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Tucows Response to New gTLD Questions

  • To: new-gtlds-pdp-comments@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Tucows Response to New gTLD Questions
  • From: Ross Rader <ross@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 23:24:09 -0500

This response is a summary of a proposal made to the GNSO Council
regarding the development of a new gTLD allocation processes. This
summary is not exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the
larger document which can be found in PDF format attached to this
message. The permanent URL for the most current version of this proposal
http://gtld.dnspolicy.org. A living version of this proposal in wiki
format can be found at this same URL.

Comments concerning this submission should be directed to ross -at-
tucows -dot- com.

1.  Should new generic top level domain names be introduced?
           1. Given the information provided here and any other relevant
information available to the GNSO, the GNSO should assess whether there
is sufficient support within the Internet community to enable the
introduction of new top level domains. If this is the case the following
additional terms of reference are applicable.

Response: There is substantial support within the community to launch
new gTLDs. ICANN should proceed with implementing a permanent process
that allows for ongoing delegation of gTLDs to parties that wish to
operate them. In parallel, ICANN needs to engage the GAC to deal with
the issues related to the allocation of geographic domain names (i.e.
local, city, regional and territorial top-level domain names). The GAC
should endeavor to draw upon the collective expertise of ICANNs other
supporting organizations and advisory committees in their contemplation
of the public policy issues raised by TLDs that would fall into this

2. Selection Criteria for New Top Level Domains
           1. Taking into account the existing selection criteria from
previous top level domain application processes and relevant criteria in
registry services re-allocations, develop modified or new criteria which
specifically address ICANN's goals of expanding the use and usability of
the Internet. In particular, examine ways in which the allocation of new
top level domains can meet demands for broader use of the Internet in
developing countries.
           2. Examine whether preferential selection criteria (e.g.
sponsored) could be developed which would encourage new and innovative
ways of addressing the needs of Internet users.
           3. Examine whether additional criteria need to be developed
which address ICANN's goals of ensuring the security and stability of
the Internet.

Response: ICANN needs to take this opportunity to normalize and
standardize the current experimental processes. Criteria related to
judging community support, evaluating business model or method, measures
of intent and so on, should not be included in the permanent processes
moving forward. ICANN needs to focus on instituting appropriate
technical measures to ensure that applicants are capable of operating at
the scale they propose, and that they can do so in a manner that is
consistent with ICANN goals of ensuring the security and stability of
the DNS. Preferential criteria designed to encourage new and innovative
ways of addressing user needs, or to meet the demands for broader use of
the internet in developing countries should not be specifically
addressed as part of the allocation process. Addressing unmet user
demand and stimulating innovation, is a desirable effect of a well
functioning market. ICANN need be concerned with setting out the minimum
rules necessary to foster this market, consistent with its core mission
to rely on market mechanisms where appropriate. Further, encouraging use
of the internet in developing countries can be better dealt with by
ensuring that the process is appropriate for potential delegants and
users from these regions - but not by creating exceptions to the process
for these regions. Providing financial and administrative support to
enter into the allocation process to applicants from these regions is
desirable, but should be conducted external to the allocation process.

3. Allocation Methods for New Top Level Domains
           1. Using the experience gained in previous rounds, develop
allocation methods for selecting new top level domain names.
           2. Examine the full range of allocation methods including
auctions, ballots, first-come first-served and comparative evaluation to
determine the methods of allocation that best enhance user choice while
not compromising predictability and stability.
           3. Examine how allocation methods could be used to achieve
ICANN's goals of fostering competition in domain name registration
services and encouraging a diverse range of registry services providers.

Response: The gTLD allocation process should be simple, straightforward,
self-funding and permanent. It should not, by itself, discourage
potential applicants. Applicants who meet the basic criteria should be
put in a position where they can become operational as quickly as the
process will allow. Allocation should be undertaken on a "first-come,
first-served"Â basis using a sealed bid auction to reconcile contention.
This methodology is proposed for its overall fairness, cost-efficiency,
inclusiveness, expediency and to minimize rent-seeking behavior by
applicants (and ensure an appropriate allocation of rents). The allocation
process should be an ongoing process. Applications may be
submitted at any time. They will be processed on a first-come, first
served basis as allowed by the availability of staff resources (similar
to the manner in which Registrar Accreditation Requests are currently

4. Policy to Guide Contractual Conditions for New Top Level Domains
           1. Using the experience of previous rounds of top level domain
name application processes and the recent amendments to registry
services agreements, develop policies to guide the contractual criteria
which are publicly available prior to any application rounds.
           2. Determine what policies are necessary to provide security
and stability of registry services.
           3. Determine appropriate policies to guide a contractual
compliance programme for registry services.

Response: In making the gTLD allocation processes permanent, ICANN
should seek to standardize the processes and contractual conditions to
the maximum extent possible. Terms related to measuring and guaranteeing
community support, evaluating business models and methods, measuring
intent and so on should be entirely removed from the contracts. This
includes all provisions related to the notion of "Sponsorship", it being
a specific business model, and inappropriate delegation of gTLD policy
making responsibility. gTLD applicants should be permitted to specify
exclusionary registration practices, historically known as a "charter"
to the extent that they are willing to enforce this charter on a
permanent basis. Existing sponsored TLDs should be folded into this new
structure to the extent possible. Providers of Registry Services should be
accredited by ICANN  in a manner similar to gTLD Registrars. Those
wishing to operate gTLDs  should be recognized as "delegants". Sunrise
processes should be abandoned as having demonstrably done more harm
than good for all involved, including rights-holders and non-abusive
registrants. ICANN should concern itself with setting minimum standards
that are applicable across all gTLDs - consistent renewal grace periods,
communication protocols, WHOIS requirements are all desirable. Specific
data escrow and operational continuity provisions must be made mandatory.
A single  compliance program should be developed to ensure that Registrars,
Registry Service Providers and Delegants are each meeting their commitments.

Attachment: pdfiydi608UAx.pdf
Description: Adobe PDF document

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