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Support and suggestions for EOI

  • To: eoi-new-gtlds@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Support and suggestions for EOI
  • From: Werner Staub <werner@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 27 Nov 2009 23:28:06 +0100

I strongly encourage the ICANN Board to proceed with the EOI as
early as possible. In doing so, the Board should combine the EOI
with the principle of spreading the gTLD round over seveal windows,
by order of priority. The answers below include a proposed approach.

*** 1) How do we ensure that participation in the EOI accurately   ***
*** represents the level of interest?                              ***

The actual expression of an existing interest depends on awareness,
perceived benefit and the incentive to disclose early. Awareness is in
constant progression because many TLD consultants tirelessly promote
new TLDs. Perceived benefit increases steadily as does the portion of
hype. The incentive to disclose is high for community-based applicants
and but nil for speculative projects. The majority of them will remain
secret unless there is an overwhelming incentive, namely the compulsory
EOI prior to application.

A compulsory EOI in turn has the effect of overstating interest. (This
is the  “last-petrol-station-before-the-desert” effect, especially
strong because of delays experienced up to now.) The overstatement
effect is largely avoided if instead of one EOI call there are several.
This also helps avoid resource bottlenecks, both on ICANN’s side and
on the applicants’ side. Most importantly, it protects the EOI
process itself from the Slipping Timeline Syndrome.

I suggest three EOI calls, scheduled by priority:

Priority 1 EOI call in March 2010: Public-interest, community-based TLD
projects requiring the approval of the relevant public authorities.

Priority 2 EOI call in September 2010: Any standard and community-based
TLDs other than single-registrant TLDs. (These respondents would commit
to allowing third party registrations.)

Priority 3 EOI call in March 2011: Any eligible TLD applicant.

In all cases, it must be clear to the respondent that the process may
be changed after the EOI is submitted, and that it may causing certain
EOI respondents to be excluded. Those respondents would be refunded
their EOI fee.

*** 2) Should only those who participate in the EOI be eligible to ***
*** participate in the first round when the program officially     ***
*** launches?                                                      ***

Yes. (See answer to Question 1.)

If there are several EOI calls per round, an application window can
start three months after the respective EOI call, for those EOI
respondents found to be eligible. The RFP may evolve between from one
application window to the next. All the three application windows would
be regarded as a single round.

*** 3) Should a deposit be required for participation in the EOI?  ***

Yes. The fee diminishes the number of responses sent merely to test the
absence of contenders. This also implies that refunds cannot be made
based on contention.

*** 4) If there is a fee, under what circumstances should there    ***
***  be a refund?                                                  ***

If contrary to reasonable expectations it is not possible to submit
that application. This should be restricted to cases where the
impossibility is the result of a change compared to the latest Draft

The very purpose of the EOI is to adapt the terms and conditions based
on the data obtained. The EOI can demonstrate the existence of
undesirable trends for the proliferation of certain types of TLDs
initiatives. For instance, there could be a proliferation of purely
speculative land-grab applications. There could be an excessive number
of single-registrant TLD EOIs. In cases like this, ICANN must be able
to intervene and prevent undesirable trends, or defer the receipt of
applications that cannot yet be handled.

*** 5) What information should be collected from EOI               ***
*** participants?                                                  ***

ICANN must be particularly careful to ensure that the following
questions are clearly answered:
- The TLD string including variants.
- Whether the application is a community-based TLD.
- Whether, to the applicant’s best understanding, the TLD requires
  approval of relevant public authorities.
- The government authorities, if any, whose approval is required for
  the TLD based on the latest draft RFP.
- Whether the applicant will accept unaffiliated third-party
  registrants based on an objective process.

These answers are objective criteria for access for priority
application windows, even if such priority windows are only defined
after the EOI.

*** 5.1) What subset of applicant questions found in the Applicant ***
*** Guidebook should be answered?                                  ***

1 Full legal name of Applicant
2 Principal business address
3 Phone number of Applicant
4 Fax number of Applicant
5 Email address for Applicant
6 Primary Contact: Name, Title, Address, Phone, Fax, Email
7 Secondary Contact: Name, Title, Address, Phone, Fax, Email
18 Is the application for a community-based TLD?
20 Mission/purpose of the TLD (Here only a summary will be required at
the time of the EOI.)
21 Is the application for a geographical name? (The documentation of
support or non-objection is not yet required at time of the EOI, but
will be at the time of application.)

*** 5.2) Including applied-for strings?                            ***

Yes, as well known variants of that string.

*** 5.3) Should information be made public?                        ***

All information disclosed must be made public.
Failure to disclose required information must cause the EOI to be

*** 6) Must the responder commit to go live within a certain       ***
*** time of delegation?                                            ***

At the stage of the EOI, this is not necessary. However, the applicant
must be aware that by the time the application is submitted, ICANN will
define this requirement in line with Implementation Guideline I of the
GNSO PDP Report.

*** 7) What are the implications for potential changes to the      ***
*** Applicant Guidebook after the EOI participation period closes? ***

The very objective of the EOI is to allow changes in the RFP while
changes to TLD properties stated in the EOI are NOT allowed. This is
necessary because allowing both sides to change the process new
imbalances will result and the process will never stabilize.

*** 8) What are the potential risks associated with the EOI?       ***

There is a risk of encouraging speculative EOI responses. This risk is
manageable thanks to the possibility of changing the RFP to exclude
undesirable trends.

There is a risk of having to exclude a large number of applications by
way of changes to the RFP. This risk is manageable by stating clear
terms and by refunding EOI fees where a change of the RFP made
respective application impossible.

By comparison, the risks associated with further delays are not

Werner Staub

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