2014-07-10

Slate: ICANN's "new gTLDs are a solution in search of a problem, a multi-million-dollar boondoggle"

Marc Naimark, a "LGBTQ activist with a particular interest in sport and the internet," has written several articles in Slate about ICANN's new gTLD domain names program, particularly about .gay, and .lgbt. His latest article is at the link below (excerpt follows, emphasis added):

dotHIV: Can the new .hiv domain turn ICANN's boondoggle into an opportunity to do good?: "“You are creating a business, like derivatives on Wall Street, that has no value,” Esther Dyson, the founding chairwoman of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, once said about ICANN's project to create hundreds of new generic top level domains, known as gTLDs. Aside from the opportunity to use non-Latin alphabets, the new gTLDs are a solution in search of a problem, a multi-million-dollar boondoggle, generating income of more than $300 million in ICANN application fees alone. (Paradoxically, this may result in only minimal net revenue for the corporation.) That sum does not include the operating costs of the hundreds of applicants seeking to become the registry for a given gTLD ... nor the ongoing costs to brand owners, who are already seeing the negative consequences they feared at the launch of the program. These new gTLDs offer real risks to the LGBTQ community. I have written here and here  about the travails of dotgay LLC in its attempts to secure the .gay gTLD. After granting a commercial operator the rights to .lgbt, ICANN will soon decide whether dotgay LLC's community priority application will succeed for .gay, or whether the string will be awarded to the highest bidder for purely commercial operation. If the latter comes to pass, both .gay and .lgbt, the two names under consideration of the greatest interest to the LGBTQ community, will be operated solely to benefit commercial interests, with no protection against possible abuse of these names, no community involvement, and no funds returning to the community. But there is a third gTLD that also concerns many in the LGBTQ community: .hiv. It has enjoyed a much better fate than .gay and offers some good from the ill wind ICANN has been blowing on the web...." (read more at link above)





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