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Comments on PF-AG

  • To: <5gtld-guide@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Comments on PF-AG
  • From: "Ron Andruff" <randruff@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2010 11:31:30 -0500

RNA Partners thanks ICANN for the hard work of staff and their best efforts
to strike the balance between establishing an Applicant Guidebook that works
and meets the wishes of the community.  While a good deal of effort has been
made, we must also say that more needs to be done.


We have three comments that we are reiterating once again, which we have
continuously made throughout the new gTLD application development process
and which have been echoed by many members of the community - both
institutions and individuals alike - for the past three years in every
public comment period.  As the first principle of ICANN is 'consensus' - and
it is quite clear that the community is in consensus regarding these issues
- we are frustrated that staff ignores these contributions, particularly
without any explanation of their actions. 


We remain hopeful that the final AG will, in fact, be amended to include the
community's wishes as noted below.


(1) The first issue of serious concern is community evaluation scoring given
the extreme level of subjectivity that is inherent in that part of the
application process.  As has been well-noted, if one objector opposes a
community-based application that opposition puts the applicant in jeopardy
of losing the right to manage its community TLD.  Stacking the deck in favor
of an objector is anticompetitive, moreover antithetical to what the ICANN
community is trying to achieve.  Returning the scoring to 13 of 16 points
creates a more fair process for this subjective review.


We submit that unless and until staff clearly explains to the community why
14 of 16 points is necessary, an allowance for the loss of one additional
point must be made to offset the subjectivity of this process.


(2) The second issue is a request to lower the cost for communities to apply
for IDN equivalents along with their ASCII string.  Some 64% of Internet
users today do not read or write in English. If ICANN is considering
allowing lower pricing for applicants from less developed nations or reduced
pricing for 'bundling' ASCII and IDN scripts by those applicants, yet
continues to ignore those who do not read or write English, it is setting a
double standard. In not allowing IDN equivalents on a cost recovery basis,
ICANN will simply be delaying the addition of IDNs to meet those
communities' needs by more than 2 years and longer due to the protracted new
gTLD process timelines.


Again, unless and until staff clearly explains to the ICANN community its
logic as to why it continues to deny community-based applicants the ability
to provide IDNs to their affected communities, ICANN must reduce the cost
for IDN equivalents to a cost-recovery amount only and allow for their
inclusion for application with their ASCII equivalent.


(3) The third issue, market differentiation - or put differently, working
towards a more semantic DNS - must be the way forward to an orderly
expansion of the domain name system.  Anything less will lead to duplicative
registrations and user confusion over the longer term.  It is a red herring
to say that market differentiation is too difficult to measure, particularly
when staff told the community at the Cartagena meeting that 'market
differentiation' will be one of the metrics to measure the success/failure
of the new gTLD process.  Like the saying goes, I can't define pornography
but I know it when I see it.  In this case, the community will make the
determination as to whether an applicant meets the standard of being a
differentiated domain from all others in the DNS through the lengthy public
comment periods. Following that, the independent evaluator will make a final


In conclusion, we urge the Board to go back and review all of the comments
on these issues themselves.  You will see that there has been no, or
insignificant, push back on these proposed amendments; rather, to the
contrary, there is strong support and consensus within the community.  This
must be respected.


Respectfully submitted,


Ron Andruff

RNA Partners, Inc.


Disclosure: RNA Partners is anticipating being an applicant for a new gTLD. 






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