The third batch of new gTLD collisions lists has been released by ICANN, raising the average number of domains that registries are being told to block on extremely cautious security grounds.
The average number of second-level domains to be blocked per gTLD is now 1,904, largely due to the impact of very large lists for .uno (which has 8,187) and .sexy (6,560), which were published yesterday.
This number is only going to get bigger as more cool-sounding Latin-script gTLDs raise the average.
It will be tempered somewhat by the IDN gTLDs, however. The average list for IDNs has only 253 names on it, based on the five published so far.
The most popular strings, ranked by the number of gTLDs’ lists in which they show up (out of a possible 18), are:
There are 30,581 unique second-level strings in total, all of which are fully cross-referenced and searchable at DI PRO.
The most-blocked exact-match brands so far are Yahoo and Google, which both appear on 10 lists. Apple, Facebook and YouTube appear as exact matches on eight.
Twelve new gTLD applicants, representing many dozens of applications, have called on ICANN to create an appeals process for when Community Objections have debatable outcomes.
Writing to ICANN and the International Chamber of Commerce this week, the applicants focus on the recent decision in the .sport case, which they said proves that ICC panelists don’t fully understand the Community Objection policy as laid out in ICANN’s Applicant Guidebook.
The signatories — which include Radix, United TLD, Donuts, Famous Four, TLDH and others — say that the ICC panelist simply assumed SportAccord represented the “sport” community and failed to pinpoint any “likelihood of material detriment” that would be caused by Famous Four’s .sport going ahead.
It seems to me that the latter arguments are much more well-founded.
While the letter tries to pick holes in the panelist’s finding that SportAccord represents enough of the “sport” community to be able to win the objection, the arguments are pretty tenuous.
The applicants use an definition of “community” found elsewhere in the Guidebook, for example, to attempt to show that the panelist failed to follow the guidelines for establishing a community in a Community Objection.
The panelist’s actual ruling uses the definition of “community” from the relevant part of the Guidebook and seems to follow it fairly closely. The applicants make a poor job of questioning his logic.
However, on “detriment”, the letter seems to be on much firmer ground.
It argues that the panelist deliberately lowered the bar from “likelihood of material detriment” to “possibility of material detriment” in order to hand SportAccord a victory.
The letter states:
If the Expert’s current logic is followed, every application, including the Objector’s own application, creates “possible” damage. In this case, an allegation of material detriment against any application would be upheld because there is future “possible” damage.
It also makes reference to the fact that the panelist appears to in many cases have been weighing the Famous Four application against SportAccord’s, which was not his job.
It reads in part: “The Expert did not identify a single objectionable or lacking aspect in the application that creates a likelihood of material detriment.”
The applicants call on ICANN to immediately create an appeals mechanism for Community Objections, and to ensure that ICC panelists are given training before making any more decisions.
Here’s the full list of signatories: Radix, United TLD, DotClub Domains, Top Level Design, Donuts, Top Level Domain Holdings, Priver Nivel, Fegistry, Employ Media, Famous Four Media, Merchant Law Group, DotStrategy.
Demand Media has confirmed its plan to spin off its domain name business into a separate company.
The new firm will be called Rightside. As the (rather good) name suggests, it will include the company’s interests in over 100 new gTLD applications and registries.
As well as United TLD, it will also include eNom, Name.com and Demand’s stake in NameJet.
Rightside will be based in Kirkland, Washington, and headed by new appointed CEO Taryn Naidu, who’s been running Demand’s domain unit internally for the last couple of years.
After six months, ICANN is finally giving its Governmental Advisory Committee what it wants. Kinda.
The New gTLD Program Committee has quietly sent its plan to implement the GAC’s so-called “Category 1″ advice on new gTLDs, which called for regulated gTLDs where applicants had applied for open namespaces.
But it’s rewritten the advice in such a way that it’s unlikely to win many fans in either camp, causing headaches for applicants while also falling short of giving the GAC everything it wanted.
In a letter to GAC chair Heather Dryden, ICANN chair Steve Crocker laid out the NGPC’s plan.
The Category 1 advice, which comprised eight “safeguards” applicable to at least 386 gTLD applications for 174 unique strings, has been rewritten, making it a little more palatable to the majority of applicants.
The list of strings has also been cut in two, with the 42 strings considered most often linked to highly regulated industries taking the brunt of the regulation.
These 42 may or may not find their business models killed off, but are certainly facing more friction as a result of the NGPC’s decision:
.abogado, .attorney, .autoinsurance, .bank, .banque, .bet, .bingo, .carinsurance, .casino, .charity (and Chinese IDN), .corp, .cpa, .creditcard, .creditunion, .dds, .dentist, .gmbh, .hospital, .inc, .insurance, .ira, .lawyer., .lifeinsurance, .llc, .llp, .lotto, .ltd, .ltda, .medical, .mutualfunds, .mutuelle, .pharmacy, .poker, .sal, .sarl, .spreadbetting, .srl, .surgery, .university, .vermogensberater, .versicherung
Each of these registries is going to have to sign up to eight new mandatory Public Interest Commitments, obliging them to engage with the industries associated with their strings, among other things.
And while the GAC wanted these strings to be limited to credential-holding members of those industries, ICANN seems to be giving the applicants much more implementation wiggle room.
