Some new gTLD applicants, including two of the bigger portfolio applicants, have grudgingly accepted ICANN’s latest name collisions remediation plan as a generally positive development.
ICANN this week scrapped its three-tier categorization of applications, implicitly accepting that it was based on a flawed risk analysis, and instead said new gTLDs can be delegated without delay if the registries promise to block every potentially impacted second-level domain.
You may recall that yesterday dotShabaka Registry said on DI that the plan was a “dog’s breakfast” and criticized ICANN for not taking more account of applicants’ comments.
But others are more positive, if not exactly upbeat, welcoming the opportunity to avoid the six-month delays ICANN’s earlier mitigation plan would have imposed on many strings.
Uniregistry CEO Frank Schilling congratulated ICANN for reframing the debate, in light of Verisign’s ongoing campaign to persuade everyone that name collisions will be hugely risky. He told DI:
There has been a great deal of FUD surrounding name collisions from incumbent registry operators who are trying to negatively shape the utility of the new gTLDs they will be competing against.
I think it was important for ICANN to take control of the conversation in the name of common sense. These types of collisions are ultimately minor in the grand scheme and they occur each and every day in existing namespaces like .com, without the internet melting down.
I think anything that shapes conversation in a way that accelerates the process and sides with common sense is good, I have not yet thought of how this latest change can be gamed to the downside of new G’s.
Uniregistry has 51 remaining new gTLD applications, 20 of which were categorized as “uncalculated risk” and faced considerable delays under ICANN’s original plan.
Schilling’s take was not unique among applicants we talked on and off the record.
Top Level Domain Holdings is involved with 77 current applications as back-end provider — and as applicant in most of them — and also faced “uncalculated” delay on many.
CEO Antony Van Couvering welcomed ICANN’s plan less than warmly and raised questions about the future studies it plans to conduct, criticizing ICANN’s apparent lack of trust in its community:
Basically the move is positive. I characterize it as getting out of jail in exchange for some community service — definitely a trade I’ll make.
On the other hand, the decision betrays ICANN’s basic lack of confidence in its own staff and in the ICANN community. You can see this in the vagueness of the study parameters, because it’s not at all clear what the consultant will be studying or what criteria will be used to make any recommendations — or indeed if anything can be said beyond mere data collection.
But more important, they are hiring an outside consultant when the world’s experts on the subject are all here already, many willing to work for free. ICANN either doesn’t think it can trust its community and/or doesn’t know how to engage them. So they punt on the issue and hire a consultant. It’s a behavior you can see in poorly-run companies anywhere, and it’s discouraging for ICANN’s future.
Similar questions were posed and answered by ICANN’s former new gTLD program supremo Kurt Pritz, in a comment on DI last night. Pritz is now an independent consultant working with new gTLD applicants and others.
He speculated that ICANN’s main concern is not appeasing Verisign and its new allies in the Association of National Advertisers, but rather attempting to head off future governmental interference.
Apparently speaking on his own behalf, Pritz wrote:
The greatest concern is the big loss: some well-spoken individual going to the US Congress or the European Commission and saying, “those lunatics are about to delegate dangerous TLDs, there will be c-o-l-l-i-s-i-o-n-s!!!” All the self-interested parties (acting rationally self-interested) will echo that complaint.
And someone in a governmental role will listen, and the program might be at jeopardy.
So ICANN is taking away all the excuses of those claiming technical risk. By temporarily blocking ALL of the SLDs seen in the day-in-the-life data and by putting into place a process to address new SLD queries that might raise a risk of harm, ICANN is delegating TLDs that are several orders of magnitude safer on this issue than all of the hundreds of TLDs that have already been delegated.
Are you a new gTLD applicant? What do you think? Is ICANN’s plan good news for you?