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Blacknight Comment on "Strawman" TMCH Proposal

  • To: "tmch-strawman@xxxxxxxxx" <tmch-strawman@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Blacknight Comment on "Strawman" TMCH Proposal
  • From: "Michele Neylon :: Blacknight" <michele@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2013 01:11:59 +0000

Blacknight Internet Solutions Ltd is the only ICANN accredited registrar in 
Ireland. We are actively involved in the domain name and internet industry both 
in Ireland, Europe and globally.
As the company's primary point of contact in all matters of policy and internet 
governance matters I am actively involved in ICANN and other groups involved in 
policy, security and technical and operational aspects of the DNS system.

To put our comments in context, as I feel that any submissions should have some 
context, we are NOT an applicant for a new gTLD nor are we financially linked 
to any applicants at this time.

Our core business is in domain registration and hosting for small to medium 
sized businesses in Europe.

I fully support the comments submitted by the Registrar Stakeholder Group, of 
which I am currently Secretary, and those of fellow registrars, Name.com, 
Strato and Key Systems. I would also be supportive of the comments submitted by 

Let's put this issue into perspective. It's all about "rights" protection. 

The very first email I received as a member of the RrSG back in 2009 was from 
Jon Nevett, who was chair at the time, talking to members about rights 
protection mechanisms for new TLDs. At the time there was no DAG and this was a 
hot topic.

As Robin Gross and others have pointed out the debate, discussions and 
arguments ( you could call them battles and you probably wouldn't be that far 
from reality) raged on and on via email, phone conferences and face to face 
It was a long process. It was tiring. It was at times very frustrating, but 
eventually the multi-stakeholder bottom up process spat something out the far 
end - the Applicant Guidebook. There was consensus. 

Based on the Applicant Guidebook a large number of companies submitted an even 
larger number of applications for new TLDs.

ICANN entered into a contractual relationship with these applicants based on 
the AG and other policies that existed when the applications were made.

ICANN collected large sums of money from the applicants.

Now ICANN is proposing to change the rights protection mechanisms drastically? 
A year after the applications went in (give or take) and several years after 
the entire discussion of rights protection was "put to bed"? Consensus was 
already reached on this matter, so why is it even being considered.

"Consensus" - an important word in the ICANN vocabulary, or so we would have 
been led to believe. 

As a member of the "community" and an active participant in the "ICANN process" 
the "Strawman" and how it was even formulated concerns me very deeply.

It was my understanding that ICANN was meant to be multi-stakeholder - with an 
emphasis on "multi". Important policy changes - even if they are just proposals 
- should not be arrived at with behind closed doors meetings where members of 
the community have no opportunity or a very limited opportunity to participate. 

I was at the first TMCH meeting in Brussels last year, as were several other 
registrars, registries, applicants etc., Yes, it was a complex and tough couple 
of days meetings, but it was inclusive. 

However this "straw man" concept was not arrived at via an inclusive process.

If a single stakeholder interest is able to subvert the entire process by 
circumventing the process ie. by completely ignoring and going directly to the 
board or the CEO, then ICANN's model is at risk.

As a registrar I would also echo the comments of Michael Shohat:

"Adoption of the proposals would lead us as a registrar to
seriously reconsider whether offering new gTLDs is such a good idea
after all. The more additional hassle is required from registrants to
satisfy the demands of a narrow group of stake holders, the less
probable the broad adaptation of new gTLDs becomes.

We've already experienced certain ccTLDs shooting themselves in the foot
with politically motivated restrictions or bending technical systems
over backwards to include questionable requirements, and we would like
to avoid such adventures in the future.
Put simply - if you make new TLDs to complicated to register then all the talk 
of "competition" and "innovation" is rendered empty and useless, as neither 
registrars nor registrants are going to "jump through hoops" to register domain 

Have a look at some of the existing gTLDs  - in particular the smaller ones (in 
terms of volume). 

With the exception of .cat, which is successful in serving its target market, 
others have come close to failure due to their restrictions. 

Does ICANN want to be seen to have wasted millions of dollars, of both its 
money and that of applicants on a new TLD project that is so restrictive that 
only a tiny subset of registrars will want to participate and the rules will be 
so complex that only a very small number of registrants will bother to register 
domain names? 

So I would urge ICANN not to make any changes to the existing rules and 
policies that were laid out in the guidebook which applicants based their 
submissions on. 



Mr Michele Neylon
Blacknight Solutions
Hosting & Colocation, Brand Protection
Intl. +353 (0) 59  9183072
Fax. +353 (0) 1 4811 763
Twitter: http://twitter.com/mneylon
Blacknight Internet Solutions Ltd, Unit 12A,Barrowside Business Park,Sleaty
Road,Graiguecullen,Carlow,Ireland  Company No.: 370845

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