ICANN gTLD Comments
- To: 2gtld-guide@xxxxxxxxx
- Subject: ICANN gTLD Comments
- From: Jarrod <jarrod.seitz@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 11 Apr 2009 11:51:05 -0600
I agree with WorldWide Media Inc on the following comments:
We note however that ICANN not only ignored the vast majority of
first-round comments, including ours, which were against the introduction
of an unlimited number of new gTLDs, the removal of price caps, and other
matters, but ICANN introduced changes to the guidebook that were the exact
opposite of the recommendations, including those of the US Department of
Commerce and US Department of Justice, which called for:
ICANN’s giving greater consideration to consumer interests.
ICANN carefully weighing potential consumer harms against potential consumer
benefits before adding new gTLDs and renewing new gTLD registry agreements.
ICANN to establish competitive mechanisms for authorizing new gTLDs and
renewals of gTLD registry agreements whereby prospective gTLD operators
would compete for gTLDs by proposing registry terms, including maximum fee
schedules, that would provide consumer benefits.
ICANN of course not only ignored both recommendations, but did the exact
One can’t help but feel disturbed that ICANN can not only overlook high
quality input like that provided by the DOJ, but do the exact opposite. If
the DOJ’s comments are simply disregarded, how much weight are my comments
or anyone else’s going to be afforded?
I agree with Mr. Kirikos that VeriSign in the past, has erred by providing
price increases to registries instead of allowing for competitive tenders
and select the company that is willing and capabile of running the registry
for the lowest cost to the consumer.
Why would a new extension being sought by two or more companies be awarded
based on who was willing to pay ICANN the most money to run the registry
rather than on the basis of who would be willing to run the registry for the
lowest cost to the public?
ICANN has already stated that the application fee of $185,000 will cover
ICANN costs of implementation.
What is the benefit of then giving ICANN a windfall well above its costs
when its is suppose to be a non-profit corporation and has a track record of
losing millions of excess funds in the stock market.
Competitive contracts should simply be awarded to the qualified company
which is willing run the registry for the lowest cost to the consumer.
That should be the tie breaker.
Not the one willing to pay ICANN the most.
ICANN has failed to explain fails to explain why domain registration costs
at the wholesale level (i.e. from VeriSign, Neustar, PIR, Afilias, etc.)
are going up towards $7/yr and beyond where as the cost of other
technologies have been going down and other companies have already expressed
interest in running the .com registry for example, for less than 1/2 the
costs currently charge.
If we have learned anything in this tough economic climate and time of
political change that the days of the no bid contract is over.
The days of given out deals, which hurt consumers, but line the pockets of
huge corporations is over.
If ICANN does not take a fair approach court challenges will mount, and most
the money ICANN had to lose in the stock market will have to be spent
defending its decisions.
When contracts come up for renewal Registry operators should be able to be
Contract should be opened to bid by any capable company and awarded to the
Would the citizens of the world allow a government to award a contract to
one company to build every road in the world, on a no bid contract with
automatic renewals and no price caps?
It’s just plain silly.
We agree with My Kirikos and also urge the US government and in particular
the Department of Justice to investigate the no-bid monopoly nature of all
existing gTLD registry operator contracts.
When domain registry costs should be close to $2/yr instead of $7/yr, and
when one multiplies this by over 100 million domain names, this represents
a $500 million/yr and growing abuse of consumers through
anti-competitive behaviour. This represents a fundamental failure of ICANN,
one that ICANN now desires to expand to hundreds or thousands of more
What if the study by ABC Namebank is correct and over 18,000 companies apply
for their own gTLD, creating 33 Billion dollars in revenue in the first 3
years for ICANN?
At some point, and no one knows if its 100 or 500 or 5,000 extensions, but
at some point the number of extensions will cause mass confusion, the DNS
system will be unmanageable for users, domain holders, website owners and
Once you allow an unlimited number of extensions to be granted, the genie is
out of the bottle and there is no stuffing her back in.
