- New gTLD database
Business Constituency tries to plug holes in gTLD process
by Kieren McCarthy | 25 Oct 2011 |
The Business Constituency of ICANN has outlined four holes in the new gTLD process that the organization will be launching in the new year.
Speaking at the constituency's meeting with the ICANN Board in Dakar earlier today, Steve DelBianco of NetChoice warned that if the four areas weren't adequately addressed in the next few months, it posed "serious risks to the perceived success of the new gTLD program" and could even "jeopardize ICANN as an institution and the multi-stakeholder model".
The four areas are:
- Applications for gTLD IDNs
- Trademark protection
- Registrar code of conduct
With potentially hundreds of new Internet extensions, many are concerned about the opportunities for abusing ownership of a top-level domain, particularly as it relates to issues around religious or cultural sensitivity.
"Here we are telling governments that you can rely on the promises made by an applicant in deciding whether you want to file an objection or a warning. They may withhold their warning only to learn later they we can’t enforce the conditions that they withheld their warning about," warned DelBianco.
Applications for gTLD IDNs
"When it comes to the next billion users, many of them are going to be using languages and scripts other than Latin and English," DelBianco noted.
But so far there appears to be very little interest or public awareness of "gTLD IDNs" - Internet extensions that are in different languages that can also be applied for through the new gTLD program.
The Business Constituency urged the Board to "do everything possible to avoid disappointment by getting new TLDs in under-served linguistic communities", including giving incentives or discounts so applicants will roll out multiple versions of their top-level domain in multiple scripts.
The protection of trademarks has been one of the biggest topics of the new gTLD process, with no less than three new processes designed to limit misuse of trademarks and cybersquatting.
However, one of those mechanisms - the Trademark Claims Notice Service which itself works off a clearinghouse database - may prove ineffectual. "What a shame if it works perfectly," DelBianco opined. "Because it turns out a registry can shut it off the day after sunrise. So we might have a trademark claims system that really puts a stop to cybersquatting only to see that each TLD basically turns if off."
The Business Constituency wants ICANN to find a way to encourage the continuance of the process and a system "that works on the assumption the trademark claims will work."
Registrar code of conduct
During the course of the gTLD process, ICANN as an organization developed a new registry contract to cover the hundreds of new extensions. At the same, it also developed a Code of Conduct. All applicants have to sign both before they can run an Internet extension.
"But we didn’t take an opportunity to do the same thing with the registrar side of the house," explained DelBianco. "We didn’t design a new agreement for the registrars for new TLDs. And that’s a missed opportunity. We’ve got to move ahead on that."
Cake and fires
Despite the pointed criticism, the business constituency noted that it was on board with the new gTLD program, despite some of the difficult compromises it had entailed. But there were still gaps that need to be filled to make the program a success.
"We know that when you bake a cake, you’ve got to break a few eggs. But let’s not start a fire that burns the house down in the process," DelBianco noted.