Should an EOI filing confer exclusivity on the TLD string?
The current EOI draft implies that the respondent(s) who paid a fee to state their interest in a given TLD will be the only ones allowed to apply for that string. This leads to two new forms of speculation: 1) A speculator submits an EOI to “buy” the right to launch a given gTLD. This will probably be done large-scale, as is has been done with second-level domain names. Unless this is corrected, EOI is simply a discount program for a TLD land grab. 2) A speculator submits and EOI as a “competitor” to an existing, well-known TLD projects in order to be bought out. At USD 55,000 per EOI, that speculator can expect to either get cash or a share in the TLD project. One way to mitigate this danger is to make EOI specific to the string, but not to the applicant. This also diminishes the need for outreach prior to EOI, as the best outreach is the list of proposed TLD strings (preferably each with a short project description). In other words, removing he exclusivity helps avoid delays. The question of whether this is "fair" to the EOI applicants is not relevant. True, they pay the EOI fee earlier. But the delays in the gTLD process cause incomparably more harm and unfairness. Also, the delays in gTLD process systematically hurt community-based initiatives and favor speculative ones. And the delays systematically favor incumbent TLD operators over new or smaller registry service providers. Werner Staub