ICANN chairman Steve Crocker has again said he expects the new generic top-level domains program to kick off next week as planned, and that he expects it to “run smoothly”.
His comments came in a New Year email sent to the rest of the ICANN board of directors, as well as the chairs of the community’s various policy-making bodies.
Here’s an extract focusing on new gTLDs:
In terms of immediacy, the opening of the window for applications for new gTLDs is January 12, ten days from now. This is occupying a large fraction of our attention and is also the source of much attention from our stakeholders and others watching us. An enormous amount of work has gone into the program and I, among many, many others, are eager to see what will happen. The opening of the window on January 12 will be a noteworthy day, but the closing date, three months later and the publication date for the names a bit later will also be quite noteworthy. I know there is a bit of controversy over some specific aspects of the program, but I am confident the program is well constructed and will run smoothly.
It also touches on broader themes, notably ICANN’s effectiveness as an organization:
We often emphasize our commitment to a multi-stakeholder model. There’s no question this is important. However, from my point of view, we are organized around broad participation from all parties because it’s a system that has worked well in the Internet ecology. And “working well” means the job gets done. If we are not effective and reasonably efficient at doing the job we were created to do, the details of our processes will matter very little. We have many processes in place to measure ourselves in terms of transparency, accountability and other attributes of fairness. I applaud and support all of these, but I would like us all to keep in mind that in addition to these very important measures that we also focus on making sure that we deliver the service our community needs.
This echoes remarks Crocker made at ICANN’s last meeting, in Dakar last October, when he stamped his authority down on the registrar community, which stood accused of dragging its feet over improvements to how it deals with law enforcement.
“If all we have is process, process, process, and it gets gamed or it’s ineffective just because it’s not structured right, then we have failed totally in our duty and our mission,” he said at that time.