SIDN's comment on draft Application Guidebook v3
On behalf of Roelof Meijer, I herewith send you SIDN's comment on draft Application Guidebook v3. Kind regards, Natasja Leushuis Secretary to CEO 1. Vertical separation between registries and registrars SIDN's position on this matter is that ICANN needs clear rules, based on bottom-up developed policies for the issue of separation or (partial) integration of registries (and back and providers) and registrars (incl. resellers). Therefore we would like ICANN to clarify the current policy and rules and how they could be used for the new gTLD process. We understand from the the current debate on registry-registrar separation that there might well be reasons to modify those policies and rules. Some argue for stricter rules, others for more freedom. In our opinion, however, this is a complicated issue that cannot be solved overnight. Therefore it is SIDN's position that any changes in the existing registry-registrar separation policies need to be developed using the Policy Development Process. Due to the fact that such a process takes considerably time and thus would significantly (further) delay the new gTLD process, it is out opinion that it should be a parallel track to the new gTLD program and not an overarching issue that needs to be solved before new gTLD's are implemented. 2. Root scaling study SIDN supports the methods and the conclusions of the root scaling study report. We agree with the authors that the provisioning chain of the root system does not allow for large or fast increases in the root zone file and therefore we agree with the conclusions of the report that a combined introduction of IPv6, DNSSEC, IDN ccTLD's and gTLD's is not a good idea. It is now up to ICANN to provide the community with a proposal and a roadmap on how to deal with this issue and how to prioritize the implementation of these four changes in the root. Furthermore ICANN needs to show the community a solution, or a roadmap to such a solution, for the provisioning problem if there will be no boundaries for the number of new gTLD's per round or the total number of gTLD's in the root. If ICANN, however, wants to design these boundaries they will have to be designed in a Policy Development Process, since there is clearly no policy at this moment for implementing such boundaries. 3. Demand for new gTLD's SIDN considers the study for the fundamental demand for new gTLD's to be important. ICANN needs to do more research on this issue, but this research should be (internet domain) market research based on facts and should focus on demand of potential new applicants and internet users and should not have the theoretical approach of the previous studies. ICANN furthermore should present the benefits of the new gTLD's, resulting from the demand, vis-à-vis the possible drawbacks and the potential costs associated with these drawbacks. 4. Proposed EOI mechanism for new gTLD's The discussion on many issues still unresolved, including the three issues mentioned above, will merit from a clearer picture of how many and what kind of proposals supported by whom can be expected in the first round. Therefore SIDN supports a EOI mechanism as proposed in the public forum in Seoul. Such a EOI should consists of the possibility to express ones interest in a particular TLD, supported by the objectives, target group and the underlying business model. The results of this EOI should be public and therefore only those who presented their interest should be enabled to participate in the subsequent first round of applications. The fee for the EOI should be significant (but deductible from the application fee) in order to prevent frivolous applications. We suggest an amount of $55.000,- which equals the costs of withdrawing an application after the initial evaluation has taken place. The EOI should in our opinion not lead to a "fast track" handling of the presently unsolved issues. The evaluation should only start as soon as all outstanding issues are resolved which guarantees that there will not only be one round now and no other rounds in the foreseeable future. 5. Trademark issues We generally support the way staff has worked out the IRT proposals. We however feel that a sunrise or other pre launch rights protection mechanism should be mandatory for all TLD's offering domain names to the public. The same applies to the URS. With regard to the URS we do not see why the remedy has to be different from the UDRP. We assume that as soon as the registration period of a URS suspended domain ends, it will be caught by another registrant with the same intentions as the previous holder or will be renewed (the rules do not mention if this is allowed) by the current registrant and then the URS will start again. In the case of a transfer to the rights owner, it will be up to that party to decide to run such risk and cancel the domain or keep it registered to avoid further trouble. If the current proposed remedy remains in place, we suggest that in default cases a registrant (after paying a fee) will be allowed to reopen the URS-procedure at any time during the suspension and so avoid the 'I have not been duly informed' discussion.