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Commercial Connect comments on EOI

  • To: <eoi-new-gtlds@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Commercial Connect comments on EOI
  • From: "Jason Sowder" <JSowder@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 8 Dec 2009 13:28:56 -0500

Below are the comments on the EOI of new TLDs for Commercial Connect.

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


By making the process a requirement for applying and by properly
advertising it to the internet community at large we can assume a
reasonable depiction of the level of interest that exists right now.


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


Yes, as one of the primary drivers behind garnering an accurate and
meaningful EOI the participation in that EOI should be required before
any round of application.  This would also allow ICANN to adjust the
pricing of the application accordingly since they will have an accurate
count to distribute the application processing costs amongst the
applicants instead of the present estimates.


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


Yes, however only under one condition.  The gTLD process has been
stalled for years and as such making a deposit for a process that is
still indefinite would be wasteful and pointless.  A deposit needs to be
required and it needs to be high enough to discourage false entries into
the process.  The proposed fee of $55,000 proposed by the working group
is a logical and reasonable amount for this fee to both protect the
process but not be overly burdensome.  However, there must be a
timetable set in place for this process at this point to keep applicants
from having to pay a deposit on something that may not begin for years.
As such there must be a reasonable goal for the application process to
begin or at the very least a refund date so that if the application
process does not begin applicants do not remain in suspense.  In
addition to this, as noted by the working group on the EOI, prior year
2000 round applicants have already expressed such an opinion through
their prior application and should not have to pay such a fee again.
The DAG already indicates that an $86,000 credit will be applied towards
the overall application fee for those applicants and this is a good use
to apply these funds to because of the considerable time, resources, and
monies already expended for the past 9 years towards this venture 


4.       If there is a fee, under what circumstances should there be a


After considerable thought we felt that even though many are against
refunds it is our belief that there should be a refund process for two
major reasons.  The first reason is that with the possibility that some
strings may be applied for by multiple groups, many of which have
already been announced, a refund process would encourage the resolution
of these before the application process.  In addition to one group
bowing out it could also enable the merging of multiple applicants to
create an even better gTLD that creates a better, unified, and more
secure internet.  Now being that one of the major reasons for requiring
a fee is that it would stop false entries into the EOI there must be a
determination by the panel that an applicant entered into the EOI with a
"good faith" basis.  If the applicant is determined to have done so in
"bad faith" instead, meaning they are merely applying for strings with
no intention of actually launching them or in an attempt to block others
from doing so, then the refund would not be allowed.  The information
gathered during the EOI in question 5 would help in this determination.


5.       What information should be collected from EOI participants?


The name of the applicant, the applied for string, the mission/purpose
of the TLD should all be made public for the EOI.  Other information
that would help test the "good faith" process mentioned above could be
requested but kept private.


6.       Must the responder commit to go live within a certain time of


There should be a commitment but that is more an AG issue than an EOI
issue on exact timelines especially since we do not know how long of a
time frame there will be between an EOI and actual application.


7.       What are the implications for potential changes to the AG after
the EOI participation period closes?


The changes to the AG might include a change in the application fee
based on more accurate application numbers as noted above as well as
possible changes to how two competing strings may resolve themselves
other than the auction which so many people are opposed to.


8.       What are the potential risks associated with the EOI?


There is no understanding for what a successful EOI is right now.  How
many applicants must there be in order to show the process should go on?
It is our view that even if only one applicant comes forward the process
should continue as only those companies that feel their TLD is needed
and will be utilized enough to remain profitable.  The arguments being
made against TLDs ignore the growth and changes that occur in the
internet.  Will each domain be instantly popular? No.  Will they all
compete with .com or even take it over? It's unlikely.  The purposes of
new TLDs are neither of these things though.  Instead, new TLDs allow
the metamorphosis of the internet to begin making the internet more
intuitive, more secure, and more user friendly over time.  It will grow
into this the way all technology is a growth process.  The internet is
the ultimate expression of the free market; give the people the options
and they will decide what works and does not work, what survives and
what fails.  It is the job of the application process, beginning with
the EOI, to determine only that they are able to securely and positively
contribute to the internet and have the capacity to do so.  That being
said, the risk remains that without stated goals we will arrive at the
conclusion of the EOI no better than when we started.

With a nearly a decade of experience and the backing of many of the
world's leading financial and commercial businesses we are but one of
the many organizations that have been waiting for this opportunity for
far too long.  The EOI needs to be the first step in the actualization
of the reason ICANN was formed but that means there must also be a
second, and a third, and so forth.  

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

Jason Sowder

CFO, Commercial Connect

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