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Andrew Mack DAG version 2 comment -- Let's not leave smaller language groups in the dark

  • To: 2gtld-intro@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Andrew Mack DAG version 2 comment -- Let's not leave smaller language groups in the dark
  • From: Andrew Mack <amack@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 12:01:35 -0700 (PDT)

To: the ICANN Community
From: Andrew Mack
Subject: DAG Version 2 -- Let's not leave smaller language groups in the dark

I am writing to express a concern regarding the new gTLD application
process, specifically relating to the proposed application fees charged by
ICANN for multiple IDN versions of a new TLD.   I absolutely
understand the desire to cover costs and the need to respond to demand, but I
am very concerned that the way the current gTLD process is designed, we risk
leaving smaller language groups in the dark – providing IDN service for large
or wealthier IDNs (e.g. in Chinese, Arabic or Korean), without providing a
mechanism for smaller scripts to get on the map. 
Let’s take as an example a new gTLD that might have a social focus – something
like a .family or Al Gore’s proposed .eco.  For smaller language groups –
Thai, or Amharic or others – the initial volume of users might not be adequate
to attract the $185,000 investment needed to light up the IDN.  Or
consider a country with multiple scripts – India has over a dozen scripts.
 Will they be willing or able to pay for a dozen TLD application fees and
endure a dozen parallel processes to get through to approval?  
Speakers of more populous languages already have a series of advantages.
 My fear is that the $185,000 bar may be set so high that the new
functionality proposed in the opening of the gTLD process will simply pass
smaller languages by.
I would suggest that this could and should be addressed in a simple way – that
ICANN, working with the gTLD operator could provide the ability to activate all
new IDNs as part of a package deal.  This could make it less expensive and
more attractive for new gTLD operators to offer service in all new IDN scripts
as they become available.  
By offering this as a package, ICANN will be showing its best face to the world
– offering a private sector solution that simultaneously encourages
participation and provides for language diversity on the web.  

Andrew A. Mack 
AMGlobal Consulting

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