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Chance of new gTLD delay “above zero”

Kevin Murphy, December 20, 2011, 12:59:38 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN has not completely ruled out the possibility that its new generic top-level domains program will be delayed, according to senior vice president Kurt Pritz.

Pritz was asked during a meeting of the GNSO Council last week whether the recent Congressional hearings into new gTLDs could lead to a delay of the January 12 launch.

“I think the risk is above zero,” Pritz said.

An “above zero” risk of delay could still mean a very small risk, of course.

He went on to point out that “the reputation of the multi-stakeholder model is wrapped up in this too”, and that to delay would be a disservice to all the people who have worked on the program.

He noted that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration assistant secretary Larry Strickling has come out in strong support of the multi-stakeholder model.

While the NTIA does not plan to enforce a delay, ICANN itself could make the decision under political pressure from elsewhere in the US, such as from Congress or the Federal Trade Commission.

Pritz faced a rough ride during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing last week, during which a number of Congressmen said they believed delay was appropriate.

The committee was largely concerned about the possible costs to trademark holders and implications for law enforcement agencies.

The hearing was called following lobbying by the Association of National Advertisers and the Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight.

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Comments (7)

  1. Gene says:

    Your headline should read:

    Chance of new gTLD Delay “Not Less Than 100%”

  2. Gene says:

    Call it an analyst’s hunch.

    The trade groups that are vehemently opposed to this program are the same ones whose members were/are overwhelmingly supporters of the the current U.S. administration. So there’s no way that they’re going to allow it to take a passive approach to this program; a program which they view as one that will cost them millions in incremental legal fees in exchange for no measurable benefit, whatsoever.

    I’d bet my bottom dollar that there are ’emergency’ phone conversations going on at this very moment between VIPs in business and the Executive Branch; and you don’t have to be a lobbyist to figure out what’s being said, e.g., “We desperately need your help to put the brakes on this program, and we’re expecting you to come to our aid if you want our support in 2012.”

    I know: This program is global, and the U.S. is only one country of many. But it is a powerful and influential one, isn’t it?

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      It certainly is.

      That’s why it’s going to look bad for ICANN in the rest of the world if it looks like it bends to US pressure.

  3. Gene says:

    You’re probably right, but that won’t cause the opponents to hesitate one bit.

    I hope this blog keeps covering the latest developments in this saga. It makes for interesting reading.

    Thanks.

  4. M says:

    StĂ©phane Van Gelder: Do you feel that there’s any risk that the program will be delayed?

    Kurt Pritz: Well I think the risk is above zero. I think that, well I know that the Department of Commerce has made, after the Senate hearing made a very, very strong public statement that the reputation of the multi stakeholder model is wrapped up in this too.
    And to take all the work that’s been done over the years, the very careful work and unravel it with a delay at this point would not only dis-serve the new gTLD program. And all the people that worked on it, but would also dis-serve the multi stakeholder model and so that the Department of Commerce will not do.
    So after the close of the Senate hearing the Department of Commerce came out publicly and said they were not going to delay the process.

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