Surely the evaluation of applicants for further
TLDs should be carried out in the context of the Evaluation Process proposed to
learn lessons from the previous round of New TLDs adopted in 2000?
To date, ICANN has failed to initiate the
Evaluation Team to carry out the Evaluation Process proposed by its own Task
Force, even though the Board undertook to adopt the Task Force
Even if new applicants are assessed by an
'independent' evaluation team, that team still needs to be fully informed and
equipped to contextualise the development of more TLDs in the light of the
problems and challenges of the previous ones.
The NTEPPTF set out a wide-ranging and detailed set
of questions which needed addressing in order to properly evaluate how further
TLDs should be introduced, and called for the public consideration of Registry
Evaluation Reports, which have regrettably never been published.
It highlighted concerns - for example - over
Sunrise and Landrush processes (which had been racked with problems and
controversy in the previous round of TLDs).
Clearly applications for further New TLDs need to
explain how they propose to handle areas like this, but when the serious
difficulties encountered in the previous round have not even been formally
evaluated yet, how can any assessing team assess the applicants' proposals in an
informed and reliable manner?
These are just two areas out of a wide range of
issues which the Task Force identified and detailed.
Without integrity of process in the way ICANN
carries out the New TLD Evaluation Process, there is the serious danger that
assessment teams judging the merits of applicants this time round will be
ill-informed and arbitrary.
They may adopt applicants whose strategies and
business plans fail to take into account the as yet unresolved issues of the
previous round of New TLDs.
While there is a clear and urgent need to consider
the expansion of the namespace, the efforts of ICANN to date - in fulfilling its
own commitment to a proper Evaluation Process - have been derisory.
My concern is that, if
the processes involved in the previous round are mismanaged, what
confidence can we have that the selection of applicants for the next round will
be anything other than arbitrary and mismanaged as well?
Where is the New TLD Evaluation Process? Why has it
not been carried out?
And if the Proof of Concept is not going to be
managed properly, then how can we be sure the same errors and difficulties
are not going to re-emerge in the next round of TLDs?