The GAC had originally called for all 386 Category 1 registries to:
Establish a working relationship with the relevant regulatory, or industry self-regulatory, bodies, including developing a strategy to mitigate as much as possible the risks of fraudulent, and other illegal, activities.
But ICANN has reinterpreted the advice to make it a bit less onerous on applicants. It will also only affect 42 strings. The advice, now rewritten as a PIC, reads:
Registry operators will proactively create a clear pathway for the creation of a working relationship with the relevant regulatory or industry self-regulatory bodies by publicizing a point of contact and inviting such bodies to establish a channel of communication, including for the purpose of facilitating the development of a strategy to mitigate the risks of fraudulent and other illegal activities.
Does that PIC mean registries will actually be obliged to listen to or give policy-making power to the relevant industries on a formal basis? It’s ambiguous enough that the answer might easily be no.
The GAC had also called for some Category 1 gTLDs to become restricted to card-carrying members of the industry or industries the strings relate to, saying in Beijing:
At the time of registration, the registry operator must verify and validate the registrants’ authorisations, charters, licenses and/or other related credentials for participation in that sector.
ICANN has basically rejected that advice, replacing it instead with the much more agreeable (to registries) text:
Registry operators will include a provision in their Registry-Registrar Agreements that requires Registrars to include in their Registration Agreements a provision requiring a representation that the Registrant possesses any necessary authorisations, charters, licenses and/or other related credentials for participation in the sector associated with the Registry TLD string.
You’ll notice that the ICANN version does not require credentials to be provided at the point of registration. In fact, the PIC seems to require nothing more than a check-box that the registrant must click.
This is obviously tolerably good news for applicants that had proposed unrestricted policies for their gTLDs — they no longer face the kiss of death in the registrar channel that the GAC’s version would have created — but let’s not pretend it’s what the GAC had asked for.
Again, it only applies to the 42 strings ICANN has identified as particularly broadly regulated.
These registries are not getting an easy ride, however. They will have to enforce a post-registration regime of verifying credentials in response to complaints. The new ICANN PIC reads:
If a Registry Operator receives a complaint expressing doubt with regard to the authenticity of licenses or credentials, Registry Operators should consult with relevant national supervisory authorities, or their equivalents regarding the authenticity.
It’s implied, but not stated, that uncredentialed registrants should lose their domains. Again, the ICANN version of the GAC advice may be less of a nightmare to implement, but it’s still very vague indeed.
For any Category 1 applicant that is not on the sub-list of 42 sensitive strings, there will be three new PICs to adopt.
These all instruct the registry to require registrars to get registrants to agree to abide by “all applicable laws”. It’s the kind of stuff that you usually find in registration agreements anyway, and doesn’t appear at first look to present any hugely problems for registries or registrars.
Overall, ICANN seems to have done a pretty good job of making the Category 1 advice less onerous, and applicable to fewer applicants, than the GAC originally wanted.
But applicants for the 42 strings most heavily affected still face some vague contractual language and the very real possibility of industry complaints in future.
We’re wrapping up the dotShabaka Diary series today with this, the final entry from general manager Yasmin Omer.
It’s been an interesting ride, and I thank Yasmin and the dotShabaka team for the time and effort they’ve put into sharing their experiences with DI readers.
Tuesday 5 November 2013
After four months of journal entries, the dotShabaka Registry Diary is wrapping up today following the delegation of شبكة. and official commencement of Sunrise.
The journey has been long and challenging at times. After all the blood, sweat and tears, I strongly believe our experience will be to the benefit of other applicants to follow.
Along the way we experienced the joys of passing pre-delegation testing and commencing Sunrise, but we also documented the lows of name collisions and difficulties in writing a Registry Registrar Agreement.
Throughout the journey it was helpful to receive feedback and comments from the community supporting our cause. This dialogue helped get us to where we are today and a special thank you must be made to IBM’s TMCH team, ICANN, the Pre-Delegation Testing team at IIS (and the PDT Helpdesk) and the many Registrars who have connected with us along the way. Also, a big thank you to Domain Incite and Kevin Murphy for making this journal series possible.
As our delegation journey comes to an end, our TLD launch strategy begins. We have strong ambitions for شبكة. to be the centre of all things Arabic online and we encourage you to continue to watch our progress via our website.
As a parting message, below are our top five tips for other applicants:
Communication is vitally important throughout the process. Be prepared for important emails at any time of the day. When in doubt, always clarify with ICANN and your advisors first. If you are not sure ask ICANN through the CSC portal and if you don’t get a good answer from ICANN ask again through the CSC portal.
2. Seamless integration with RSP
Ensure you have open lines of communication with your Registry Services provider to avoid hiccups and delays. We received technical communications that should have been intended for ARI Registry Services, but our close working relationship with them helped ensure a smooth process.
3. Sort out your product and strategy
Registrar community, potential Registrants, media and interest groups will want information about your TLD. Be ready to describe your TLD, the primary market, eligibility, the launch strategy and other key information.
4. Expect the unexpected
This goes without saying, especially in the ICANN ecosystem. Be flexible and prepare for the worst.
5. The ICANN interface is improving
We understand that many of the frustrations with ICANN occurred because we were the first, and we were pushing hard to go to market. However, it is improving. ICANN are now sending a media kit and hopefully one day someone will get a Welcome Pack.
Good luck to all the other applicants, we’ll be closely watching your progress through delegation.
Read the full series here.