That first batch of new gTLD application changes in full

Kevin Murphy
November 6, 2012
Analysis

ICANN has published the first batch of approved new gTLD application changes.

There are 29 approved changes to date, of 138 change requests received by ICANN. Most of the changes are corrections to typographical errors, copy/paste errors or changes in contact information.

However, the changes also create one new contention set, reflect the acquisition of one applicant by another, and in one case create an entirely new answer to question 18 (mission/purpose of the gTLD).

Because ICANN did not publish red-line versions of the applications, we have compared the amended applications to the originals and here present a condensed analysis of what changes were made to which applications.

The changes will be also reflected in the DI PRO application database over the coming days.

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New gTLDs and ccTLD string confusion: what are the chances?

Kevin Murphy
July 26, 2012
Analysis

SX Registry may have denied rumors – fueled by its erotically charged launch marketing – that it already has plans to object to the two applications for .sex generic top-level domains, but the new Sint Maarten ccTLD registry is far from alone when it comes to potential string similarity clashes with new gTLD applications.

In fact, applicants for three-character gTLDs are more likely than not to find themselves in the same position as ICM Registry SX LLC and Internet Marketing Solutions Limited Ltd, the two .sex applicants, wondering whether they will face objections from ccTLDs.

If .SX Registry is able to object to .sex on visual similarity grounds, 169 other ccTLD registries have the same rights to object to other gTLD applications, we have found.

Of the 375 applications for three-letter gTLDs in the first round, 304 have only one character variance with one or more existing ccTLDs, according to DI PRO’s string similarity analysis. In total, if a single additional character is enough to create similarity, there are 368 potential ccTLD/gTLD conflicts in the current application round.

The visual similarity ratio between ccTLDs and gTLDs, as measured by the algorithm developed by Sword Group for ICANN, is in many cases only a few percentage points lower than in the case of TLDs that have already been rejected on confusing similarity grounds.

This analysis discusses the String Confusion Objection as it relates to ccTLDs and presents the raw results of our similarity checks, including Sword tool results for each of the 368 potential conflicts.

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What the UN’s latest demands mean for new gTLD applicants

Kevin Murphy
July 23, 2012
Analysis

The United Nations has stepped up its campaign to have the names and acronyms of hundreds of Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs) granted special protections under ICANN’s new gTLD program, putting several first-round applications at direct risk of rejection.

According to DI PRO’s analysis, if the UN’s proposals – which are supported by 38 IGOs – are adopted by ICANN precisely as demanded, at least four current new gTLD applications would be rejected outright, dozens more could be at risk of failing string similarity reviews, and dictionary words could be banned from future rounds.

Disturbingly for many applicants, noises from the Governmental Advisory Committee lately suggest that this scenario may not be as unlikely as it first appeared when the IGO demands surfaced late last year.

This article explains the current proposals to reserve more strings in the new gTLD program, examines the current state of policy-making, and provides three spreadsheets of strings and gTLD applications potentially affected by the debate.

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20 new gTLD applications that think they’re not geographic, but are

Kevin Murphy
July 2, 2012
Analysis

At least 20 new gTLD applications that have not self-designated their strings as “geographic” risk being categorized and evaluated as such anyway, according to DI PRO’s analysis.

Four of these applications will likely fail evaluation completely — or will preemptively be withdrawn for a refund — and 16 more stand at risk being asked to provide letters of non-objection from governments around the world.

The affected strings include dot-brands and generic terms that do not, to an English speaker, appear geographic at first glance. They do, however, appear on the lists of geographic strings protected by the Applicant Guidebook.

The following analysis looks only at the 20 applications that are not currently designated geographic (not the 49 applications that are) but which in our determination are likely to fail the Geographic Names Review.

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Interview: Rod Beckstrom on the TLD Application System bug

Kevin Murphy
April 30, 2012
Analysis

The following is a lightly edited transcript of an interview between DI PRO and ICANN president and CEO Rod Beckstrom that took place on Sunday, April 29, 2012.

Speaking for the first time since April 12, when ICANN took its TLD Application System offline due to a security bug, Beckstrom addresses the efforts ICANN is making to bring the system back online and discusses the possible timing for the Big Reveal of new gTLD applications.

He also gives some insight into the background of the bug, ICANN’s efforts to test TAS before it went live, ducks questions about the full impact of the problem, and explains why ICANN made the decision to pull the plug on TAS April 12.

Do you have any information that hasn’t been already disclosed in ICANN’s daily updates that you’re happy to discuss now?

Yes there is. For example, I’m going to share the fact that, first as CEO I take full responsibility for the resolution of this issue. And it’s very much my hope… let me just state this: we know this affects applicants, we know it affects various parties and causes concern and causes anxiety because the system is down for a period of time, but we did this because we believe it was the proper thing to do for the safety and security of the program.

As CEO I’d like to see us obviously get the technical issues resolved, notify applicants, reopen the window and publish the strings before I pass the baton in Prague. That’s not a commitment at this point in time, it’s an indication as CEO that it’s absolutely my intention to push for a timely resolution of this issue.

Is that a likely time-line, that we won’t get the Big Reveal until Prague?

I’m not going to commit on probabilities, I think that’s a possibility, what I’m mentioning is my commitment to push this thing forward, providing we can ensure the quality, and try to get things wrapped up by that time. If we can get things done sooner then the sooner the better.

What’s the hold-up?

There are two major streams that are involved here. One is dealing with the software glitch and also software performance enhancements we want to do. The second one has to do with the data analysis and notifying the affected parties.

On the software glitch side we have identified the bug, we believe we have fixed the bug, we have conducted tests and we cannot get the bug to reappear. So we believe the system is stable but we are continuing to test because that’s what we need to do to develop further confidence in tge reliability the of system in this specific aspect. We’re also looking at some very specific changes to enhance system performance. That’s the technical side, on that side the bug’s been fixed we’re in testing mode on that and we’re still evaluating the performance side, which performance tuning choices we need to make.

Why not reopen TAS now and conduct the audit simultaneously?

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