.CLUB Domains has come up with a simple workaround for its applied-for .club gTLD being categorized as risky by ICANN.
The company wants to reserve the top 50 .club domains that currently see DNS root traffic, so that if and when .club goes live the impact on organizations that use .club internally will be greatly reduced.
It’s not a wholly original idea, but .CLUB seems to be unique at the moment in that it actually knows what those 50 strings are, having commissioned an Interisle Consulting report of its proposed gTLD.
You’ll recall that Interisle is the company that ICANN commissioned to quantify the name collisions problem in the first place.
Its report is what ICANN used to categorize all applied-for gTLD strings into low, high and “uncalculated” risks, putting .club into the uncalculated category, delaying it by months.
(Interisle was at pains to point out in its report for .CLUB that it is not making any recommendations, interpreting the data, or advocating any solutions. Still, nice work if you can get it.)
By reserving the top 50 clashes — presumably in such a way that they will continue to return error responses after .club is delegated — .CLUB says .club would slip into ICANN’s definition of a low-risk string.
In a letter to ICANN (pdf) sent today, .CLUB chief technology officer Dirk Bhagat wrote:
blocking the 50 SLD strings from registration would prevent 52,647 out of the 89,533 queries from a potential collision (58.88%). After blocking the top 50 strings as SLD strings, only 36,886 (41.12%) queries remain, which is 12,114 fewer invalid queries at the root than .engineering, which ICANN classified as a low risk gTLD.
He adds that a further chunk of remaining SLDs are random strings that appear to have been created by Google’s Chrome browser and, many say, pose no risk of name collisions, reducing the risk further.
It’s hard to argue with the logic there, other than to say that ICANN’s categorization system itself has already come in for heavy criticism for drawing unjustified, arbitrary lines.
The list of domains .CLUB proposes to block is pretty interesting, including some strings that appear to be trademarks, the names of likely .club registrants, or potentially premium names.