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ICANN ponders rejecting all closed generics

Kevin Murphy, June 16, 2015, 12:42:18 (UTC), Domain Registries

ICANN is thinking about rejecting all the remaining “closed generic” new gTLD applications from the current round.

According to minutes of a June 5 New gTLD Program Committee meeting published last night, ICANN is considering two options.

First, it could “prohibit exclusive generic TLDs in this round of the New gTLD Program and consult with the GNSO about developing consensus policy for future rounds”.

Or, it could initiate a “community process… to develop criteria to be used to evaluate whether an exclusive generic applicant’s proposed exclusive registry access serves a public interest goal.”

The NGPC has not yet reached a decision.

The rejection option would be fastest and easiest, but risks the wrath of companies that applied for closed generics — which were always envisaged when the new gTLD rules were being developed — in good faith.

Alternatively, developing a process to measure the applications against the “public interest” would be very time-consuming, possibly not even feasible, and would add even more delay to competing applicants.

This is one of the longest-delayed responses to the Governmental Advisory Committee’s April 2013 Beijing communique, which said “exclusive registry access should serve a public interest goal.”.

Closed generics, which ICANN now calls “exclusive access” gTLDs, are dictionary words that the applicant proposes to keep for itself, allowing no third parties to register names.

There are currently only six new gTLD applications that are stubbornly sticking to their original closed generic position.

Applicants for another 175 gTLDs have either changed their applications to allow third-party registrants or denied that they ever even planned to give themselves exclusive access.

Of the six hold-outs, three are delaying their respective contention sets while ICANN endlessly mulls the problem.

Here’s a table showing the affected strings.

Lifestyle Domain Holdings, Inc. .foodContested by Donuts and Ecyber Solutions.
Booking.com B.V..hotelsUncontested.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. .groceryWas contested by Safeway, now uncontested.
Hughes Satellite Systems Corporation.dvrUncontested.
Dish DBS Corporation.dataContested by M+M and Donuts.
Dish DBS Corporation.phoneContested by Donuts.

The applicants for the closed generics have each submitted responses explaining why they believe their proposals serve the public interest. They’re largely corporate legalese bibble.

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Comments (5)

  1. How was decided which names would be “generic”? Has .mini for example been questioned?

    I think .makeup and .skin have, I seem to be unable to find the outcome on those.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      ICANN says generic is “a string consisting of a word or term that denominates or describes a general class of goods, services, groups, organizations or things, as opposed to distinguishing a specific brand of goods, services, groups, organizations or things”.

      So .mini would not be a generic because it’s meant to represent a brand of car rather than all small things.

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      Everything that GAC mentioned as generic, as marked as such. If GAC didn’t said it was generic, even though they said their list was not exhaustive, was not marked generic for contract processing.

      That doesn’t preclude registrants filing PICs on generic strings that don’t allow them to register, but only those explicitly mentioned by GAC are having to fight their way thru contract signing.

  2. Carlos Leone says:

    There are so many things wrong with this. First – there was nothing in the applicant guidebook prohibiting these types of applications. Clear and simple. Should there have been? Good question but not to be decided AFTER applicants paid their money and submitted the applications. For ICANN to drag this out as long as they have is a real disservice.
    If ICANN ultimately rules them out of bounds, this would be a great example of why the enforceability provisions that the Accountability teams are working on are so important. This would be a clear cut case of the ICANN Board acting in a unilateral fashion and the applicants should have the opportunity for redress with bite – not the toothless option accountability mechanisms in place
    If these companies were smart – they would do what Google has done and apply for waivers to the code of conduct and close them off that way. .drive, .play, .dev, and .hangout are all only able to be registered by Google. Dev is questionable but the others are clearly exclusive access dictionary terms.
    “Since the only registrant will be Registry Operator and its Affiliates, there is no need for a Code of Conduct to protect other registrants.”

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