ICANN Admits New gTLDs Failed Expectations, Should There Be More?

Just a few days ago, Internet Hall of Famer Dr. Paul Vixie blasted ICANN, calling new gTLDs (new generic top-level domains) "all commercial failures"and ICANN "captured by the [domain name] industry"--ICANN's "job is to serve the public, not to serve the companies"--"There should be no price at which you can buy .microsoft [a .BRAND new gTLD], but there is, and that's a mistake. That indicates corruption, as far as I'm concerned." (emphasis/links added)

On Friday, 30 Oct 2015, public comments closed on ICANN's Preliminary Issue Report on subsequent new gTLDs:

ICANN New gTLDs, Subsequent Procedures, Preliminary Report Comments--
"Expanding the DNS is considered consistent with ICANN’s Mission and Core Values, in particular Article 1, Section 2.6 of the ICANN Bylaws: Introducing and promoting competition in the registration of domain names where practicable and beneficial in the public interest. However multiple views regarding whether new gTLDs are needed and the extent to which they may cause harm to the DNS have been articulated throughout the development process to expand the DNS ... Consumer adoption of new gTLDs have not met certain expectations, though success or failure was not pre-defined ... The question of whether or not there should be additional New gTLD rounds is a foundational question and should be answered as early as practically possible, to avoid policy work that may end up being unneeded...." -- Preliminary Issue Report on New gTLD Subsequent Procedures, August 31, 2015 (pdf) (emphasis added).
Preliminary Issue Report on New gTLD [new generic top-level domains] Subsequent Procedures - ICANN: "Following review of public comments received on this report, the Staff Manager will update the Issue Report as appropriate to reflect public comment. The Staff Manager will submit a summary of the public comments received together with the Final Issue Report to the GNSO Council for consideration."

Public Comments submitted--excerpts:

comment John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo.com: " ... 'ICANN services the global public interest. For me [Tim Berners Lee], that means that when a decision is taken about a possible new top level domain, ICANN's job is to work out, in a transparent and accountable manner, whether it is really in the best interest of the world as a whole, not just of those launching the new domain.' ... until 4.2.1 of your Preliminary Report is answered, all other issues should be deferred as they are premature. Should there even be gTLDs? Most of the original gTLDs (EDU, COM, NET, ORG, GOV, MIL, and INT), were, and many still are, operating under the authority of the U.S. government. Why should lawless multinational corporations be allowed “brand” gTLDs? Many fundamental questions were left unanswered in the original policy development process and implementation, see: ICANN Insiders On New gTLDs: Mistakes, Fiascos, Horrible Implementation."

Google Registry Comment Stephanie Duchesneau: "... we believe that ICANN should rely upon the existing GNSO recommendations and Applicant Guidebook procedures as the basis for future rounds if there is no community consensus on new or modified policies and frameworks ..."

FairWinds Partners Public Comments on Preliminary Issue Report on New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Samantha Demetriou: "... In the context of the Preliminary Issue Report, there are a number of sections that should be expanded to account for the fact that .BRANDs are likely to comprise a significant portion of applications ..."

Business Constituency (BC) on Preliminary Issue Report for New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Steve DelBianco: "...Concerns about premium pricing and predatory pricing were identified by the BC, but ICANN did not consider this a compliance issue. We recommend requiring registry operators to include a detailed description of their proposed Sunrise and premium pricing programs in their applications. ICANN should publish guidance against predatory pricing schemes specifically targeting trademarked terms, as grounds for losing points on the application. Any failure to follow the proposal in the application without a formal change-request would then be an RA compliance issue once the application is incorporated into the signed RA..."

IPC Comments on New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Preliminary Issue Report Greg Shatan: "... The IPC supports going back to “first principles” during this process and encourages a “reboot” of
the New gTLD Program ... one issue that could be more directly addressed by the Report is whether the rapid expansion of the root zone (from the aggregate issuance of many gTLDs) could affect the security and stability of the DNS... questions of whether ICANN compliance is fully prepared to enforce the new registry agreements in a manner that serves the public interest have arisen frequently since the launch of the program ..."

Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG) comments the Preliminary Issue Report on New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Stephane Van Gelder - Starting Dot: "... The Preliminary Issue Report raises the question of whether the issues at stake in a Policy Development Process on New gTLD Subsequent Procedures should be carried out sequentially or simultaneously. The RySG prefers the latter strategy ..." 

Big Room Inc. Comment Jacob Malthouse:"... we do not believe such reviews can properly consider a number of contention resolution aspects of the program until remaining contention sets from the current round have been resolved ... so that lessons learned from the current round can be effectively considered."

INTA Comments on Issue Report for New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Lori Schulman: "... A question to be considered at the outset is whether there should indeed be Subsequent Procedures and, if so, whether any Subsequent Procedures should be limited to certain types of TLDs such as brand or community TLDs. If the answers to these questions were to be negative then many of the other issues identified in the Report would become academic..."

GAC input to public comment process Tom Dale: "... before defining the modalities for future rounds, a rigorous assessment of all public policy related aspects of the current round should be undertaken, taking into account the advice given by the GAC on this subject since the beginning of the New gTLD process, including advice relating to community-wide engagement on the issues of communication to and access by developing countries and regions; and advice regarding past policy decisions taken by the Board to reserve the Red Cross and Red Crescent designations and names..."

Comments New TLD Subsequent Procedures Annebeth Lange, UNINETT Norid AS: "... the AGB is in our opinion a document that can be used in subsequent rounds..."

ALAC Statement on the Preliminary Issue Report on New gTLD Subsequent Procedures ICANN At-Large Staff: "... In Section there is sadly no mention of the potential harm to consumers in launching a new round when the prior round did not deliver on its public interest promises. Quite the contrary, the Issues Report weakens the importance of this factor with this observation: “Consumer adoption of new gTLDs have not met certain expectations, though success or failure was not pre-defined”. We beg to disagree. Some failures were anticipated. Sadly, attempts to mitigate or entirely avoid them were either not fully embraced or, simply ignored. Some must be mentioned for balance to the thread:  The failure of the PIC regime, that was identified by ALAC, acknowledged by staff and Directors but never satisfied  The complete and utter failure of the Applicant Support System  The failure of the Community Evaluation Program to achieve its goals, with poorly-defined communities accepted while legitimate community efforts were rejected  The increasing use of unpoliced TLDs as sources of spam and phishing  The failure of the gTLD expansion to help alleviate demand in the legacy TLDs .... 4.7.3 Work Process Options The ALAC is concerned that the GNSO might be tempted to launch a PDP-WG using the Simultaneous method of work. This type of work is indeed very challenging to both ICANN staff and the volunteer community in particular. It provides a significant advantage to participation by those community members who are paid for their attendance, to the detriment of volunteers who are over-stretched when they need to balance ICANNrelated pro-bono work with other work. With the ICANN communities complaining of volunteer overload, working on all five preliminary groupings would seriously unbalance the Multistakeholder model that ICANN is built on. Again, the ALAC is concerned that speed and rush might be placed above thoroughness and diligence. On balance, the ALAC is convinced that amendments to the draft WG Charter are both needed and necessary and we strongly recommend so."

Individual Comments of James Gannon, Cyber Invasion Ltd James Gannon: "... While understanding that there may technically be a policy commitment to subsequent rounds we believe that if there is genuine reason found to cancel subsequent procedures then that must be honored. We do not believe that the assumption from the 2007 Final Report serves as suitable justification for advancing subsequent rounds, but that there must be a combination of factors including community support, technical justification and business drivers to bring about a subsequent or continuous round in future.We support the recommendation that policy efforts be undertaken by the GNSO to examine the viability of subsequent rounds..."

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