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On day one, Donuts in breach of new gTLD contract

Kevin Murphy, October 24, 2013, 10:10:01 (UTC), Domain Registries

Ooops! Donuts accidentally broke the terms of its first new gTLD Registry Agreement last night, just hours after its first string, .游戏, was delegated to the DNS root.
If you’ve been following the name collisions debate closely, you’ll recall that all new gTLD registries are banned from activating any second-level domains for 120 days after they sign their contracts:

Registry Operator shall not activate any names in the DNS zone for the Registry TLD (except for “NIC”) until at least 120 calendar days after the effective date of this agreement.

For the first four gTLDs to go live, that clock doesn’t stop ticking until November 12.
And yet, last night, Donuts activated, apparently in violation of its new contractual obligations with ICANN.
The name was live and resolving for at least an hour. Donuts pulled it after we asked a company executive whether it might be a breach of contract.
I don’t think it’s a big deal, and I doubt ICANN needs to take any action.
Chalk it down to the understandable ebullience that naturally accompanies finally getting delegated to the root after such a long and painful evaluation process.
The 120-day rule was also a late amendment to Specification 6 of the RA, added by ICANN just seven days before .游戏 was delegated and over three months after Donuts signed the original contract.
It’s designed to address the potential for collisions between second-level domains in new gTLDs and names used on internal networks that already have working SSL certificates.
The no-activation window was chosen to match the 120-day period that the CA/Browser Forum gives its certificate authority members to revoke clashing certificates.
It seems unlikely will have caused any security issues during the brief period it was alive.

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Comments (12)

  1. Mike says:

    Isn’t this gTLD open for IDN xn-- names anyway? Is “donuts” allowed second level name for this extension?

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      I’m not sure about Donuts’ policy for registrants, but I know the other three new gTLDs intend to be only idn.idn spaces.

  2. M says:

    Any idn.idn’s (游戏.游戏) activated yet? ascii.idn ( defeats the whole purpose. Registrants are waiting 13+ years to activate their idn.idn domains in .com/.ком and .org/.орг

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      The registries aren’t allowed to activate anything except nic. until their 120 days are up. There’s no exception for IDN equivalents of nic. as far as I know.

  3. It’s absurd that Donuts can’t use their own name for their own TLD. It’s absurd that, with the TLD names known, certificate authorities can’t start informing the people they need to inform now.
    If it takes 120 days, there’s no good reason that everyone can’t be put on notice immediately. Does ICANN seriously think that an applicant who has passed through all the evaluation and testing is not going to sign a contract and proceed to delegation? Even if they do, collisions will happen in the case of a misconfiguration, and so should be corrected in any case. Maybe I’m missing something, but I really don’t see why certificate authorities shouldn’t act now.
    This seems to be another case of ICANN putting any risk, no matter how remote, no matter how much it inconveniences or disrupts registries, ahead of any other consideration. I hope no-one lets them know that there’s a remote chance that a meteor might hit the earth or they might put everything on hold until registries construct meteor-proof domes over their servers. Sheesh.

  4. Kevin Murphy says:

    It would be hard to disagree with that evaluation Antony.

  5. Drewbert says:

    “The no-activation window was chosen to match the 120-day period that the CA/Browser Forum gives its certificate authority members to revoke clashing certificates.”
    Have they issued any certificates in xn-- format?
    Isn’t this more likely to be an ASCII-only problem that the IDN newGTLD’s could be exempt from?
    If you add this to the bizarre blocklists that kill off some of the best keyword domains in the new IDN GTLD’s, you have to give ICANN -ve marks for lumping IDN’s in with ASCII, instead of treating them differently.

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      NTAG suggested such exemption in public comments, but ICANN ended up treating IDNs and ASCII TLDs with exactly the same rules.

  6. Jothan Frakes says:

    My personal opinion is that it would be completely sane and reasonable to activate about.tld, nic.tld and http://www.tld upon root zone listing and delegation.
    I suggested those as examples based upon recent launches, but Whatever the string(s) are in this safe pool, they would be consistent across all new launches, and should also be such that they would best serve their respective audiences (so equivalent strings in the supported languages of the registry if they are doing IDN).
    This would be so users can test them out and know they work or find more information about the new strings from the registry.
    it seems extremely unlikely doing so would break the internet, and it would add immense utility in a practical way for internet users, while giving public participants of the internet a clear means of access and understanding to the new strings and big changes to the way their internet works.

  7. Devan says:

    I have a question how this will effect real domain names. As M stated above “游戏.游戏” what happens to people(me) own the domain (游戏游戏.com) & (
    Q:Which “generic”domain name will take priority in search engines?
    Q:People already complain about IDN domain names due to phishing scams, are the IDN’s about to get fished themselves?

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