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Google junks three of its new gTLD applications

Kevin Murphy, September 6, 2012, Domain Registries

The identities of the first four new gTLD applications to be withdrawn have been revealed by ICANN.

Google has, as predicted, dropped its bids for .and, .are and .est, because they’re protected three-letter country-codes listed in the ISO 3166 alpha-3 standard.

An application for .ksb, by the KSB, a German maker of “pumps, valves and related liquid transportation systems”, has also been withdrawn, though the reasons are less clear.

KSB is not a protected geographic string, nor has .ksb received any negative public comments. I’m guessing the application was an unnecessary defensive move.

With Google expected to lose 30% of its application fees for the three withdrawn applications ($165,000) I can’t help but wonder why ICANN allowed it to apply for the strings in the first place.

The ban on ISO 3166 alpha-3 codes in the Applicant Guidebook appears to be hard and non-negotiable. The strings essentially enjoy the same degree of exact-match protection as Reserved Names such as .iana and .example.

However, while the TLD Application System was hard-coded to reject attempts to apply for Reserved Names, banned geographic strings did not get the same safeguards.

There’s one other application for an ISO 3166 alpha-3 string — .idn — which does not appear to have been withdrawn yet.

There are at least 16 other applications for protected geographic words that may require government support — but are not outright prohibited — according to our DI PRO study.

According to ICANN, six applications have been withdrawn to date. The change in status only shows up on ICANN’s web site after the refunds have been processed, however.

Google, which applied as Charleston Road Registry, has 98 new gTLD applications remaining.

Did Google withdraw three new gTLD applications?

Kevin Murphy, August 10, 2012, Domain Registries

Is Google behind the three new gTLD applications that have already been withdrawn?

ICANN senior veep Kurt Pritz revealed yesterday that three applications were already on the scrap heap, long before they’ve been evaluated, but he didn’t say which ones.

After a helpful nudge from a DI commenter, my best guess now is that they’re Google’s applications for .and, .are and .est.

As I blogged here and reported here over a month ago, these three strings are all protected geographic names, under ICANN’s rules.

They’re the ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 codes for the United Arab Emirates, Estonia and Andorra, which would be classified as country names and therefore banned by the Applicant Guidebook.

Many thanks to Silvia for the reminder.

Three Google gTLD applications doomed to fail

Kevin Murphy, July 3, 2012, Domain Policy

Google has applied for three new generic top-level domains that will almost certainly be rejected because they are on ICANN’s list of banned geographic strings.

I reported the story for The Register yesterday.

The applications for .and, .are and .est are affected by the rule that prohibits the delegation of three-letter country codes appearing on the ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 list.

A fourth application by a different company, for .idn, is also impacted by the same rule.

Based on DI’s analysis, there are at least another 16 new gTLD applications that are not currently self-designated geographic but which are also protected (but not banned) as geographic terms.

English dictionary words, brands and acronyms are affected.

DI PRO subscribers can read the full analysis here.