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New gTLD registry contract approved, but applicants left hanging by GAC advice

ICANN has approved the standard registry contract for new gTLD registries after many months of controversy.

But its New gTLD Program Committee has also decided to put hundreds more applications on hold, pending talks with the Governmental Advisory Committee about its recent objections.

The new Registry Agreement is the baseline contract for all new gTLD applicants. While some negotiation on detail is possible, ICANN expects most applicants to sign it as is.

Its approval by the NGPC yesterday — just a couple of days later than recently predicted by ICANN officials — means the first contracts with applicants could very well be signed this month.

The big changes include the mandatory “Public Interest Commitments” for abuse scanning and Whois verification that we reported on last month, and the freeze on closed generics.

But a preliminary reading of today’s document suggests that the other changes made since the previous version, published for comment by ICANN in April, are relatively minor.

There have been no big concessions to single-registrant gTLD applicants, such as dot-brands, and ICANN admitted that it may have to revise the RA in future depending on how those discussions pan out.

In its resolution, the NGPC said:

ICANN is currently considering alternative provisions for inclusion in the Registry Agreement for .brand and closed registries, and is working with members of the community to identify appropriate alternative provisions. Following this effort, alternative provisions may be included in the Registry Agreement.

But many companies that have already passed through Initial Evaluation now have little to worry about in their path to signing a contract with ICANN and proceeding to delegation.

“New gTLDs are now on the home stretch,” NGPC member Chris Disspain said in a press release “This new Registry Agreement means we’ve cleared one of the last hurdles for those gTLD applicants who are approved and eagerly nearing that point where their names will go online.”

Hundreds more, however, are still in limbo.

The NGPC also decided yesterday to put a hold on all “Category 1” applications singled out for advice in the Governmental Advisory Committee’s Beijing communique.

That’s a big list, comprising hundreds of applications that GAC members had concerns about.

The NGPC resolved: “the NGPC directs staff to defer moving forward with the contracting process for applicants who have applied for TLD strings listed in the GAC’s Category 1 Safeguard Advice, pending a dialogue with the GAC.”

That dialogue is expected to kick off in Durban a little over a week from now, so the affected applicants may not find themselves on hold for too long.

Negotiations, however, are likely to be tricky. As the NGPC’s resolution notes, most people believe the Beijing communique was “untimely, ill-conceived, overbroad, and too vague to implement”.

Or, as I put it, stupid.

By the GAC’s own admission, its list of strings is “non-exhaustive”, so if the delay turns out to have a meaningful impact on affected applicants, expect all hell to break loose.

GNSO still breathing as ICANN retracts “flawed” Trademark+50 thinking

Kevin Murphy, July 2, 2013, Domain Policy

The Generic Names Supporting Organization isn’t dead after all.

ICANN’s Board Governance Committee has retracted a document related to new gTLD trademark protections that some on the GNSO Council believed spelled the end of the multistakeholder model as we know it.

The BGC, in rejecting a formal Reconsideration Request related to the “Trademark+50” mechanism, had used a rationale that some said was overly confrontational, legalistic and gave ICANN staff the ability to ignore community input more or less at will.

We reported on the issue in considerable detail here.

The committee on Friday retracted the original rationale, replacing it with one (pdf) that, while still containing some of the flawed reasoning DI noted last month, seems to have appeased the GNSO Council.

Neustar policy VP Jeff Neuman, who raised the original concerns, told the Council: “I believe the rationale is much more consistent with, and recognizes, the value of the multi-stakeholder model.”

The BGC did not change its ultimate decision — the Reconsideration Request has still been rejected and Trademark+50 is still being implemented in the new gTLD program.

Four new gTLD applications withdrawn, including one closed generic

Four new gTLD application were withdrawn overnight, including the first “closed generic” bid to be dropped since ICANN implemented a freeze on such applications.

Today’s withdrawals are:

  • .movie — Of the eight applications for this string, this Dish DBS bid was one of only two proposed with single-registrant business models. It would have undoubtedly have been captured by the current ICANN hold on closed generics.
  • .chesapeake — A dot-brand filed by Chesapeake Energy. It had already passed Initial Evaluation. While arguably a geographic string, it had not been classified as such by ICANN and had no objections or GAC advice.
  • .chk — An abbreviation of the above, matching Chesapeake’s stock market ticker symbol. It had also already passed IE and had a clear run at delegation.
  • .kerastase Yet another L’Oreal dot-brand application, the sixth of its original 14 bids to be withdrawn.

The total withdrawals to date now stands at 94, 49 of which were uncontested.

See all new gTLD withdrawls and Initial Evaluation results in a handy timeline

Kevin Murphy, July 2, 2013, Domain Services

From today, DI PRO users have a new feature for tracking new gTLD withdrawals that removes the huge pain and inconvenience of actually having to read DI and other domain blogs.

It’s been the mostly commonly requested feature over the last couple of weeks, and we’re happy to oblige.

The New gTLD Program Timeline lists all withdrawals, evaluation results and other major changes to application status, in chronological order.

There are over 1,100 entries in the database so far, going back to August 2012. Withdrawals are automatically updated daily, IE results weekly on Friday evenings UTC.

It’s designed for utility. Here’s a screen grab:

New gTLD Timeline

To join the growing ranks of DI PRO subscribers click here. Subscribers also get access to the following tools and searchable databases:

Daily new gTLD program stats, searchable Initial Evaluation scores, the most comprehensive and flexible database of gTLD applications available anywhere, and much more.

90 passes and 2 failures in this week’s gTLD results

ICANN has just delivered this week’s batch of Initial Evaluation results, with 90 passes and two failures to report.

The two applications that failed to achieve passing scores are Commercial Connect’s .shop and .supersport, a dot-brand filed by a South African television company. Both are eligible for extended evaluation.

Commercial Connect is the first applicant to fail to achieve a passing score on its technical evaluation.

I believe the company, which was among the unsuccessful applicants in the 2000 round of new gTLDs, is one of the few applicants this time around proposing to self-host its registry back-end.

It did, however, pass the financial component of the evaluation.

SuperSport failed, like nine others before it, on its financial evaluation, having scored a 0 on its “Financial Statements” question.

These are the passing applications this week:

.shop .viking .nagoya .osaka .shop .cruise .baidu .motorcycles .bananarepublic .allfinanzberatung .shiksha .top .bio .republican .aol .mail .navy .fyi .jcb .photos .wine .app .diy .law .data .foo .film .corp .ibm .physio .htc .pohl .chanel .gdn .ubs .secure .woodside .ultrabook .gold .show .soccer .map .web .coffee .apple .compare .markets .schule .fitness .courses .hotel .discover .spreadbetting .ngo .cbs .immo .home .drive .williamhill .racing .movie .store .barefoot .kaufen .memorial .abb .bbva .cpa .unicom .voto .skype .vet .doctor .tennis .space .nab .web .bet .scor .food .fail .konami .day .games .garden .book .hosting .ollo .montblanc .click

There are now 909 passing applications and 11 eligible for extended evaluation.