Employ Media, the company behind the sponsored TLD .jobs, looks like it’s making a play to become a significantly more open gTLD.
The company has proposed a substantial relaxation of its registration policies, based on what may be a loophole in its ICANN registry contract.
Currently, the .jobs namespace is one of the most restrictive TLDs. Only company names can be registered, and registrants have to be approved HR professionals at those companies.
As you might imagine, it’s been phenomenally unsuccessful from a business point of view, with only about 15,000 domains registered since it went live five years ago.
Employ Media now wants to be able to register “non-companyname” domains, and is to apply to its sponsorship body, the Society for Human Resource Management, for permission.
Indeed, as ERE.net points out, the “proposed amendment” to its charter reads more like a claim that no amendment is required.
The company appears to be pursuing a business model whereby it could auction off geographical and dictionary words, as well as two-letter acronyms.
The company said in its policy docs that it wants to:
…explore other ways of provisioning/allocating non-companyname domains, including domain-industry standard practices like initiating Request for Proposals to invite interested parties to propose specific plans for registration, use and promotion of the domains, implementing auctions for the domains, and implementing a first-come, first-serve real-time, post-validation (if necessary) mechanism of allocation.
Because Employ Media’s hands are tied to a certain extent by its agreements with ICANN, it seems to want to be able register those juicy strings to itself, and then allow third parties to “use” them.
Under that service, thousands of geographical .jobs domains were to be registered in the name of Employ Media (that’s the registry operator, remember) and then “used” by DirectEmployers.
From the policy documents:
Employ Media “used” these domains in the DNS by redirecting them to a third party (the Direct Employers Association), who themselves “used” the domains by providing uniform, consistent content to all the domains
Does this look like semantics to anyone else? Or has Employ Media found a loophole in its sponsored TLD registry agreement?
This proposed change to .jobs charter appears to have slipped under the radar.
Its public comment period started on March 23 and ends today, and was announced via policy.jobs, a site that didn’t exist until February. It has attracted only a handful of comments.
SHRM will hold a teleconference at 3pm US Eastern time today to discuss the proposal, ERE.net reported.