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Recommendations for the 10 proposed sponsored TLDs

  • To: <stld-rfp-general@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Recommendations for the 10 proposed sponsored TLDs
  • From: "James Seng" <jseng@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2004 10:37:31 +0800

This is also posted at http://james.seng.cc/archives/000346.html

First, the evaluation of sponsored TLDs should be based on the appropriateness 
of sponsors1. Whether it is "useful' or 'useless' to the Internet shouldn't be 
a factor since one's rubbish is another gem. This is one of the things I learnt 
working for an open-minded regulator, that one should not think they are smart 
enough to pick market winners. 

Of course, the proposed TLD should not cause "harm" to the Internet. Any TLDs 
which fails this test should not be allowed to proceed. But it is easy to 
confuse "harmful" with "useless" so we must be careful.

1. .asia -- ah, my fav, one that made me some enemies2 because of my vocal 
opposition. The problem with this proposal is that it fails the 
"appropriateness of sponsors" test. The word ASIA is as significant as EU and 
it is unimagable that some NGOs, NPOs and commerical entities3 is sufficient to 
be the "sponsor" for .ASIA. This is not the same as .EU where it has EC behind 
it. There is no government representation and neither has this been discussed 
at any government-to-government meetings like APEC TEL or APT or AP MinTel etc. 
With the recent development at WSIS, I don't think ICANN should setup a 
timebomb for itself. Recommendation: request more governmental support for this 

2. .cat -- A really strange proposal. Sponsored by the Catalan linguistic and 
culture community, it gave an impression that someone is try to get an TLD for 
their cats. Nevertheless, it has a relevance sponsor and I could find no 
technical problem with the proposal. Recmmendation: approve but consider giving 
their 2nd (.ctl) or 3rd choice of sTLD (.català). The 3rd one is interesting 
because it will give the first IDN TLD.

3. .jobs -- They have an an appropriate sponsor (The Society of Human Resource 
Management). But "jobs" is a pretty generic word and they provide no 
alternatives. The representation of the sponsor may not be sufficient. 
Recommendation: request more sponsors from wider international community.

4. .mail -- Another generic word proposal but have a respectable spamhaus as 
the sponsor. The idea is to establish an email spam-free TLD, where spammers 
will get their domain names revoked. While it remains to be seen how I can 
safely whitelist .mail (since spammers could easily forge their mails), it is 
an interesting idea. I have my doubts how successful it will be but there 
shouldn't be an factor. Recommendation: approve the TLD but consider their 3rd 
choice .mta instead of the generic .mail

5. .mobi -- I heard about Nokia plans a couple of months ago and I really like 
what I hear then. They have a vision of what they want to do with the TLD and 
how it going to change the mobile landscape. But it is sad to see how the 
proposal turn out. The proposal seem to ignore the "sponsored" portion and 
totally misunderstood "Appropriateness of Sponsored TLD community" section. I 
couldn't believe Nokia didn't at least engage someone with a bit of ICANN 
experience to assist them in putting this proposal together (Yo, I am offering 
my services!). Recommendation: Request them to resubmit their proposal when 
ICANN open for generic TLD

6. .post -- Okay a generic word again but with an incredible sponsor: Universal 
Postal Union. I could see no problem in the proposal immediately. 
Recommendation: approve the proposal

7. .tel (Pulver) -- Like Nokia, Pulver apparently ignore the word "sponsored". 
But the bigger problem is the .tel is on the borderline of been 'harmful" 
because of its attempts to create an alternative e164.arpa. While some may 
argue "Why not give some competitions to e164.arpa?", the fact is that (a) ENUM 
needs a single root as much as DNS needs one (b) there are already competitions 
such as Netnumbers. Beside, I dont see any value to increase the tension 
between ICANN and ITU. Recommendation: reject the proposal4 

8. .tel (Telname) -- as you can see, .tel is very popular. Actually, this is 
the 2nd time Telname is putting in their proposal where they already failed in 
the first round. The problem is that they also ignore the concept of 
"sponsored". Recommendation: request them to resubmit the proposal when ICANN 
open for generic TLD

9. .travel -- A strong proposal with a good sponsor. IMO, likely to end up like 
.aero and .muesum. Still, that shouldn't be a reason to reject them. 
Recommendation: approve the proposal

10. .xxx -- Okay, this is one of the most debated TLD, since it was first 
submitted in the first round with .kids. It was also heavily debate in congress 
and other places. There is even an RFC published. Still, all the arguments are 
philosophical in nature, about the uselessness and absurbness of such TLD. But 
just because some thinks it will fail or useless shouldn't be a reason to 
reject it. It does no harm to the Internet operation and have appropriate 
sponsor. I would like to see the sponsorship stronger but I believe it is time 
to end the debate: Recommendation: approve the proposal

Incidently, we already a few sponsored TLDs and none of them have gone 
anywhere. This has already been pointed out by Karl Auerbach. But this does not 
neccessary means sponsored TLDs is bad or useless. It is probably just means we 
haven't give out enough for any to be successful. 

1 By this, I mean the farmers association sponsoring a .computer is 

2 I have a lot of friends who supported this TLD. They arent going to be happy 
to hear what I am saying here. 

3 btw, I dont think many are aware that Affilias paid the 50K evalution fee to 

4 No disrespect to Jeff Pulver. I admire what he does for the SIP industry but 
.tel isn't one of his smartest move. 

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