ICANN has rejected demands by the Belgian government by giving Donuts the go-ahead to proceed with its application for .spa, which Belgium says infringes on a geographic name.
Noting that the Governmental Advisory Committee had submitted no consensus advice that Donuts .spa bid should be rejected, the ICANN board’s New gTLD Program Committee said last week “the applications will proceed through the normal process.”
That means the two-way contention set is presumably going to auction.
The English dictionary word “spa” derives from Spa, a small Belgian town with some springs.
The other applicant is Asia Spa and Wellness Promotion Council, which has made a deal with Spa to donate some of its profits to local projects and give the city some control over the registry.
Donuts refused to sign a similar deal, leading to Belgium last month asking ICANN to delegate the gTLD to ASWPC and not Donuts.
The GAC’s last word on .spa was this, from the recent Singapore meeting:
Regarding the applications for .spa, the GAC understands that the relevant parties in these discussions are the city of Spa and the applicants. The GAC has finalised its consideration of the .spa string and welcomes the report that an agreement has been reached between the city of Spa and one of the applicants.
There’s no ICANN fudging here; if the GAC wanted to issue a consensus objection it could have.
The question is: why didn’t it?
Why does the string “amazon”, which does not exactly match the name of a place in its local languages, qualify for a GAC objection, while “spa”, which exactly matches the name of a city, does not?