Could VeriSign be about to face off against China for control of the Chinese version of .com? That’s an intriguing possibility that was raised during the .nxt conference last week.
Almost as an aside, auDA chief Chris Disspain mentioned during a session that he believes there are moves afoot in China to apply to ICANN for “company”, “network” and “organization” in Chinese characters. In other words, .com, .net and .org.
I’ve been unable to find an official announcement of any such Chinese application, but I’m reliably informed that Noises Have Been Made.
While neither company has specified which scripts they’re looking at, Chinese is a no-brainer. As of this week, the nation is the world’s second-largest economy, and easily its most populous.
Since we’re already speculating, let’s speculate some more: who would win the Chinese .com under ICANN’s application rules, VeriSign or China?
If the two strings were close enough to wind up in a contention set, could VeriSign claim intellectual property rights, on the basis of its .com business? It seems like a stretch.
Could China leapfrog to the end of the process with a community application and a demand for a Community Priority Evaluation?
That also seems like a stretch. It’s not impossible – there’s arguably a “community” of companies registered with the Chinese government – but such a move would likely stink of gaming.
Is there a technical stability argument to be made? Is 公司. (which Google tells me means “company” in Chinese) confusingly similar to .com?
If these TLDs went to auction, one thing is certain: there are few potential applicants with deeper pockets than VeriSign, but China is one of them.
UPDATE: VeriSign’s Pat Kane was good enough to post a lengthy explanation of the company’s IDN strategy in the comments.