[AfrICANN-discuss] ICANN, the New gTLD Program, and Our Responsibility for the Internet

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Wed Aug 3 23:28:38 SAST 2011

 ICANN, the New gTLD Program, and Our Responsibility for the

   - Aug 02, 2011 7:45 AM PDT
   - Comments: 0<http://www.circleid.com/posts/icann_the_new_gtld_program_and_our_responsibility_for_the_internet/#comments>
   - Views: 927

By *Tina Dam* <http://www.circleid.com/members/2923/>
[image: Tina Dam]

When ICANN approved the New generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Program in
Singapore in June 2011, it pushed the activities in this space to a new
level. I think we will all agree that everyone involved are very busy
working on new gTLD applications and getting organized per the Applicant
Guidebook requirements. This to be ready in time for the 12th of January
2012 ICANN new TLD Program launch date.

However, good activities also brings along bad activities. And while not
always intended as doing something harmful to the Internet or it's users, we
have seen a tendency of our community to be attractive to some, that work to
find a way around the system. Sometimes this is understandable taking the
various business models, and the need of consumers into consideration. But
that is not always the case. This is what makes it so hard for ICANN to
build good, useful, strong, and at the same time reasonable policies.

What concerns me is that if we do not get the first round of introductions
of new gTLDs right next year we might cause a lot of damage to the Internet.
The intent with all the new gTLDs is of course consumer choice, and to allow
for innovations beyond the traditional domain name space. We cannot afford
allowing bad intended (purposely or not) entities to destroy this

I have never been a proponent of unlimited number of new gTLDs because I
simply do not believe that it will be overall beneficial for Internet users.
I accept that change is necessary to move forward and we do not know how the
Internet will look a few years down the road (after all at its early
development, who would have imagined it to be as impactful as it is today?).
I just don't see the unlimited numbers/non-restricted approach being of
value unless it is managed carefully. I have written about these concerns
before in a post called "How to Make IDN gTLDs Attractive and Safe in
ICANN's New Internationalized Domain Name TLD

That brings me to the core of this article. I believe we all have a
responsibility to work together to make this radical change of the Internet
a positive experience for its users. This article is intended to spark a
debate on the subject.

If we do not do a good job with the first round, we risk experiencing
endless lawsuits, auctions, and unstable launches under new gTLDs. Some of
the new gTLDs are likely to fail which will provide an even worse user
experience. This will be a waste of a lot of resources and time for all of
us, and it will likely result in no second round or at the very least a very
delayed and very difficult second round. This should be in nobody's
interest. In the end, the only losers are Internet users; they will
experience the bad service; dropped TLDs and hence domain names; high prices
(because we need to cover legal and auction costs somewhere), and so on.
Imagine having a non-functional domain name because of the hundred's or
thousand's TLDs you had to choose from, the one you picked could not manage
its responsibility. Imagine incurring double, triple, or higher domain name
registration costs because two applicants spent a significant amount of
their financial resources in an auction for the TLD and are left with no
recourse but to raise prices in order to recover those losses. This is not a
way to instill confidence in users of the Internet.

So what can we do to ensure that this round goes well? I almost wanted to
suggest that we put together a "Best Practice New gTLD Behavioral" paper.
But that might not be something we could agree on, or that the ICANN
community would be interested in participating in?

At MyTLD we took one initiative recently, which is the free IDN training for
IDN TLD applicants in
This initiative is particularly focused on the expansion of developing
economies, which ICANN has an ongoing targeted effort at the moment as
indicated in the recently closed ICANN public comments forum about assisting
developing nations<http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/second-milestone-report-10jun11-en.htm>.

Why we are providing free training, and suggested to ICANN to build this
into an ongoing program with free overall DNS training for applicants in
need, should be obvious. But if in doubt please see my ICANN blog post on
the New Generation of Internet
I believe we have a responsibility to do this, and thereby take one step in
making the Internet available and well-functional for the next generations
to come.

What else can we do? Please take a moment and think about it. We should feel
very fortunate about the Internet experience we have accumulated over the
last decade or so. Handing over knowledge and expertise to the next
generation is not solely delivering the Internet as we have it today, but
also doing so in a way that will create the foundation for the future of the
Internet. This is after all how knowledge and innovation has increased and
thrived for years.

So for all of us involved in new TLDs, let's do something good. Contribute
something that will have a positive impact for years to come.

*By Tina Dam <http://www.circleid.com/members/2923/>, Co-Founder MYTLD*
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