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Will ICANN punt .xxx in Brussels?

Kevin Murphy, June 17, 2010, 15:43:24 (UTC), Domain Registries

Is ICANN set to delay approval of the proposed .xxx top-level domain – again – in Brussels?

That’s my reading of ICANN’s latest document concerning ICM Registry’s long-running and controversial battle for a porn-only TLD.

This week, ICANN submitted its summary of the public comment period that ran to May 10. It’s a fair bit shorter than the one Kieren McCarthy compiled for ICM last month.

As usual, it’s written in a fairly neutral tone. But, if you’re feeling conspiratorial, the mask does slip on occasion, perhaps giving a sense of where the .xxx application could head next.

The ICANN summary occasionally breaks from reporting what a commenter actually said in order to highlight a potential problem they did not address.

Example (my emphasis):

Only two commenters directly addressed the question of further interaction with the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) on the .XXX sTLD Application. Both of those commenters were against seeking any further input from the GAC outside of any public comment period. Neither of these commenters – nor any other – addressed the potential violation of the ICANN Bylaws that could result from the Board’s failure to properly consider the advice of the GAC

This suggests, to me, that the ICANN board will be receiving advice to the effect that further GAC input needs to be forthcoming before it can move forward with .xxx.

If this is the case, the GAC might have to produce some advice before next Friday’s board meeting if ICM has any hope of getting back around the negotiating table prior to Cartagena in December.

That’s not the only reason to believe ICANN may punt .xxx again, however. Elsewhere in the report, we read (my emphasis again):

For those in favor of proceeding with the .XXX sTLD Application, many created an alternative option – that ICM and ICANN should proceed to a contract right away. There was substantial discussion on this point in the ICM submissions. Few commenters addressed the technical realities identified within the Process Report ‐ that prompt execution of the agreement negotiated in 2007 is not feasible.

The Process Report referenced says that it is not possible to go straight into contract talks because ICM first applied for .xxx more than six years ago.

This has been a bone of contention. ICM points to .post, which was applied for at the same time as .xxx and only approved late last year, as proof that the passage of time should be no barrier.

But ICANN president Rod Beckstrom doesn’t buy that comparison. He wrote to ICM (pdf) at the end of March noting that .post was backed by the International Postal Union, whereas .xxx is “sponsored” by IFFOR, an organization created by ICM purely to act as its sponsor.

In that letter, Beckstrom talks about due diligence to make sure ICM and IFFOR still satisfy financial and technical criteria, and a review of whether .xxx “can still satisfy the requisite sponsorship criteria”.

I’ll admit that I’m breaking out the crystal ball a bit here, and I’ve been wrong before, but I don’t think it’s looking great for ICM in Brussels.

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Comments (4)

  1. Jim Fleming says:

    ICANN runs TLD Market-Trials

    ICANN is a private company with the right to select
    the “flavor” of their Market-Trials.

    New.Net runs TLD Market-Trials

    http://New.Net is a private company with the right to
    select the “flavor” of their Market-Trials

    The DNS Industry is now highly competitive and
    de-regulated. Via people’s selection of Software
    such as DNSMASQ and also DNS services such
    as OpenDNS, Google, etc. they shape the market.

    IANA is largely a U.S. Government DNS contractor.
    The IANA Root is a small subset of the DNS industry.

    If people want .XXX there are vISPs that can
    supply it. The new DNS TLD selections are
    automated without human interference.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      I see where you’re coming from, Jim, but I think that ship sailed some time ago.

      • Jim Fleming says:

        From the ICANN Blog, some other notes to consider.

        In CyberSpace, the Real Internet, ICANN may be one of the most
        disadvantaged organisms.

        What technical expertise does ICANN have in leading-edge DNS ?

        What technical expertise does ICANN have in SCUBA** DNS ?
        **Self-Contained UNIX BroadBand Appliances

        What role, if any, does ICANN play in the Dynamic DNS industry ?

        What Open-Source has ICANN contributed since 1998 ?

        What public benefit does ICANN provide to the DNS industry ?

        What technical expertise does ICANN have in Microsoft’s FREE
        DNS Peer Name Resolution Protocol – PNRP

        What technical expertise does ICANN have in 3D gaming and
        Social Networking ?

        Does ICANN operate any 3D Worlds, Islands, Realms, etc. ?

        In CyberSpace, the Real Internet, ICANN may be one of the most
        disadvantaged organisms.

        ICANN often refers to non-MeatSpace people as “Remote”. Could
        it be that ICANN is “Remote” relative to CyberSpace ?

        What if people under 25 years old have more leading edge DNS
        experience ? How many 20 year olds are involved in ICANN ?

        What technical expertise does ICANN have in DNSMASQ and
        DNSMASQ2 and NAT ?

        What role, if any, does ICANN play in CyberSpace Banking?
        Does ICANN operate any Domain Name Kiosks (ATMs) in 3D worlds?

        What technical expertise does ICANN have or encourage in the
        area of LOCAL DNS for 311 or local LAN Parties ?

        What technical expertise does ICANN have in DLNA ?

        What technical expertise does ICANN have in Internet@TV ?

        In CyberSpace, the Real Internet, ICANN may be one of the most
        disadvantaged organisms. Capable Netizens are moving forward.

  2. Jim Fleming says:

    Other notes:

    When the [480-bit DHT] becomes wide-spread and assumed to “just work”, something like the .COM
    DNS Registry becomes trivial and part of the network.
    Just like best-effort, always-on, broad-band, kids will
    assume it has always been there.

    Do you really think people will continue to pay (play)
    in this annual Registrar -> Registry renewal game ?

    FREE Twitter is the same way, it just works. It will
    become absorbed by the SCUBA architecture.

    If you have not played with a [480-bit DHT] it is
    a game changer, similar to phonograph needles
    and lasers or vacuum tubes and transistors.

    [480-bit DHT] – Services PUT(KEY,DATA,TIME) and GET(KEY) – 480-bit KEYs are very large – Register
    a “domain name” with one PUT ? for FREE ?

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