What Unites Esther Dyson And YMCA? A. Opposition To New gTLDs

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.”

US Senate Committee To Hold Hearings On New gTLD Concerns

The US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announced they will hold a full committee hearing on ICANN’s plan to introduce new generic Top Level Domains on Thursday 8 December at 10:00 local time.The hearing will examine the merits and implications of this new program and ICANN’s continuing efforts to address concerns raised by the Internet community.Commenting on the concerns expressed by some in the marketing and advertising industry, which have recently seen the formation of Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight (CRIDO), Kieren McCarthy writes “the situation is more complex than that however and the anti-gTLD campaign has some serious concerns which it will make sure the Senate Committee members are fully apprised of.”McCarthy notes:
those concerns were most clearly expressed at ICANN’s recent meeting in Dakar where Steve DelBianco from the organization’s business constituency outlined four issues that were unresolved:

  • Terms of use compliance: the requirement for applicants to use new registries the way that they publicly state they will is not written into the current contract and so ICANN would be helpless to act if companies subsequent change their approach.
  • Applications for gTLD IDNs: the biggest positive benefit from the program will likely come from the creation of Internet extensions in languages other than English. The highly US-focused ICANN has failed to recognise that value.
  • Trademark protection: there are no less than three new IP rights mechanisms in place for new gTLDs, but an applicant is currently in a position to turn one of the most important off as soon as they launch.
  • Registrar code of conduct: there are a significant number of concerns over how registrars – the companies that sell domains – act and what they are obliged to do. ICANN continues to resist efforts to improve the situation.

McCarthy then notes “It is almost certain that there will be a strong call for ICANN to do one of two things. Either:

  • Postpone the program until remaining concerns have been tackled, or
  • Limit applications in the first round to either very safe applications or a limited number of new extensions.”

McCarthy then goes on to say what he believes ICANN should do and what they will do with the full article available at news.dot-nxt.com/2011/12/02/senate-hearing-gtlds.The hearing will be webcast live via the Senate Commerce Committee website at commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Home. It is advised to refresh the page ten minutes prior to the scheduled hearing start time to automatically begin streaming the webcast.