Reading through the policies of new gTLD registries has given me cause to double-take several times, but .voting has to be one of the oddest yet.
Ostensibly an English-language gTLD, managed by a registry based in Switzerland, .voting domains will be essentially restricted to residents of Germany, according to its policies.
[UPDATE: The policy was actually submitted by mistake. See this story for an update.]
The Domain Name Registration Policy (pdf) submitted to ICANN by the registry, Valuetainment, states:
Registrants are obliged to supply an individual resident in the Federal Republic of Germany as contact person for all registered domains. This contact is generally described as the administrative contact (Admin-C). The registrant ca name himself as Admin-C.
My German isn’t great, and I’m aware that German speakers are very relaxed about adopting English words into common usage, but I’m pretty sure the language has its own verb for voting.
What makes the Germans-only admin contact policy weirder is that Valuetainment is Swiss and its policies state that the registration agreement is subject to Swiss law.
The .voting policy only states that the Administrative contact in Whois has to be German, which means that the main Registrant contact could technically be based in any country.
But if that registrant can’t name a German as an Administrative contact, technically they’ll be in violation of the rules.
It’s possible that registrars will be able to supply a local proxy in Germany, if they have one or want to go to the expense of setting one up, but it seems like a hassle.
There are a few other oddities in .voting’s policies.
Notably, Valuetainment is not just selling you a domain name, it’s granting you a license to use its “.voting” European Community trademark. Its Eligibility Policy (pdf) states:
For the duration of the registration, the Registry grants the user of a . VOTING domain a right of use with regard to the European Community Trade Mark No. 1111568 (. VOTING]. The license fees are included in the registration fee.
Registrants will be banned from charging for their services — .voting web sites must all be provided free of charge unless they’re providing “statistical voting evaluations”.
They’ll also be banned from offering directories of .voting sites, because Valuetainment intends to offer such a service and doesn’t want any competition.
Also, presumably so the registry can comply with local laws, any attempt to deny the Holocaust will cause your domain to be yanked under the company’s Rapid Takedown Policy (pdf).