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Who’s objecting to .sport, .health, .kids and more

Kevin Murphy, August 2, 2012, Domain Registries

Today, the number of comments filed with ICANN on new gTLD applications surpassed the number of applications themselves, and we’re now starting to see more significant objections.

At the time of writing, 1,939 comments have been filed on 584 applications by 834 unique individuals and organizations.

Here are some recent comments from notable organizations.

Save the Children

The international charitable non-governmental organization Save the Children has expressed concerns about all four .health applications.

Here’s a snippet:

The health Internet is a vital means of health information access worldwide. Thus, “.health” and health related top level domains should be trusted and reliable resources which take the public interest into account and are based on broad-based, multi-stakeholder consensus. In this regard, it is particularly worrying that the current applicants intend to sell the “.health” gTLD on a ‘first-come, first-served’, wholesale and auction basis, placing private interests ahead of the public interest.

We urge ICANN to postpone the assignment of “.health” until such time as following broad-based consultation of the health community, including the public and private sectors, adequate baseline conditions for their operation are elaborated and their implementation and observance is ensured.

The same comment was filed by International Medical Informatics Association, indicating an orchestrated campaign is underway.

All were filed as Community Objection Grounds, suggesting that .health could run into objection delays down the road.

But Save the Children, which has better things to do with its money, may not necessarily object itself. I’d say .health is a prime candidate for a community-based intervention by the Independent Objector.

I’m also expecting the Governmental Advisory Committee to take a healthy interest in these applications.

International Olympic Committee

The International Olympic Committee has, as expected, thrown its support behind the .sport application filed by SportAccord, which already has strong ties with the Olympic movement.

There are only two applications for .sport (though Donuts is going for .sports) and while SportAccord’s is a community-based bid, a successful Community Priority Evaluation is by no means assured.

However, if the IOC is half as belligerent about .sport as it has been about the new gTLD program in general then I expect Famous Four Media, the other .sport applicant, has a fight on its hands.

Notably, the IOC invokes ICANN’s new IANA contract to back up its claim that SportAccord should be the rightful owner of .sport:

new IANA contractual requirements require ICANN in connection with new gTLDs to document “how the process provided the opportunity for input from relevant stakeholders and was supportive of the global public interest. “ Therefore, SportAccord is the only applicant for the .SPORT gTLD which can serve the global public interest in connection with the operation of the gTLD on behalf of the global sports community.

Lego Juris

Lego Juris, the extremely brand-conscious producer of overpriced kids’ building blocks, has filed complaints about 80 applications, all of which appear to be the same form letter.

As you might imagine from the most prolific filer of UDRP complaints in history, Lego’s primary concern is cybersquatting and preventing the need for defensive registrations.

Here’s Lego’s comment:

While we of course support enhanced fair competition, we call on the evaluators to ensure the maintenance of a clean Internet space by impressing on the new registries the importance of not accepting second level names within their gTLDs that may be confusingly similar to our trade marks, especially from applicants believed to be registering in bad faith.

To avoid consumer confusion and the wasted resources of needless dispute resolution procedures, legal actions and defensive registrations (none of which benefit consumers), as well as proving to the entire community that the registries do wish to act in good faith in a clean space, we request that new registries develop “blocked” lists of brand names that should not be registered absent evidence of good faith. Such lists could take the form of “white lists” at the second level that could only be lifted if requested by and for the brand owner.

This comment was filed against .kids, .group, .inc, .gmbh, .discount, .deals, .direct and many, many more.

All of these comments, incidentally, are logged in the DI PRO new gTLD application database.

SportAccord picks CORE for .sport gTLD bid

Kevin Murphy, January 10, 2012, Domain Registries

SportAccord, an international association of sporting federations, has picked CORE as its registry services provider for its .sport generic top-level domain application.

The organization, which has International Olympic Committee backing, has also confirmed that it will be applying for .sport as a “community” gTLD.

Community applications can avoid a costly auction in the event that their chosen gTLD string is contested and the applicant can meet a rigorous set of community support criteria.

With over 100 international sporting organizations, covering everything from football to tug of war, comprising its membership, SportAccord’s bid should be good for a few points on the Community Priority Evaluation, but success is by no means assured.

The Lausanne, Switzerland-based organization announced its intention to apply for .sport, issuing an RFP, back in September 2011.

I’m aware of at least two other organizations that have publicly announced potential .sport applications.

CORE currently runs the back-end for the .cat and .museum gTLDs.

Olympic-backed .sport bidder looking for partners

Kevin Murphy, September 2, 2011, Domain Registries

SportAccord, a worldwide coalition of sports federations with Olympic support, is looking for partners to help it with a possible .sport top-level domain bid.

In a request for proposals published today, the organization said it is looking not only for expertise and potential technical partners, but also financial backing:

The objective of SportAccord is to develop the best possible promotion of Sports Themed gTLDs by leveraging its unique relationship with its members, and to establish a usage policy that ensure respect of Sports key values.

SportAccord is therefore seeking to developing partnership with entities that could bring technical expertise and financial support to the common development of Sport themed gTLDs.

The 17-question RFP reveals that the organization has evidently done its homework.

Questions cover pertinent topics such as registrar integration, trademark protection, premium name monetization, and how to beat the ICANN threshold score for community-based applications.

The deadline for replying is September 30.

SportAccord, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, is an umbrella group comprising the international federations for over 100 sports, covering everything from football to tug of war.

The RFP states that the International Olympic Committee supports its gTLD initiative.

That’s an endorsement that may prove the deal-breaker for any .sport application. The IOC has been a vigorous defender of its rights in the new gTLD program.

Its lobbying efforts most recently compelled ICANN to build special protection for Olympic trademarks into the Applicant Guidebook itself (as well as lumbering the GNSO and ICANN staff with a bunch of unnecessary policy-development work).

Two other organizations have previously announced .sport applications

The loudest, Ron Andruff’s DotSport LLC, had appointed some of SportAccord’s member federations to its policy advisory council.

But SportAccord says in its RFP that “neither SportAccord nor any of its Members have made any commitment to support or participate in any sport themed gTLD.”

It looks like we may be looking at yet another push of the reset button on a well-lobbied gTLD.

The SportAccord RFP can be downloaded here.

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