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ICANN's Internet Users Representatives Decry New Top-Level Domain Implementation

Frederick Felman

Surprisingly, and adding to the rapidly growing field of objections to ICANN's proposed expansion of the domain naming system, the group that represents individual Internet users in the ICANN community, the ICANN At-Large Advisory Committee, posted their advice on new Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs). The post emphasized their support for the concept while decrying the implementation of the current program.

In their letter of advice, they state that the program's current "implementation would be harmful to the public interest and specifically that of Internet end-users." They advise that the program should be halted until changes are put in place to address their concerns, which were originally stated in Mexico City at the ICANN meeting in March of 2009.

By Frederick Felman, Chief Marketing Officer at MarkMonitor
Related topics: DNS, Domain Names, ICANN, New TLDs
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Only a draft Tina Dam  –  Dec 21, 2011 11:48 AM PDT

Hey Frederick, as far as I can tell this is a draft only, and as such under discussion in the community. I see several individuals having posted their opposition to such an approach.

Tina

ALAC work processes Kieren McCarthy  –  Dec 21, 2011 11:53 AM PDT

There is very big caveat on this, Fred and it stems from the way ALAC works.

Yes, there is a draft resolution and yes it has been posted on the ALAC wiki and yes that link was being passed around on emails this week.

Those following the ALAC list however will know that the resolution has been put forward by a single person - Evan Leibovitch. It seemingly came from nowhere, was certainly not something that followed what you would think of as a normal decision-making process, and it appeared ready-formed in the peculiar ICANNesque "Whereas" style.

It is almost certainly not going to be approved by ALAC and many of the comments on the text after it appeared have been vehemently opposed to it.

Hopefully the fact that a single-person product has been elevated at such a complex time will cause ALAC to review its work processes.

Kieren

Thanks Kieren... Frederick Felman  –  Dec 21, 2011 11:57 AM PDT

Still very interesting that there's growth in opposition by elements of the community to the gTLD program as it has been implemented this late in the game.

Opposition grows Kieren McCarthy  –  Dec 21, 2011 12:14 PM PDT

Being completely neutral, I do think that the issues raised in the past few weeks in Washington have given people pause for thought. When there are so many voices against it, a number of big issues unresolved, and with ICANN giving no indication that it is on top of things, it is raising doubts.

On the flipside, the rules themselves look pretty good. If ICANN would only take into account the changes suggested by Steve DelBianco / the Business Constituency, and if would allow the staff that will actually run the system to start talking about the processes in place (rather than waste millions sending Beckstrom around the world), then I think we'd see a lot less concern.

Getting back to the point of this post - the ALAC draft - I suspect it is a case of the author being overcome by events and getting carried away, rather than representing any real sense of dissatisfaction within At Large. I may be wrong though.

Kieren

agreed... Frederick Felman  –  Dec 21, 2011 1:00 PM PDT

Being completely biased ;-)

The problems are in the implementation of the program.  And, suggestions like those proposed by the BC will go a long way to ensure a safer implementation.  For that matter, we have a lot of time to learn more from the lessons like those from .xxx, we just need ICANN to be flexible enough to act quickly to benefit from those learnings. Belief that ICANN and its community will act accordingly might require more trust than is available, hence the outcry from business, certain members of ALAC, governments and others.

ALAC Work Processes Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond  –  Dec 21, 2011 1:19 PM PDT

You are correct, Kieren. The draft was indeed proposed by one person, although he discussed the idea of proposing such a statement beforehand with the ALAC Executive Committee. I personally thought that whichever way it went (voted or not voted), it would help generate debate and discussion within our At-Large community, especially since I have recently heard allegations on several occasions that "the ALAC is against new gTLDs" and this allegation is completely false, quite the contrary.

The page pointed to the first draft of a draft text in progress which is likely to change extensively, based on input from our community of Internet users, a process that will take place over the next four weeks. The views of our community reflect the range of views held outside of ICANN and while some of our members are concerned about the pace at which the new gTLD program is being implemented, the majority believe that ICANN is diligently addressing their concerns when those are pointed out.

As Chair of the ALAC, I expect the final statement to reflect consensus views. If no consensus is reached, no statement is released, such is the process by which we operate.

By now, I note that the proposed statement is in its 3rd version. The animal at the end of the pipeline might look very different to the animal we have today. I do not think that anyone would suggest that frank discussion is a bad thing.

Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond
ALAC Chair

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