Theme - New gTLDs

26 February 2013

The Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information
Washington, D.C. 20230

To:Dr. Stephen D. Crocker
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
12025 Waterfront Drive, Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90094-2536

Dear Dr. Crocker:

Feb 26, 2013

On February 3, 2013, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) posted for public comment a revised new generic top-level domain name (gTLD) Registry Agreement that includes certain updates and changes, including a Public Interest Commitments Specification. I am writing to express the strong support of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for this step and commend ICANN for so directly responding to the concerns previously expressed by the members of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), including the United States, regarding the need for new gTLD applicants' commitments to be binding and enforceable. We therefore appreciate the opportunity to offer initial views on these proposals.

23 February 2013

And why that's good news for the DNS industry

Insurance company Chartis is the latest company to withdrawal from a namesake new Internet extension (dot-chartis), claiming back $130,000 of its $185,000 application fee.

The news comes just days after the new gTLD program run by ICANN was dealt a blow with the withdrawal of five applications from General Motors (the car industry has embraced the program) and with toy-maker Hasbro dropping its dot-transformers application, despite having a savvy Net audience thanks to recent blockbuster movies featuring the camouflaging robots.

In the case of Chartis, however, the withdrawal - and recent changes announced to its application - are good news for the program since they highlight the far greater importance that new gTLDs are going to have in the global economy starting next year.

19 February 2013

The proposal to introduce a "public interest commitment" to applications for new top-level domains is proving unpopular with the Internet community.

Among the complaints about the "PIC" specification – which the ICANN Board unexpectedly produced and put out for comment earlier this month – are that it would led to a "material change" in applications, that the process remains undefined, and that the organization is rushing through a significant change without adequate consultation.

None of those we spoke to wanted to go on the record – many are preparing joint statements that they intend to post to ICANN's public comment period – but they represent across-the-board frustration with a process that veers from delay and inactivity to sudden and unexpected changes and requirements.

19 February 2013

The Public Interest Registry has opened pre-registration for dot-ngo domains, encouraging non-profits and non-governmental organizations to indicate early interest in the registry.

Registration is through a simple online form and does not represent a commitment to purchase a domain (PIR is calling the process an "expression of interest"), but it will mean that organizations receive useful information and updates as the application progresses through to approval.

PIR's Chief Operating Officer Nancy Gofus explained to .Nxt that PIR expects dot-ngo domains (as well as the French version, dot-ong) to go live in early 2014 but that she wanted to reach out to the non-profit community early and "inform them of the steps they can take now".

19 February 2013

General Motors has pulled out of the new gTLD program at a cost of $275,000.

A recent update of ICANN's application database shows that the US motor manufacturer has withdrawn its bids for dot-Cadillac and dot-Chevrolet – representing its two most famous brands – as well as dot-GMC. Two remaining applications – for dot-Buick and dot-Chevy – are expected to be confirmed as having been withdrawn within days.

Under the rules of the program, the company is entitled to reclaim 70 percent of the $185,000 application fee, representing a cost of $55,000 per application, or $275,000 overall. In addition, the company hired brand protection company CSC to shepherd its bids through.

15 February 2013

ICANN has named 23 April as the date when the organization will formally approve the first of thousands of new Internet extensions.

Speaking in a pre-recorded interview, CEO Fadi Chehade said that the organization had made “great progress in the last few weeks” and so was confident that ICANN would be able to “recommend for delegation” the first of over 1,900 applications, just a few weeks after its upcoming meeting in Beijing.

The announcement of a specific date – even if Chehade is careful to point out that it may slip depending on factors outside his control – is a positive sign for the program which has been beset with delays since it was first conceived in 2005.

The “applicant guidebook” for the program was first published in 2008 and is currently in its ninth revision, with significant changes put forward by ICANN just this month.

8 February 2013

Only small number of new gTLD applicants will consider rushed process

ICANN has attempted to answer concerns that new gTLD applicants may renege on public commitments with a last-minute contractual add-on.

Following a special Board meeting last weekend, the organization's COO this week outlined plans for a "public interest commitment" that would see applicants voluntarily agree to make aspects of their application binding.

ICANN subsequently published for public comment a revised version of its contract, complete with a new Specification 11. Within that specification, applicants can either list which parts of their application they wish to be considered binding - and so tied in with third-party dispute resolution complete with the risk of losing their rights to run the registry - or add additional information regarding existing commitments.

7 December 2012
Premium content

Has it pulled any of its 12 other applications?

The markers of lifestyle TV programmes including HGTV and the Food Network have pulled their application for the dot-glean top-level domain.

Lifestyle Domain Holdings, a subsidiary of Scripps Networks Interactive, is behind the bid and is the seventh of 13 withdrawn applications that have been named, indicating that the companies has received its $130,000 partial refund from ICANN.

Dot-glean is just one of 13 applications made by the company and earlier this year it had applied for four trademarks for the "glean" name. It did not give a reason for dropping the application, at a cost of $55,000. It is not known if the company is responsible for any of the other six unnamed withdrawals, although its dot-vana is similar in many respects to dot-glean and may also have been junked. Scripps Networks Interactive also recently received a government "early warning" over its dot-food application last month.

30 November 2012

US government intervenes, raising questions about ICANN stewardship

Verisign shares have plunged 15 percent, wiping $850 million off the company's value, on the news that it will not be allowed to raise prices on dot-com domains for the next six years.

The current wholesale price for dot-coms stands at $7.85 and the company had already agreed a six-year extension on its right to exclusively sell the domains with DNS overseeing organization ICANN. That agreement mirrored one signed in 2006 that allowed Verisign to raise the price by seven percent in four of the six years the contract ran.

However the contract was subject to approval by the US Department of Commerce and it decided to remove the price-rise clause before signing. A short statement issued by the DoC quoted Assistant Secretary Larry Strickling saying that "consumer will benefit from Verisign's removal of the automatic price increase".

15 November 2012

Senior vice president Kurt Pritz has resigned his new job as ICANN's Chief Strategy Officer over an undisclosed conflict of interest.

In a note posted on the organization's website earlier today, new CEO Fadi Chehade noted that Pritz had resigned "because of a recently identified conflict of interest". ICANN has so far refused to identify what that conflict is.

Pritz will be staying on as a consultant but will be taken completely off ICANN's flagship new gTLD program that he has spearheaded over the past five years. Pritz's jobs have already been reassigned, most to new hire Christine Willett who had her first public outing on a webinar for new gTLD applicants yesterday.

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