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Go Daddy objects to numeric .tel domains

Kevin Murphy, November 19, 2010, 20:09:31 (UTC), Domain Registries

Go Daddy has objected to Telnic’s plan to start selling numeric .tel domain names, saying that it, among other things, “smells a lot like gaming”.
Telnic applied to ICANN last month to revise its registry contract to enable it to start selling domains containing numbers and hyphens.
I speculated a month ago that the International Telecommunications Union might object to the proposal, for reasons I explained in some depth.
(Briefly, Telnic won the .tel sponsored TLD partly because it promised for years not to enable domains that could look like phone numbers.)
But the ITU had nothing to say, at least in terms of the ICANN public comment period.
Go Daddy’s Tim Ruiz did object last Saturday on related grounds, telling ICANN:

We believe that this request cannot be granted without requiring the rebidding of the .tel sTLD itself. It is unfair to other applicants and potential applicants to allow an sTLD to change its purpose after the fact.

Since community, purpose, and use were such important aspects of the sTLD allocation decisions it seems inappropriate, fundamentally unfair, and even smells a lot like gaming, to allow an sTLD to change those aspects without an opportunity for others to bid competitively.

In response to Ruiz’s letter, Telnic chief executive Khashayar Mahdavi wrote to ICANN:

The restriction on all-numeric strings has nothing to do with the nature of .tel and was instead a measure put in place to address initial concerns about potential conflicts with ENUM… We believe time and the growing understanding of the .tel technology have proven such a conflict does not exist.

ENUM is a protocol for addressing voice services using the DNS. It uses dots between each individual digit of a phone number, which would be specifically disallowed under Telnic’s plans.
Mahdavi also expressed confusion as to why Go Daddy bothered to object – it is not currently a registry, it does not carry .tel domains and it will presumably not be affected by the relaxation of the .tel rules.
Is it possible the registrar is taking a principled stance?
Ruiz also noted:

We believe that certain other recent requests under the guise of the RSEP [Registry Services Evaluation Process] by sTLDs were also likely inappropriate for similar reasons

He didn’t specify which sTLDs he was talking about. Without wishing to put words into his mouth, I can think of at least one that fits the description.
The Telnic proposal has already passed ICANN’s staff evaluation. I expect it could come before the board next month at its Cartagena meeting.
In separate news, Telnic’s less-controversial proposal to start selling one and two-character .tel domains has now passed its ICANN evaluation (pdf).

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Comments (3)

  1. I share that concern about TLD applicants promising one thing, getting the TLD, and then seeking one-sided changes. I’ve posted numerous times about it, so it’s positive to see someone at GoDaddy finally taking notice.
    ICANN of course has left this “gaming” wide open for new TLD applicants, as I noted most recently at:
    “We see the same abuse happening in the RSEP policy, where ICANN regularly rubber-stamps one-sided
    proposals by registry operators…..ICANN simply does not protect consumers when considering registry contractual changes. With an unlimited number of new TLDs, all clamouring for additional one-sided concessions, it’s clear ICANN (and the public) cannot scale properly to handle and review all these requests. With Vertical Integration, even registrars would not be looking out for consumers anymore, because registrars
    would have a conflict of interest if they themselves also operate registries. What we’ll see is more and more abusive requests like that which took place by
    .biz/info/org (for tiered pricing)…..and the public will simply be overwhelmed and not able to keep up with all the “loopholes” that new TLD operators will try to sneak through.

  2. […] controversial request to ICANN to liberalize its registration policies, which I previously covered here and here. Related posts (automatically generated):Uber-short .travel domains up for […]

  3. […] release of numeric .tel domains was the subject of a minor controversy when Telnic first made the request to ICANN last […]

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