The outcry from main street on ICANN’s plan has been overwhelmingly
Popular Science calls them pointless:
Religious groups already see the nightmare of who would control extensions
of religious and generic terms like .god
Does ICANN really want to put itself in the position of having to auction
off .god to the highest bidder, even if that group say is a pro-nazi group
Francis Gurry, WIPO Director-General says ICANN plan to that would allow an
unlimited amount of extensions a “nearly unmanageable task” for trademark
owners to monitor abuse:
Corporate America is widely opposed to the plan as well. The Wall Street
Journal reported Verizon Communications, Marriott International and New York
Life Insurance are among the companies arguing that the new domain
extensions could open the flood gates to Internet fraud and drastically
increase their costs of doing business online.
Intellectual property groups are also widely against the new proposals:
Even the Olympic committee is against the new extensions and is threatening
Simply put it seems almost everyone is against the new extensions except for
those looking to rake in the fees produced by them.
Another problem contained in the second draft of the guidebook is that
ICANN is basically putting all Geographical domains, now and forever, in
the hands of government.
In the US, don’t we have that already? Its called the .gov extension, and
it is only available by use of the federal government.
However this proposal is far more reaching as it applies not just to every
state and city in the US, but every country city around the world, every
City, County, Provence, or Region.
Simply put, ICANN has set up separate rules for Geo TLD extensions or those
that might look like a Geo domain, but is not.
According to the Guide book:
“”ICANN will review all gTLD applications to make sure the interests of
governments or public authorities in Country or Territory names, as well as
other types of place names.””
This means that if you apply for any new gTLD, ICANN will summit each
application to a special committee which will determine if the proposed
extension might be considered a Geo domain even if you didn’t intend it to
For example maybe you wanted a .mia extension for families of soldiers
missing in action.
That would probably we found to be a Geo extension and fall within these
special rules in the review committee.
This committee in that case would kick the application back to you and tell
you its a Geo domain extension in their opinion, and require you to get
permission from the city of Miami to give up their rights to the extension
and support your use.
The guidebook further says:
“””The following types of applications are considered geographical names and
must be accompanied by documentation of support or non-objection from the
relevant government(s) or public authority(ies):
“”An application for any string that is a meaningful representation of a
country or territory. A meaningful representation includes a representation
of the country or territory name in any language.””
“”A string is deemed a meaningful representation of a country or territory
name if it is:
“The name of the country or territory; or
“Part of the name of the country or territory denoting the country or
“A short-form designation for the name of the country or territory that is
recognizable and denotes the country or territory.
“An application for any string that is an exact match of a sub-national
place name, such as a county, province, or state.
“An application for any string that is a representation, in any language, of
the capital city name of any country or territory;
“An application for a city name, where the applicant declares that it
intends to use the gTLD for purposes associated with the city name.
“An application for a string which represents a continent or UN region
appearing on the “Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions,
geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings”
“In the case of an application for a string which represents a continent or
UN region, documentation of support, or non-objection, will be required from
a substantial number of the relevant governments and/or public authorities
associated with the continent or the UN region.
“An applied-for gTLD string that falls into any the above categories is
considered to represent a geographical name (GEO).
“In the event of any doubt, it is in the applicant’s interest to consult
with relevant governments and public authorities and enlist their support or
non-objection prior to submission of the application, in order to preclude
possible objections and pre-address any ambiguity’sies concerning the string
and applicable requirements.
“It is the applicant’s responsibility to:
1. identify whether its applied-for gTLD string falls into any of the above
2. determine the relevant government(s) or public authority(ies); and
3. identify which level of government support is required.
“The requirement to include documentation of support for certain
applications does not preclude or exempt applications from being the subject
of objections on community grounds, under which applications may be rejected
based on objections showing substantial opposition from the targeted
“The documentation of support or non-objection from the relevant government
or public authority should include a signed letter of support or
non-objection from the minister with the portfolio responsible for domain
name administration, ICT, foreign affairs or the Office of the Prime
Minister or President of the relevant jurisdiction.
“The letter must clearly express the government’s or public authority’s
support or non-objection for the applicant’s application and demonstrate the
government’s or public authority’s understanding of the string being
requested and intended use.”"
Why has ICANN given all of the possible new Geo gTLD’s and placed them in
the sole control of the respective jurisdictions?
Sure I understand and would agree with giving a jurisdiction preference in
competing Geo applications.
