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GAC delivers sweeping advice that will delay scores of new gTLDs by months

Kevin Murphy, April 11, 2013, 08:23:56 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee has issued the kiss of death to two new gTLD applications and sweeping advice that will delay many, many more.
In its Beijing communique, issued this hour, the GAC as expected delivered advice against whole categories of gTLDs and provided a lengthy but “non-exhaustive” list of affected bids.
First, the GAC said that the .africa bid filed by DotConnectAfrica and the .gcc bid filed by GCCIX WLL should be rejected. Those were full consensus objections.
Two gTLDs related to Islam: .islam and .halal, have non-consensus objections, and will now have to be considered by the ICANN board of directors directly.
The GAC also said it needed more time, until ICANN’s meeting in Durban this July, to consider delivering specific advice against 14 more:

the GAC advises the ICANN Board to: not proceed beyond Initial Evaluation with the following strings: .shenzhen (IDN in Chinese), .persiangulf, .guangzhou (IDN in Chinese), .amazon (and IDNs in Japanese and Chinese), .patagonia, .date, .spa, .yun, .thai, .zulu, .wine, .vin

On the issue of plurals versus singulars, the GAC said ICANN should “Reconsider its decision to allow singular and plural versions of the same strings.” This affects about 60 applications.
But it doesn’t end there.
As predicted, the GAC has also issued swathes of advice against scores of proposed gTLDs in 12 categories: children, environmental, health and fitness, financial, gambling, charity, education, intellectual property, professional services, corporate identifiers, generic geographical terms and inherently governmental functions.
A “non-exhaustive” list of applications has been provided for each category, covering well over 100, setting the stage for a fight over inclusion for any application that the GAC forgot about.
If the GAC gets its way, any application that falls into one of these categories will have to have enhanced regulations governing Whois, abuse mitigation, and security.
The GAC also has its say on “closed generics”, which it calls “exclusive registry access” strings. They should only be awarded if they serve a public interest purpose, the GAC said.
In short, the advice is extraordinarily broad and seems to delegate the considerable work of picking through the mess to ICANN.
More analysis later…

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Comments (14)

  1. Brad Mugford says:

    “The GAC also has its say on “closed generics”, which it calls “exclusive registry access” strings. They should only be awarded if they serve a public interest purpose, the GAC said.”
    Good. Either this new gTLD program was about public interest or it was not.
    Just awarding closed generics to the highest bidder is not in the public interest. It is only in ICANN’s financial interest.

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      I didn’t read that as a show stopper, just as advice about what to delegate or not. If the Board, following GAC advice or its own reasoning, wants not to delegate a TLD, that’s fine. What is inappropriate is to remove applicants from contention sets because they are closed generics. They should be allowed to prevail, and if they do, then the Board can decide whether to squash it.

      • Brad Mugford says:

        “They should only be awarded if they serve a public interest purpose, the GAC said.”
        I think that guidance is pretty clear.
        If you want to make the argument that giving closed generic strings to companies like Google or Amazon is in the “public interest” then feel free to make that case.
        The vast majority of the public, small business, and large business interests are against the anti-competitive nature of that.

        • Rubens Kuhl says:

          I’m not advocating either to that or against that. What I’m saying is that neither GAC or the Board can pick winners among contention sets. Only the winning application, as determined by staff, can be then verified for public interest or not.
          So if Google wins .TUBE, and Board decides that it’s not in public interest to delegate .TUBE to Google, then .TUBE doesn’t get delegated.
          This closed generic issue is being used as competition weapon, and it shouldn’t be.

  2. theo says:

    Intresting read.
    This section about security raised my eyebrows since Verisign had to withdraw such a proposal after collecting public flak.

  3. NotComTom says:

    Strings clear to proceed to contracting pending RAA and RA:
    新闻 – (news)
    网址 – (website)
    कॉम – (com)
    网店 – (shop)
    … and more

  4. NotComTom says:

    .fishing of course, in contention, but 2 early draw numbers gives motivation to resolve that quickly.

  5. NotComTom says:

    This communique impacts hundreds of applications.
    Many of the mentioned strings have multiple applicants that are affected.

  6. Phil says:

    Kevin, I think this will this prove to be the final hammer blow for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of applications with many many chosing, some having no choice now , but to withdraw their application(s) to minimise their losses .
    Inevitable further delays now, additional costs and changes to applications are increasingly making applicants business models unsustainable. Phil

  7. Frank Schilling says:

    I think the GAC (while well-intentioned) has made an extraordinarily short-sighted mistake here. For the entire new GTLD exercise to thrive in the very long run, the collective right-of-the-dot namespace simply must allow for the peaceful coexistence of singulars and plurals. There are words with dual meaning that will be affected, this will significantly and unnecessarily hemm in future spectrum. There is just no “long term” good that can come from setting such a poor precedent today. Consumers expect singulars and plurals to peacefully coexist. If we want to move to a naming spectrum with tens of thousands of new G’s in the future – a namespace which is easy, intuitive and useful for people to navigate, there is just no question in my mind that singular and plural strings be allowed to coexist.

  8. C’est en tant qu’utilisateur de noms de domaine que j’écris, en tant que Registrant.
    L’action du GAC est une heureuse surprise pour les utilisateurs comme moi qui achèteront ces noms de domaine. Dans la cas du vin, il va être extrêmement difficile, non seulement de protéger notre industrie contre le cybersquatting et le domaining, mais aussi extrêmement coûteux de réserver et/ou protéger les noms de domaine des partis intéressés en amont mais aussi, suite aux différentes périodes d’ouverture au public.
    Si en plus, il faut être informé de toutes les dates de lancement, et encore en plus de cela, faire face aux mêmes problèmes des lancements d’extensions “au pluriel”, cela devient un vrai cauchemar.
    Le GAC a une action êxtrêmement importante pour les utilisateurs. N’oublions pas que les futurs titulaires de noms de domaine sont les premiers impactés par les erreurs de l’ICANN.
    Registrant 🙂

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