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ThoughtWorks' opposition to the registration of closed generic top level domains.

  • To: comments-closed-generic-05feb13@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: ThoughtWorks' opposition to the registration of closed generic top level domains.
  • From: Jeremy Gordon <jgordon@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2013 17:03:04 -0600


March 6, 2013

Dr. Steve Crocker, Chairman of the Board
Mr. Fadi Chehadé, President & CEO
Mr. Cherine Chalaby, Chair of the New gTLD Committee
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
12025 Waterfront Drive, Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90094

Re: Closed Generic Top-Level Domains (TLDs)

Dear Dr. Crocker and Messrs. Chehadé and Chalaby:

We are writing to express our concern, also expressed by Australia and
Germany, in their respective Early Warnings, about the problem of private,
exclusive ownership of closed generic TLDs. As you are aware, a small
number of companies have applied for TLDs that consist of generic industry
categories and seek to control them in closed fashion. Examples of generic
TLDs that are being pursued as closed include .app, .book, .insurance,
.jewelry, and .search among others. This situation threatens the openness
and freedom of the internet and we believe it will harm internet users
worldwide. These applications present a competitive threat to other
companies and are likely to mislead consumers.

If ICANN allows closed generic TLDs to proceed, competition will suffer.
The companies at issue will be positioned to gain unfair advantage in
direct navigation and online search; will become associated with the very
genus of products they offer; and will likely control their generic TLDs
perpetually since the registry agreements permit unlimited automatic
renewal in ten-year terms. If ICANN allows closed generic TLDs to proceed,
the internet will change from its current fluid form to an assortment of
“walled gardens.” This privatization of the internet does not benefit
consumers. Consumers who are searching for songs, books, blogs, apps,
insurance, or jewelry want choice, not solely the product or service of a
single company.

Part of what has contributed to the vibrant growth of the internet is the
ability of consumers to transcend physical boundaries to share information
and find economic opportunity worldwide.
Ownership of generic industry categories as closed TLDs by industry players
is likely to have anticompetitive impacts and limit consumer choice across
the internet. As a solution, we propose that ICANN deny applications for
these closed registries or require that they operate as open registries,
allowing free access to competitors.

In light of the foregoing, we respectfully ask the Board to require
applicants for closed generic TLDs to either open the TLD or withdraw for a
full refund.

Thank you for your consideration. If you have questions or wish to discuss
any of the points raised herein, please contact Jeremy Gordon at

Very truly yours,

Jeremy Gordon

Jeremy Gordon
Associate General Counsel
ThoughtWorks, Inc.

Attachment: gordon-to-crocker-et-al-6mar13-en.pdf
Description: Adobe PDF document

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