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new gtlds comments

  • To: newgtlds-comments@xxxxxxxxx, pritz@xxxxxxxxx, maureen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, paul.twomey@xxxxxxxxx, bruce.tonkin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: new gtlds comments
  • From: "Chuck Warren" <warren65@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 18 Aug 2006 16:10:20 -0600

*TO:         newgtlds-comments@xxxxxxxxx*
*FROM:  Chuck Warren, Overstock.com*
*DATE:    August 18, 2006*
*Re: Addressing Reserved Names in PDP 05 and PDP 06:  Single Letter, Second
Level Domain names, e.g. o.com; etc. and place names. *

Summary:  Our comments are applicable to both PDP 05 and PDP 06.   We
believe that there are areas not being addressed by the Task Forces that
should be part of the TF's deliberations. This is the area of reserved name
treatment, and in some cases, methods of release and allocation. In
particular, we are interested in single letters at the second level. Some
work has already by done by staff and can be contributed to the TF as

We ask that the topic of reserved name treatment be added into both TFs.

Background and Rationale:   Overstock.com <http://overstock.com/> has an
interest related to the present policy considerations of the gNSO TF 05 and
TF 06. These Task Forces are addressing policy for new gTLDs and for
existing gTLDS. As such, we note that neither Task Force has yet identified
how to address reserved names. It is our view that reserved names, which
includes the treatment of single letters at the second level, must be
examined in conjunction with the development of these two PDPs, or should
become a stand alone PDP with the clear understanding and commitment that
the outcome of the third PDP will affect existing contracts.  The issue of
reserved names must be addressed before further new gTLDs are introduced,
and must be clarified and addressed as part of the PDP 06, related to
existing registry agreements.

Overstock.com <http://overstock.com/> operates as "O" in its advertising; in
addition, Overstock.com <http://overstock.com/> operates Worldstock.
Worldstock is the part of Overstock that gives back to the developing world
through developing e-commerce distribution for artisan and craftsmen's
creations. In 2004 and 2005, Worldstock provided sales for artisans from over
30 developing economies, including the Navajo Nation, and
Afghanistanartisans, among others. The majority of the profits made
are returned to the
artisans, allowing them to raise their families from subsistence into a more
stable economic situation. In less than five years, itself has grown from a
$300 million company to nearly a $1,000,000,000 company, thus becoming a
major player in ecommerce, serving North America, but seeking in the future
to serve the marketing needs of consumers in other parts of the world. The
brand – o.com – is a key part of how Overstock.com
<http://overstock.com/>seeks to market itself globally, and that
includes support to marketing
World stock.

Overstock.com <http://overstock.com/> approached ICANN approximately two
years ago and met with the present CEO/President and senior staff, to
present the request to use o.com. The meetings continued for several months.
Finally, we were informed through a variety of discussions, that it would
require gNSO policy to release and allocate the single letter, second letter

We have investigated the technical issues and have sought expert advice to
ensure that there are not technical barriers to the use of such names at the
second level. There are none, and that has been supported by well known
technical experts. We are happy to provide further documentation to support
that during the policy development process.

Given the present policy development processes underway within the GNSO
Council's work via these two Task Forces,
Overstock.com<http://overstock.com/>requests that the Council and the
TFs take up the issue of how to address
reserved  names.

To summarize, the reserved names list that presently are followed by the
registries are a matter of practice based on RFC,  and recently, for three
registries, a matter of staff negotiations related to place and city names –
e.g. the use of city or country names at the second level.  Initially, it
was believed that there could be technical reasons to reserve the single
letters for later use, and it was recognized that there are technical issues
related to symbols and numbers. For symbols and numbers, some issues remain.
For single letters at the second level, there are no issues, other than the
methods of release and allocation. Use has been established through
practice, since some country codes allow the use of these names, and five
'names' have been 'accidentally' released by the registry [then NSI/now
called VeriSign].

Registries also have lengthy lists of other names that cannot be released,
such s eh ISO 3166 list, and additional lists that are individually
negotiated with the staff.

However, for second level letters, it is time for change. First, there are
companies and perhaps other entities that are using single letters in trade
today, and have a legitimate interest in using the domain name that matches
the operating name. Second, the release and allocation of these names to
entities with a willingness to participate in an auction in order to use
them could bring significant financial resources to support ICANN, relieving
financial stress, and providing a reserve fund. Given the interest of the
broader community in ICANN's stability, such a contribution to ICANN's
financial stability would be of benefit to the entire community.

Single letters are not the only names on reserve and we understand that
addressing reserved names for country names and place names is much more
complicated, as is the issue of using numbers and symbols.  Both these
issues also deserve attention from the policy development process. We
suggest that single letters be addressed by one sub group, while the issue
of place names, country names, and city names be taken up by a separate
group. In our research, we have learned that the technical and political
issues are different between the two categories of names. We understand that
for place names, there is high interest by governments. This is not the case
for single letters at the second level.


There are two reasonable options:  the establishment of a joint set of
working groups between the two existing TFs to undertake this phase of the
work, or the creation of a new PDP and a new TF.  Resources of the
Councilors and the community are not really sufficient to create a new TF.
In addition, the expertise and knowledge base of dealing with the overall
issues of policy for new gTLDs and existing registry agreements is resident
with the existing TFs.

We understand that it is possible that the GNSO could decide that the
process of allocation for reserved names is not the purview of the GNSO and
should be undertaken by staff. However from discussions with ICANN senior
staff and others in the community, we understand as well that a decision has
to be made one way or the other so that ICANN can proceed.

We recommend that the TF PDP 05 and PDP 06 establish a joint working group
between the two TFs to address draft recommendations for addressing single
letter names and for addressing the treatment of place/city/country names.
The topics can be worked sequentially, with the least complex addressed
first.  This would allow the TFs to continue to advance their work and then
to receive a contribution from the working sub group for full consideration
by the entire TF.

As Overstock.com <http://overstock.com/> has stated publicly before, we
support the concept of creating value to the fuller community through the
allocation method of the second letters. While we have some ideas on how
that might happen, we would expect to post those into the PDP process, as
well as discuss other ideas and contributions made via the public policy
development process. However, we ask to have that opportunity. These issues
need to be added into the PDP processes underway as PDP 05 and PDP 06.

Respectfully yours,
Chuck Warren

6350 S. 3000 E.
Salt Lake City, UT 84121

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