Never one to miss the chance for a bit of trouble-making, the Association of National Advertisers has demanded a full independent probe into ICANN’s TLD Application System bug.
Writing to ICANN today, ANA president Bob Liodice has pointed to the TAS outage – now in its 13th day – as an example of why the new gTLD program needs to be scaled back.
“Doesn’t this situation demonstrate the need for a pilot project/test roll-out of the new Top Level Domain process to resolve any such problems before a major roll-out?” he asks.
In a press release, he added:
We are urgently requesting that the Department of Commerce and its National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) exercise their oversight of ICANN and encourage ICANN to engage an independent IT expert to fully investigate this serious and inadequately explained vulnerability.
The ANA has of course been the loudest objector to the program, forming the Coalition For Responsible Internet Domain Oversight last year to lobby against the gTLD expansion.
Liodice’s latest letter puts 10 questions to ICANN, several quite sensible and precisely the kinds of things I plan to ask just as soon as ICANN changes its mind about doing media interviews.
But it also asks for the release of information ICANN has already provided or has said it intends to provide, such as the number of affected TAS users or the date of the first reported incident.
The ANA also does not appear to be aware that the ICANN board new gTLD subcommittee recently passed a resolution calling for more work on the defensive registration problem.
Liodice notes that ICANN has not responded to its demands for a “Do Not Sell” list that would enable brand owners to block others from registering their trademarks in the DNS.
You can read the letter in PDF format here.
ICANN currently plans to provide its next big update on the TAS outage before the end of Friday.
The Dotster-owned DNS service provider ZoneEdit this morning returned from an unexplained five-day outage that has left many users extremely miffed.
The interruption affected only ZoneEdit’s management interface, not its DNS resolution, so it only affected customers who needed to make changes to their zones.
Users first started reporting they couldn’t access their accounts on Friday.
I’ve reported the story for The Register here.
OpenRegistry will provide the back-end technical infrastructure for 20 new generic top-level domain applications filed by 15 clients, according to a report.
Dutch telco KPN, consultancy Deloitte and financial management firm LPL Financial are among its dot-brand clients, according to Knack.be, quoting executives.
Presumably, we’re looking at bids for .kpn and .lpl as well as .deloitte, which Deloitte confirmed earlier this month.
Its portfolio of applications also includes two cities – one is .gent for Ghent, the other is an American city – and two generic terms that have not yet been revealed.
(UPDATE: While OpenRegistry is not naming the American city, I hear through the grapevine that it might be Boston).
Its clients have a total market cap of $150 billion, according to the report.
That’s not a bad roster for the start-up, whose technical arm is known as Sensirius. The Benelux company was founded in late 2010 by former executives from EuroDNS and Belgian ccTLD manager DNS.be.
A year ago it won the contract to manage the back-end for .sx, the new ccTLD for Sint Maarten.
The International Rugby Board has applied to ICANN for the generic top-level domain .rugby with Top Level Domain Holdings, the IRB announced today.
It appears to be a defensive as well as offensive move, judging by the press release.
It’s about “protecting and promoting Rugby’s values and ethos” and ensuring .rugby “resides within the sport”, according to IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset.
The application will be filed in partnership with TLDH, as well as a new company called ROAR Domains, which appears to be a part of a Kiwi sports marketing agency.
If the bid is successful, TLDH subsidiary Minds + Machines will provide the registry back-end.
The IRB is the international body for rugby associations which organizes the Rugby World Cup.
There are already a few .sport bids, and the Australian Football League has applied for a .afl dot-brand, but I think .rugby may be the first sport-specific gTLD application to be announced.
If you’re just joining us, welcome to the ICANN community.
The TLD Application System will be offline for another week, possibly more, as ICANN struggles to deal with the fallout from its embarrassing data leakage bug.
ICANN had promised an update today on the timing of the reopening of TAS, which was taken offline April 12 just 12 hours before the new gTLD application filing deadline arrived.
But what applicants got instead was a promise to provide another timing update a week from now.
Chief operating officer Akram Atallah said in a statement:
identifying which applicants may have been affected by the technical glitch, and determining who may have been able to see someone else’s data, require extensive analysis of a very large data set. This is a time-consuming task, but it is essential to ensure that all potentially affected applicants are accurately identified and notified.
Until that process is complete, we are unable to provide a specific date for reopening the application system.
In order to give all applicants notice and an opportunity to review and complete their applications, upon reopening the system we will keep it open for at least five business days.
No later than 27 April 2012 we will provide an update on the reopening of the system and the publication of the applied-for new domain names.
So the best-case scenario, if these dates hold up, would see TAS coming back online Monday, April 30 and closing Friday, May 4.
The April 30 target date for the Big Reveal is clearly no longer possible.
ICANN has stated previously that it expects to take two weeks between the closing of the application window and the revelation of the list of gTLDs being applied for.
The Big Reveal could therefore be postponed until mid-May, almost a month from now.
Any applicant who has already booked flights and hotels in order to attend one of the various reveal events currently being planned by third parties may find themselves out of pocket.
Regular ICANN participants are of course accustomed to delay.
ICANN’s image problem now is rather with the hundreds of companies interfacing with the organization for the first time, applying for new gTLDs, which may be wondering whether this kind of thing is par for the course.
Well, yes, frankly, it is.
That said, the time to avoid this problem was during testing, before the application window opened in January.
Now that the bug has manifested, it’s probably in most people’s best interests for ICANN to fully understand went wrong and what impact it could have had on which applicants. This takes time.