A domain name registrar association from Bulgaria is laying the groundwork to appeal ICANN’s rejection of the country’s proposed Cyrillic top-level domain.
Uninet has filed a Documentary Information Disclosure Policy request, asking ICANN to publish its reasons for turning down the .бг (.bg) application and the criteria it used.
The domain, which had the backing of the Bulgarian government and people, was rejected in May on the grounds that it is “confusingly similar to an existing TLD”, believed to be Brazil’s .br.
In order to prepare for a future appeal, the Uninet organization wants ICANN to release:
1. The DNS Stability panel working criteria (or parts of it) that were applied to evaluate and subsequently reject the Bulgarian application.
2. The decision of the DNS Stability panel, used to reject the Bulgarian application.
While the ICANN panel’s decision isn’t exactly a state secret (even I have a copy), there seems to be a feeling in Bulgaria that ICANN may not have released all of its reasoning.
The document does not, for example, specify which TLD .бг is confusingly similar to.
It does, however, reveal just how strict ICANN is when it comes to evaluating IDN domains, including a default assumption that any two-letter string is confusing.
We note that two-character strings consisting of Unicode code points in the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic script blocks are intrinsically confusable with currently defined or potential future country code TLD
We therefore apply a very conservative standard in our assessment of applied-for strings that consist of two Greek, Cyrillic, or Latin characters, including a default presumption of confusability to which exceptions may be made in specific cases.
Uninet said that the Bulgarian government plans to challenge the .бг decision if and when ICANN revises its existing IDN ccTLD Fast Track program to create an appeals process. It wrote:
Many people have criticized the lack of transparency and appeal options in this process, but after the ongoing public comment period we hope that it would be amended by the ICANN Board and the Bulgarian government (as a requester) will have the chance to apply for a re-evaluation of the proposed string.
In the meantime, the Bulgarian government’s IT ministry today started encouraging its citizens to write to ICANN to demand that its application is re-evaluated.