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New gTLDs should be voted on by the Internet community and should be allocated only on their merits

  • To: new-gtlds-dns-stability@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: New gTLDs should be voted on by the Internet community and should be allocated only on their merits
  • From: go2ao@xxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 06 Feb 2008 21:55:47 -0500

The applicable test should have three prongs: utility, transparency, 
accountability. GTLDs to date have been about money and politics. I do not 
believe that anybody could possibly make the case that money and politics have 
not heretofore driven the assignment of the natural monopolies which are TLDs. 
Accordingly, the last two tests MUST apply to ICANN itself. The first test, 
utility, is most important and will therefore be most problematic.

As to utility, then, why does the world need another new top level domain? Are 
there not enough of them already? What are the limits to growth before the 
addressable Internet becomes a whole muttering jazz? What in terms of a uniform 
social good can be accomplished with even more of them? How does one decide 
which proposals are best, given that there will have to occur a radical 
transformation in human behaviors to obviate even more land rushes, auctions, 
kiting, squatting, stealing and, of course, selling domain names for profit.

This means that new gTLDs can NOT be about is profit. Anyone with a useful idea 
for a gTLD that arguably has social utility should be allowed to apply. I 
recommend a non-refundable $500 fee to apply. And even then the fee should be 
there only to keep out triflers and time wasters. Questions about technical 
stability (which are obvious) are subordinate. No applicant should have to 
prove that it has the technical and business competencies to operate a new 
gTLD. There are plenty of third parties around that will be happy to provide 
what is required to address technical and administrative matters once it has 
been decided as to who gets what. When that happens and we know who gets what, 
certain specified deadlines can kick in as to technical and business matters.

Accordingly the new gTLDs should ONLY be approved on MERIT - and the only way 
to discern merit without tainting "utility", transparency and accountability is 
to have people vote on each proposal. Those with the most votes, let's say five 
and only five more gTLDs are allocated by ICANN? - receive the new gTLDs from 
ICANN. And if, as the result of truly opening the process, ICANN receives, 
say,? a thousand (1000) proposals, then so be it.? A way can be found to break 
down the proposals into manageable classifications. People with an interest in 
a democratic Internet will be happy to work through the process. This isn't 
rocket science. After that there should be a very long pause, say, five or more 
years before more gTLDs are even contemplated.

Derick Harris

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