Employ Media, manager of the .jobs top-level domain, has become the first registry operator to take ICANN to arbitration to fight off a shut-down threat.
The company in the last hour said it has filed a Request for Arbitration with the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, after informal efforts to reach agreement with ICANN broke down.
Employ Media CEO Tom Embrescia said in a statement:
This filing was necessary to ward off ICANN’s unwarranted and unprecedented threat of contract termination. That action created immediate uncertainty about the .JOBS TLD on the Internet and caused significant duress on our business.
ICANN had threatened to terminate the .jobs registry agreement – which I believe is pretty much the only option available to it in the case of a perceived breach – in February.
The filing means .jobs can operate as normal until the situation is resolved.
The dispute is essentially about Universe.jobs, a jobs listing service operated by the DirectEmployers Association using tens of thousands of generic .jobs domain names granted to it by Employ Media.
The .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition, made up of independent jobs boards, complained to ICANN that Universe.jobs went against the spirit and letter of the original .jobs Charter.
Employ Media says that Universe.jobs was essentially authorized when ICANN approved its Phase Allocation process for handing out generic domains last year.
Employ Media is represented by lawyers from Crowell & Moring, some of the same individuals responsible for ICM Registry’s defeat of ICANN at its Independent Review Panel last year.
The request for arbitration can be read here in PDF format.