dotgay LLC has appealed its Community Priority Evaluation defeat again, filing a new Request for Reconsideration with ICANN this week.
It’s an unprecedented second use of the RfR process to appeal its CPE loss, in which the Economist Intelligence Unit panel decided the applicant’s definition of “gay” was far too broad to award dotgay enough points to pass the evaluation.
But dotgay wants ICANN to initiate a third CPE, to be carried out by anyone other than the EIU.
The EIU panel said earlier this month that it had “determined that the applied-for string does not sufficiently identify some members of the applicant’s defined community, in particular transgender, intersex, and ally individuals”.
It awarded dotgay 0 out of the possible 4 points available on “Nexus” criteria, meaning the applicant failed to hit the 14 points required to win.
While the RfR dodges the transgender issue altogether, dotgay has some interesting arguments in response to the “ally” question.
It’s now claiming that “ally” refers to companies and organizations that support the equal rights cause (because non-human legal entities don’t have a gender identity or sexual preference) and to proxy registrars:
Now, since an organization or company in itself can impossibly be “lesbian” or “gay”, Requester has been seeking for a way to also position these companies and organizations in this community definition. For this reason, Requester has referred to these organizations as “allies” in the context of the LGBTQIA definition.
Furthermore, as stated in the Application, LGBTQIAs are a vulnerable group in many countries and societies, and too often still the subject of prosecution for who they are. In order to put in place safeguards for those gay community members who do not wish to be directly associated with a domain name registration, organizations and companies who in essence cannot be “non-heterosexual” should have the possibility to act as a proxy service, which is common practice in the domain name industry.
In any case, any such “ally” must be approved by an Authentication Partner in order to be able to register a domain name in its own name or in the name or on behalf of a third party who meets the LGBTQI requirements.
It’s an interesting argument, but I can’t see anything in its original application that would support such a position.
dotgay may be on stronger ground with its claim that it unfairly lost one point on the “Opposition” criteria of the CPE.
Two points were available there. Applicants could lose one point immediately if there was a single letter of opposition from a relevant, non-negligible organization.
The EIU seems to have been in possession of such a letter, though its CPE ruling does not name the opponent.
dotgay thinks the opponent was the Q Center, a community center in Portland, Oregon, which opposed dotgay in writing in 2014 but, following a change in its board of directors, retracted that opposition (pdf).
So it may be the case that dotgay unfairly lost a point.
Regaining that point would not be enough to give the company a winning CPE score, but if the EIU screwed up that may be grounds for ICANN to initiate another rerun of the CPE.
However, it’s quite rare for ICANN’s board of directors to approve an RfR.
If dotgay loses, it will either have to go to auction against its rival applicants or file an Independent Review Process complaint, its final avenue of appeal.
Read its RfR here.