The 41st meeting of ICANN takes place 19-24 June 2011 in Singapore. This meeting is being closely watched as it is expected that it is the one where the board will finally give the green light to applicants for new gTLD’s. There are plenty of opportunities for remote participation.
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Less than a year after ICANN gained its “independence” by signing an Affirmation of Commitments with the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Now, on Dec 2 2010, ICANN has received a sharply critical letter from NTIA head Larry Strickling, suggesting it has not backed up its promises.
The main issue bothering Strickling appears to be the imminent finalization, after 4 years of painstaking gestation, of the new generic Top Level Domain process. He cites half-baked economic analysis of the effects, and a lack of justification, particularly with regard to the decision of the Board to swing from a policy of absolutely no vertical integration between registries and registrars (Mar 2010) to laissez-faire (Nov 2010). In the NTIA’s opinion ICANN is not honoring its commitment to ‘fact-based policy development’, and to ‘provide a thorough and reasoned explanation of decisions taken’.
It can safely be said, on the latter point, that the NTIA are not alone in this assessment, if the efforts of its own Accountability & Transparency Review Team are to believed.
While internationally many probably share the NTIA’s concerns this may well, coming on the heels of the COICA effort, and recent DNS redirecting by the US in the name of IP protection, be seen as a reminder of American influence, providing fuel for those governments that would like to see control of the domain system passed to the United Nations via the ITU.
It’s sure to be a hot topic at next week’s ICANN Meeting in Cartagena. It seems probable that ICANN will be forced to take the safe course, and yet again delay the gTLD process.
The ICANN board on Nov 9 2010, citing a lack of consensus, resolved the last remaining overarching issue holding up the new gTLD process by agreeing to eliminate restrictions on cross-ownership between registries and registrars (aka Vertical Integration), and has now published the Proposed Final New gTLD Applicant Guidebook (PFNAG ?) that describes the process of applying for new generic top-level domains.
Public comment is invited here.
Final approval, or a decision to make final changes, is set for the ICANN meeting in Cartagena on Dec 10 2010. Upon approval a 4 month global communications campaign is planned to make sure everybody on the planet knows and understands the content.
Prof. Milton Mueller has, in a blog post entitled A new era in domain name economics?, summarized the various positions in the ICANN Vertical Integration Working Group. Resolution of VI question – the degree of cross-ownership between registries and registrars – is the one remaining outstanding block to the rollout of new gTLDs.
- DAGv4 The Nairobi resolution. Zero cross ownership.
* RACK The status quo. 15% limitations on cross-ownership. No exceptions
- Free Trade No limitations, but equal access
- JN2+ No limitation on cross ownership. Registrars could not sell their registry owners TLDs. Exceptions for single registrant TLDs, community TLDs and Orphan TLDs.
- Competition Authority Model Full cross-ownership allowed, subject to approval by a special panel.
At present the JN2+ proposal is currently leading with 69% of the WG saying they could live with it. The WG is tasked with coming up with a solution before the ICANN board next meets in September.
More: Vertical Integration PDP
A fourth draft of the Applicant Guidebook that describes the process of applying for new generic top-level domains was released today along with explanatory memoranda and detailed analysis of comments received. The program continues to improve and moves toward completion thanks to the outstanding collaboration from the ICANN Community working groups whose expertise helped to address and bring toward closure several challenging issues.Also posted are the summaries and analysis of the public comment period on topics such as: trademark & community protections, potential for malicious conduct, IDN issues and registry operations & agreement.The new version has new content, including:* Incorporation of trademark protections, including improvements to the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS), the Trademark Clearinghouse (TM Clearinghouse), and the Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Proposal (PDDRP);* Changes to rules for geographic TLDs, including a prohibition on country names as gTLDs;* A new gTLD Registry transition process model, including provisions for emergency transition in the case of prolonged Registry technical outages;* A model for providing centralized zone file access (ZFA) to aid in combating malicious conduct;* A revised base Registry agreement, the contract future registries must sign with ICANN, including new features such as:o Registry-Registrar cross-ownership language — proposed position pending the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) policy-development work;o Emergency Registry transition provision — to be used for protection of registrants in the event of prolonged Registry technical outage;o Special new agreement provisions for governmental and inter-governmental organization (IGO) applicants — based on negotiations with Universal Postal Union (UPU) for .post (subject to modification for different circumstances of other similar organizations);o New “hybrid” process for future amendments — based on consultations with Registries and others;o New provisions for centralized registry zone file access (ZFA).Among the accompanying materials, also open for comments are:* Proposed New gTLD Program Budget* Market/Economic Study: an initial analysis of the costs and benefits of the introduction of new gTLDs – to be released shortly* Review & provide feedback to Applicant Guidebook* Read Explanatory Memoranda & Related Reports* Read Comments Summaries & Analyses
ICANN Consultation on New gTLD Agreement Amendment Process and Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Process – 4/13
ICANN invites community participation in an open consultation on the Process for New gTLD Registry Agreement Amendments and the Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Process. This consultation was organized in response to a request from the Registry Stakeholder Group to discuss concerns they have raised in their stakeholder meetings and public comments fora on new gTLDs. This meeting is open to all interested participants and observers.
The consultation will be held on Tuesday, 13 April from 16:00 to 19:30 UTC (http://timeanddate.com/s/1pcg). A conference call bridge and Adobe Connect access will be available for this discussion and an MP3 will be posted on the new gTLD program web page after the consultation. ICANN will facilitate this discussion from Marina del Rey, CA (limited space will be available to accommodate in-person participation).
16:00 – 17:45: Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Process
17:45 – 19:30: New gTLD Agreement Amendment Process
The reference materials for the consultation include the Process for New gTLD Registry Agreement Amendments viewable at http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/registry-agreement-amendment-process-15feb10-en.pdf [PDF, 127 KB] and the Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure viewable at http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/draft-trademark-pddrp-clean-15feb10-en.pdf [PDF, 94 KB].
If you are interested in participating, please confirm at email@example.com by 9 April 2010. Dial-in details will be made available upon confirmation and requests for in-person participation will be processed on a first-come-first-served basis.
CircleID is publishing a series of on-the-spot interviews at ICANN 37 in Nairobi.
In this one Avri Doria details her arguments against the EoI “pre-registration” proposal for new gTLDs.
As ICANN’s new GTLD process grinds forward, one aspect specified is that new applications should be compared to benchmarks. This required that such benchmarks be established by research. The resulting KPMG study has just been published.
Some of the findings include:
- Most use open source database and server operating systems.
- The tech is not difficult. What has been a problem is accurately predicting take-up.
- There generally has been less take-up that anticipated
- Growth curves vary. What is certain is that immediate rates of take-up are a good indicator of the long term success.
- The majority of respondents indicated that their liquidity improved over time.
- Large registries ran operations in-house and had much much cheaper costs per registration ($1.74) than small registries, who normally outsourced operations ($15).
The report also suggests ICANN’s process is lacking in proper financial scrutiny of applicants
18 December 2009 ICANN is publishing today for public comment a draft model for soliciting Expressions of Interest for new generic top-level domains (new gTLDs) [PDF, 192K]. According to this EOI / pre-registration model, entities interested in participating in the first round of the New gTLD Program are required to submit basic information about the participating entity and the requested top-level domain, also referred to as “string”.