ICANN is NOT a new gTLDs Marketing Agency: ICANN 53 Review, Part 3

photo: Akram Atallah, President of  ICANN's Global Domains Division, on the "hot seat" at ICANN 53
Akram Atallah, President of  ICANN's Global Domains Division, on the "hot seat" at ICANN 53
It had to happen at some point, a mature realization that the hype and mania which formed and launched ICANN's new gTLDs program was misplaced. Signs of this epiphany were very much present at ICANN 53, which just concluded in Buenos Aires, Argentina. From stakeholders to ICANN Board Members, the judgment is emerging that the new gTLDs were a product of bad policy making, both in substance and process, as well as "horrible implementation" and the disappointing sales are self-evident proof that the policy and program were not grounded in market reality, and as a result, examples of lack of consumer demand abound. In addition, problems with new gTLD domain names "failing to work as expected on the Internet" (i.e., Universal Acceptance issues), as well as questions about new gTLDs having a negative impact on Internet root stability, are now being taken seriously.

ICANN staff, particularly Akram Atallah (see photo above) and his GDD staff, received a jolt when their underhanded attempt to apply new gTLDs URS policy against domain name registrants of legacy gTLD .TRAVEL (and by implication, all legacy gTLDs: .COM, .NET, .ORG, etc.) received an overwhelming negative response in comments posted, as well as at ICANN 53, including Philip Corwin, of the Internet Commerce Association, raising the issue throughout the meeting from Sunday through Thursday's last day public forum. "Desire for uniformity of the Registry Agreement" is a poor excuse for ICANN staff attempting to bypass stakeholder policy-making processes, and make "uniform" that which was specifically made not to be uniform, not to mention the variations and lack of uniformity within all the new gTLD registry agreements. In addition, it is hardly "voluntary" when ICANN staff prepare and present a Registry Agreement with the URS included, to a renewing legacy gTLD registry operator. Note to ICANN and Akram Atallah--start being honest for once, and stop making excuses--take the URS out of legacy gTLD registry agreements until it has been approved through a stakeholder PDP. The "affected parties" are primarily domain name registrants, and ICANN staff has no clue about domain name registrants since there is no domain name registrants stakeholder group within ICANN. ICANN officers and staff tend to forget that new gTLDs are an "experiment" and total less than 2% of all domain names registered globally. Domain Mondo hopes they "got the message."

Here are excerpts from ICANN 53 relating to new gTLDs and the above:
Krisitna Rosette (Amazon): "FWIW, Chris Disspain [ICANN Board Member] told ALAC this morning that the new gTLD round should not have gone forward when it did because the policies weren't done.  So, at least one Board member thinks that more policy work needs to be done." 
Slide of Universal Acceptance topic at the Generic Registry Stakeholders Group session at ICANN 53
Slide from Universal Acceptance issues presentation at RySG ICANN 53 meeting
Slide above: Universal Acceptance--domain names "failing to work as expected on the internet"--is a problem for all new gTLDs (new generic top-level domains) and any TLD of more than 4 characters (note: there are no legacy gTLDs (e.g., .COM, .NET, .ORG, etc.) of more than 4 characters.) The last line is the kicker: "It's an issue if registrants can't effectively use their names."

From the Universal Acceptance topic at the Generic Registry Stakeholders Group session at ICANN 53:
“We don’t want the message going out into the market that new gTLDs don’t work but there is a problem that needs to be fixed.”
Even at the ICANN public forum on the last day (Thursday) of ICANN 53, the Universal Acceptance "defects" problems of new gTLD domain names were publicly acknowledged. After a new gTLDs lobbyist (a/k/a stakeholder) spoke and urged ICANN to undertake a multi-million dollar promotional campaign for new gTLDs (and new gTLD registry operators), ICANN Board member Mike Silber delivered the coup de grĂ¢ce:
In summary:
New gTLDs registry operators should not count on getting "marketing support" from ICANN, the DNS coordinator, and the net auction funds are going to be the subject of a lengthy community process. Some in the ICANN community definitely do not want any of the funds to be used to benefit the new gTLDs registry operators or applicants. In their view, new gTLD Registry operators and applicants knew, or should have known, the risks they were taking on, and that ICANN was never a guarantor of success nor a joint venture "partner."

ICANN is now in the process of selecting a contractor to study the impact of new gTLDs upon the stability of the root and issue a final report in 2017, which will require further steps thereafter by the ICANN staff and community. Therefore, the next round opening for new gTLDs applications, based on what was said at ICANN 53: 2018-19 best case scenario. Of course, by that time, one or more of the new gTLD registry operators will have filed bankruptcy or gone "out of business," probably bad-mouthing ICANN all the way out the door, similar to what Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of new gTLDs registry operator Minds + Machines (MMX), Fred Krueger, did after he recently left MMX and promptly sold 14,000,000 of his MMX shares, posting on Facebook: "One of the advantages of leaving MMX is that I am finally done with ICANN — which is one of the single worst organizations I have come across on this planet..."

We feel your pain Fred, but if you feel that way, why did you invest so much of your time and money in ICANN's new gTLDs program? You should have done your due diligence before you made your investment. By 2018, it's going to be the same old story, more Fred Krueger type rants, over and over again. Akram, better get used to all the rants bad-mouthing ICANN from failing new gTLD registry operators!

Note: this is the third and final part of the 3-part series ICANN 53 Review. Links to the ICANN budget for FY16 (fiscal year July, 2015-June, 2016) and other ICANN 53 related links will be posted this week on Domain Mondo's Links and ICANN pages. The previous two posts in this series can be read here:
See also on Domain Mondo:
Caveat Emptor!

Domain Mondo archive