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Registry avoids .jobs shut-down

Kevin Murphy, April 20, 2011, 11:47:17 (UTC), Domain Registries

Employ Media has come to a deal with ICANN to avoid having its .jobs registry contract revoked, at least for the next few weeks.

Following discussions with ICANN’s lawyers, the company plans to amend its Charter, and has agreed to stop allocating non-company-name .jobs domain names until May 6.

ICANN threatened to terminate the .jobs registry deal in February, after Employ Media started allocating thousands of premium vocational and geographic domains to a partner, the DirectEmployers Association, to act as entry points for Universe.jobs.

In a breach notice (pdf), ICANN said that this use of .jobs domains “is inconsistent with the purpose stated in the .JOBS Charter and represented to the ICANN community”.

The .JOBS Charter ostensibly restricts registrations to human resources professionals, but in practice there’s a great big loophole that allows anybody to cheaply qualify for a domain.

In February, ICANN general counsel John Jeffrey told Employ Media:

By not establishing any meaningful restrictions on who may register second level registrations in the .JOBS TLD, Employ Media put in operation a TLD where anyone can register names, thus defeating the purpose for which the sponsored TLD came into existence.

In its response, the registry noted that it had followed ICANN’s proper procedures for introducing new “registry services”, such as the Phase Allocation Plan that allowed it to seed Universe.jobs.

It accused ICANN of bending to the wishes of the .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition, a group of independent jobs sites operators that had objected to Universe.jobs.

Employ Media’s chief executive Brian Johnson wrote:

This is a sad day for both the Internet community and the international human resource management community. ICANN should be promoting competition and working cooperatively with its contractual parties, but instead is choosing to ignore the plain meaning of its contract with Employ Media in order to appease some apparently well‐financed and well‐connected provocateurs.

Since that letter (pdf) was sent, ICANN and the registry have been engaged in private discussions aimed at resolving the conflict, as allowed by the registry agreement.

In the latest set of correspondence, exchanged over the last week, it has emerged that ICANN has agreed to give Employ Media time to remedy the situation by amending its Charter.

The letters do not reveal whether the amendments will allow Employ Media to continue to offer Universe.jobs or not. I suspect they will.

The amendments may require the company to consult with its nominal sponsor, the Society for Human Resource Management.

ICANN wants a proposed Charter amendment on its desk by May 2. It has agreed to take no further action related to the breach of contract allegations until May 6.

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Comments (6)

  1. […] days have passed and now ICANN is giving Employ Media a reprieve and is working with the group to amend its charter to come into […]

  2. […] days have passed and now ICANN is giving Employ Media a reprieve and is working with the group to amend its charter to come into […]

  3. […] days have passed and now ICANN is giving Employ Media a reprieve and is working with the group to amend its charter to come into […]

  4. […] ICANN has held discussions with Employ Media on whether or not the registry will stop allocating non-company-name .jobs domains. The company planned to renew their charter this year, while ICANN  threatened to terminate their registry deal after the company starting allocating premium vocational geographic domains, specifically Universe.JOBS, to DirectEmployers Association, a partner of the company. ICANN also notified Employ Media in a breach of contract notice that the company was violating the .JOBS charter and was misrepresenting the ICANN community. By allowing any company to register for second level registrations in the .JOBS TLD it defeats the purpose of the TLD’s existence. Since the dispute ICANN has been having private discussions with the company to resolve the issue. Employ Media does not think they are violating the charter and that ICANN should be allowing competition with contractual partners.  ICANN will be creating an amendment to the charter by May 2nd and will take no further action on contractual breaches until May 6th. For Further information please read Domain Incite. […]

  5. […] earlier email exchange, which I blogged about here, revealed that ICANN had asked the company to amend its […]

  6. […] days have passed and now ICANN is giving Employ Media a reprieve and is working with the group to amend its charter to come into […]

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