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First .post domains going live

Kevin Murphy, October 25, 2012, Domain Registries

After entering the DNS root in August, the .post gTLD has started accepting its first registrations.

The Italian postal service is one of the first web sites with a .post address to go live, according to the Universal Postal Union, the registry manager.

Its site at posteitaliane.post appears to be more than just a mirror of its main .it site.

The postal services from Malaysia and Brazil have also signed up, according to the UPU.

The UPU has grand plans for the gTLD, promising a “global track and trace application” that will “enable customers to track the items they have ordered until final delivery.”

Secret ICANN briefing fuels IGO new gTLDs debate

Kevin Murphy, September 10, 2012, Domain Policy

The Universal Postal Union, newly installed .post registry manager, has launched a withering attack on ICANN for protecting some intergovernmental organizations and not others.

Its salvo follows the release of briefing materials — previously redacted — that ICANN’s board was given when it approved the new gTLD program at the Singapore meeting in June 2011.

The UPU says that the documents show that ICANN engaged in “ex post facto attempts at justifying legally-flawed decisions” when it decided to give extra protection to the Olympics and Red Cross/Red Crescent movements.

As you may recall, these protections were granted by the ICANN board when the program was approved, following lobbying of the Governmental Advisory Committee by both organizations.

In the current round, nobody was allowed to apply for gTLDs such as .redcross or .olympic, or translations in dozens of languages. There are also ongoing talks about extending this protection to the second level.

Some have argued that this would lead to a “slippery slope” that would resurrect the problematic Globally Protected Marks List, something ICANN and the GAC have denied.

They have maintained that the IOC/RC/RC movements are unique — their marks are protected by international treaty and many national laws — and no other groups qualify.

Other IGOs disagree.

Almost 40 IGOs, including the United Nations and International Telecommunications Union, are lobbying for an additional 1,108 strings to be given the same protection as the Olympics.

If they get what they want, four applied-for gTLDs could be rejected outright and dozens of others would be put at risk of failing string similarity reviews.

According to the UPU’s latest letter, ICANN’s newly disclosed rationale for giving only the IOC/RC/RC organizations special privileges was based on a flawed legal analysis:

most of the recommendations contained in documents such as the Unredacted Paper seem to reflect, in an unambiguous way, ex post facto attempts at justifying legally-flawed decisions in order to narrow even further the necessary eligibility “criteria” for protection of certain strings, apparently so that only two organizations would merit receiving such safeguards under the new gTLD process.

In other words, according to the UPU and others, ICANN found itself in a position in June 2011 where it had to throw the GAC a few bones in order to push the new gTLD program out of the door, so it tried to grant the IOC/RC/RC protections in such a way that the floodgates were not opened to other organizations.

You can read the unredacted ICANN briefing materials here. The UPU letter, which deconstructs the document, is here.

It’s worth noting that the Applicant Guidebook already gives IGOs the explicit right to file Legal Rights Objections against new gTLD applications, even if they don’t have trademark protection.

Tonight a new gTLD went live

Kevin Murphy, August 7, 2012, Domain Registries

Just as people are starting to get seriously stressed about the imminent introduction of new gTLDs, a timely reminder that this is actually the third time ICANN has run a new gTLD program.

.post has just gone live.

The gTLD, which was applied for by the Universal Postal Union as part of the 2003/2004 round, has been in limbo since it was approved in December 2009, while the UPU figured out what to do with it.

It’s going to be tightly restricted to members of the international postal community, so it doesn’t carry any of the baggage of the last new gTLD launch, .xxx.

The registry has switched back-end providers since it first applied. It had planned to go with CORE, but following a competitive bidding process last year it’s moved to Afilias instead.

I’m not currently aware of any live second-level domains; tests on www.post and nic.post and a few other usual suspects are treated by my browsers as search queries.

The news of .post’s addition to the DNS root was tweeted by ICANN chief security officer Jeff Moss this evening.