As the last strike of the clock signals the end of 30 May 2012 there will be quiet relief from the back offices and consultants of most top-level domain name (TLD) applicants. And finally after the drama of the TAS system gremlins we have closure. Still there may yet be squeals of anguish as someone, somewhere got it wrong. A glitch in the applicant's computer, a lost bank transfer, a last minute switch of provider: all may be reasons for failure. But for the rest, they will have made the first significant step on the path to success. And as the quip attributed to Gore Vidal so aptly put it, "It's not enough to succeed. Others must fail." So lets discuss some additional points of failure.
Some applications will have missed some detail or applied for a reserved name. Clarification will be requested. This should be discovered during the planned administrative completeness check and, depending on its nature, may introduce delay. This means your financial plan is missing or you were a cricket fan and applied for .test.
This means someone doesn't like your application and exercises the right that ICANN has provided to four types of busybodies. These include the String Confusion Objection meaning your TLD is confusingly similar to an existing TLD or to that of another applicant. This means you were daft enough to apply for .c0m or unfortunate enough that someone else also applied for .web.
It may be a Legal Rights Objection (for which read trademarks). This means you were deceptive enough to apply for .pepsi when your only previous experience in soft-drinks was your Great Aunt's home-made lemonade.
A more unusual objection rejoices under the name of the Limited Public Interest Objection whereby the applied-for string is contrary to generally accepted norms of morality. This means you were tasteless enough to apply for .tit.
Finally there is the possibility of a Community Objection meaning there is substantial opposition from a significant portion of the community to which the TLD may be targeted. This may trip up actual Community applicants who did less than due diligence, or others who find an as yet unknown group who are all really rather cross you didn't ask them first. This means you applied for .gardening and have incurred the wrath of the secateurs-wielding ladies of the Royal Horticultural Society.
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
And even if you escape this onslaught, don't forget the all-revealing eye of government who may be curious about your previous Nigerian 419 conviction and that new .safeasbanks application. Government onslaught, like the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, appear in four separate guises. A single government can intervene in the initial comment period (Famine). The Government Advisory Committee or GAC can declare an early warning (War). A government might charge in with a public interest objection (Conquest). And finally GAC can provide advice directly to the ICANN Board (Death).
Some of these potential failures will be unknown competitors to you. Some will be known to you. Some may even be friends. But better they fail than succeed for as another of Gore Vidal's quips admit: "Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies".
By Philip Sheppard, Director of Policy, Governance and Public Affairs, Sedari
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