The company behind the .jobs sponsored top-level domain wants to loosen the shackles of sponsorship by vastly liberalizing its namespace.
Employ Media has applied (pdf) to ICANN to get rid of the current restrictions on .jobs domain ownership and open hundreds of thousands of strings to the highest bidder.
The registry wants to amend its contract with ICANN to cut the text that limits .jobs domains to the exact match or abbreviation of a company name, and add:
Domain registrations are permitted for other types of names (e.g., occupational and certain geographic identifiers) in addition to the “company name” designation.
Employ Media is basically asking for the right to open the floodgates to a complete relaunch of the .jobs TLD with very few restrictions on who can register and what strings they can register.
Phase One of the relaunch would be an RFP “to invite interested parties to propose specific plans for registration, use and promotion of domains that are not their company name”.
It sounds a little like the current .co Founders Program, or the marketing initiatives Afilias and Neustar asked for to supplement the auction of their single-character domains.
In practice, I expect that this first phase is when the DirectEmployers Association would expect to grab hundreds of thousands of .jobs domains under its universe.jobs business plan, in which it intends to offer job listings tailored to “city, state, geographic region, country, occupation [and] skill”.
Phase Two would see your basic landrush auction of any premium domains left over.
Phase three would be “A first-come, first-served real-time release of any domains not registered through the RFP or auction processes.”
While I have no strong views on the merits of this particular proposal, I do think that the application and ICANN’s response to it could wind up setting the template for how to operate a bait-and-switch in ICANN’s forthcoming round of new TLD applications.
If you say you want to do one thing with your TLD, and later decide you could make more money doing another, how much will ground will ICANN give when it comes to renegotiating your contract? It will be interesting to find out.
Reactions so far from the HR community have not been positive.
“The only winner here is Employ Media,” he wrote.
The comment posted by Ted Daywalt of VetJobs.com is especially worth a read.
The Employ Media proposal has been submitted under ICANN’s Registry Services Evaluation Process, which allows comments to be submitted.