Belgium wants Donuts’ application for .spa rejected after the new gTLD applicant declined to sign a deal with the city of Spa.
In a March 20 letter to ICANN, published today, the Belgian deputy prime minister Johan Vande Lanotte said “negotiations between the stakeholders are closed”, adding that Belgium:
requests the Board of Directors of the ICANN to delegate the new “.spa” gTLD to the candidate who has a formal agreement with the local authorities of Spa and in respect of the public interest.
That’s the other applicant in the two-horse .spa race, Asia Spa and Wellness Promotion Council, which has promised to earmark up to 25% of its European profits to spa-related uses in the environs of Spa.
The letter was sent a week before the Governmental Advisory Committee issued its Singapore communique, which noncommittally noted that it “welcomes” the agreement between Spa and ASWPC.
ICANN may or may not be currently in receipt of firm, consensus GAC advice to accept or reject either of the remaining .spa applications.
In Beijing a year ago, the GAC put .spa on a list of gTLD strings where “further GAC consideration may be warranted” and asked ICANN to “not proceed beyond Initial Evaluation”.
At the Durban and Buenos Aires meetings last year the GAC said ICANN should not “proceed beyond initial evaluation until the agreements between the relevant parties are reached.”
Given that Donuts and Spa evidently cannot come to an agreement, ICANN presumably remains advised to keep one or both .spa applications on hold. The advice is pretty vague.
The string “spa” is not a geographic name within the rules of the new gTLD program. Donuts argues that it’s too generic nowadays to belong just to Spa.