new gtlds comments
*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 background.
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 names.
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
Overstock.com 6350 S. 3000 E. Salt Lake City, UT 84121 warren65@xxxxxxxxx 801-651-1555