But to give jurisdictions absolute control over possible Geo extension seems
If a jurisdiction wants to apply for its own gTLD, god bless, but if they
don’t have the interest to do so, why give them veto power over private
industry from doing so?
Included in the definition of a GEO domain is,”geographical sub-regions, and
selected economic and other groupings.”
What does this mean? “selected economic and other groupings”.
Among the hundreds of pages that make up the guide book and attachments
thereto, I cannot find a discussion, of what the term “selected economic and
other groupings” might mean or include, or even an example of such a term.
Would an extension like .wallsteet, that someone might want to create for
the financial community, fall within this section?
I certainly could make the argument that .wallstreet is a “select economic
grouping” having a Geo component.
How about the “wine country” or the region in France which produces
What if you wanted to set up .champagne for that industry. Is champagne a
“select economic grouping”, as it often is referred to that region of France
where French, but not all champagne, is produced? (yes I also know its a
city in Illinois, that another problem discussed below).
Would you need the permission of the region to do such and extension, and if
so, it appears you would have to get the permission of the majority of the
jurisdictions that comprise the “champagne country” as it is called, an high
The possibilities of what might fall within “”select economic grouping” are
endless and undefined.
All you can do at this point is pony up your $185k and find out.
If you application is denied as being a Geo, whether intended or not, during
after the initial review it looks like you will get $65,000 back, so it will
only cost $120,000 to find out.
What if multiple cities with the same name apply for their cities gTLD?,
like .springfield for which there are many in the US alone.
It appears that cities would have to go through the same process that all
other applicants do.
Come to an agreement, which is impossible to do in any logical manner when
it comes to a Geo extension or go through the auction process .
So the good citizens of these cities would have to pony up their tax money,
and give it to ICANN to be the high bidder in an auction against other
cities and their taxpayers.
According to the guidebook, in the auction format, that you can only bid as
much as you have deposited with ICANN in advance.
So each city would have to go to the taxpayers and cough up hundreds of
thousands, maybe millions of dollars just to place them into ICANN account
so they could bid for their extension.
Sounds good, especially in these economic times when many city and state
governments are broke.
I can hear it the city hall meeting now. Good citizens we have to raise
your property tax 1% so we can raise money to have bidding capital in
applying for our domain extension.
Does ICANN really want to auction off extensions of cities and force the
taxpayers of those jurisdictions which are now scrambling to keep their
police and firefighters employed to cut services to the citizens to pay
ICANN hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in fees, that they can
then invest in the stock market?
Now for our suggestions to fix this mess:
1. Limit new gTLD introduction to no more than 5 per year, allowing for
proper absorption .
2. All new gTLD’s contracts need to be awarded to the company willing to
provide the service for the least cost to the public, not to the company
willing to pay the most to ICANN.
3. All contracts should have a reasonable term of 4 years at which time the
contract to run the registry goes to a competitive bid where the contract is
then awarded once again to the company willing to provide the service for
the least cost to the public, not to the company willing to pay the most to
4. Eliminate any possibility of unregulated pricing, now and forever, for
all existing TLD’s and any future gTLD’s. This issue has been up for
consideration before and does not need to ever come up again.
5. Develop a mechanism for safeguarding brand owners from massive global TM
infringement defense costs. Consider allowing a trademark registration at
little or no cost to holders with real well established trademarks for each
new gTLD, while preventing sham trademarks on clearly non-protectable terms,
from countries outside the G-20 which have issued trademarks like candy on
clearly non-protectable terms, that have been granted in the past.
6. Conduct a high-integrity study from a truly neutral company , on the
potential effects of introducing new gTLD’s, on internet stability and
massive consumer confusion.
7. Give governments preference in applications for Geo Domains but not
absolute control over them. Fix the lack of definition and confusion
discussed above for terms such as “select economic grouping” so that people
do not wind up spending six figures to determine if they have interpreted
the rules correctly. Award Geo domains to the registry willing to provide
the service for the lowest cost and do not make the citizens of a
jurisdiction cut governmental services to pay ICANN additional fees through
a bidding war with others.
8. Abandon a artificially created “timeline” for launching any new gTLD
until the above concerns, have been genuinely resolved.