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Strong Support for IDNs, GEOs and/or Communities to Go First

Dirk Krischenowski

ICANN's public comment period on how to resolve the contention scenario for probably 1,409 new gTLDs entering the root has closed on 19 August 2012. Alltogether 98 comments from parties around the globe have been received, representing language communities, cities, corporations, entrepreneurs and Internet users.

In contrast to many comment periods we have participated in during the 7-year long policy development process for new gTLDs it seems that a clear opinion emerges from the applicants' community and other parties. 46 comments out of the 98 comments (47%) have been received with the clear message that applications for Geographical Names, Communities and/or Internationalized Domain Names (gacs) should be evaluated and delegated first, before all other applicants. Why this?

Public Interest is convincing

In the Applicant Guidebook ICANN has valued gTLD applications for Geographical Names, Communities and IDNs differently by attributing a higher weight to them than to Standard gTLDs, giving them special categories, while also adding restrictions and other requirements to them. This valuation has been agreed upon by a multi-stakeholder consensus within the global Internet community during the development of the policies for the new gTLD process. The goals of this special treatment are to protect the global public interest together with the all over goals of the new gTLD program in giving Internet users more choice, supporting their language and protecting communities' high semantic meaningful gTLDs on the Internet. The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) stated in Feb 2011: "The GAC reiterates its strong belief that the new gTLD process should meet the global public interest in promoting a fully inclusive and diverse Internet community and infrastructure, consistent with the Affirmation of Commitments."

Based on these protections it would be highly inconsistent to value all applications the same in a batching/sequencing process. Processing all gTLD applications in the same manner would compromise these achievements and differences by valuing generic gTLDs such as .BET, .CLICK or .CASINO in the same way as public interest gTLDs such as .PARIS, .IEEE or .ORG in Chinese characters. This argument seems to have been the basis for the many comments in favour of prioritizing the Geographical Name, Community and IDN categories.

In addition to the vocal support of this position, at least a dozen national, city and regional governments have written to ICANN during the past months to make their voices heard. A message of all these letters was the request for priority of new gTLDs which are in the public interest. ICANN neither published these letters nor gave it any feedback to the senders.

ICANN needs good News

Additionally, after all the terrible technical glitches, procedural shortcomings and delays ICANN needs to find back to a path of vigor and reliability to regain trust in the global Internet community. And success stories in the new gTLD process are desperately needed as soon as possible as well.

Prioritizing Geographical Name, Community and IDN applications and having them delegated first offers the chance for ICANN to overcome its damaged image, gain new self-esteem and to silence ICANN's biggest adversaries.

To read all the comments please go to:
http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/newgtld-input/2012/thread.html

The GeoTLDs' comment is published here:
http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/newgtld-input/attachments/20120819/...

By Dirk Krischenowski, Founder and CEO of dotBERLIN GmbH & Co. KG. More blog posts from Dirk Krischenowski can also be read here.

Related topics: ICANN, Multilinguism, Policy & Regulation, Top-Level Domains

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