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ICANN Prioritisation Draw, GAC Early Warnings

The Directors are pleased to announce that Minds + Machines received only a small number of early warnings with regard to its new generic top-level domain (gTLD) applications from members of the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Minds + Machines received a total of 6 warnings in respect of 5 of its 72 applications on its own behalf (equivalent to about 7 per cent. of its of its total applications).

In comparison, many of Mind + Machine's competitors received GAC warnings in respect of a far higher proportion of their total applications: Donuts received 49 warnings (16 per cent.), Amazon received 28 warnings (38 per cent.), Demand Media received 11 warnings (42 per cent.), and Radix received 31 warnings (100 per cent.). GAC members have issued a total of 242 early warnings, of which 129 were submitted on behalf of the Australian Government.

Early warnings from a member of the GAC represent one government's view, and do not constitute a formal objection, which requires the consensus of all GAC members. Nonetheless, they may indicate a member's intention to seek such a consensus.

A particular concern of governments seems to be in respect of "closed generics," being generic words for gTLDs where second-level registrations are to be restricted to the applicant for the gTLD, and not available to the public. This concern accounts for the many objections to Amazon.com's applications (e.g. .store), as well as those by L'Oréal (.beauty). This concern had been previously expressed by various sections of the ICANN community, and the GAC warnings may well be helpful for TLDH, which has competitive applications and which does not employ this controversial model.

The Company received warnings on the following five gTLD applications:

  • .roma The Italian GAC member expressed a concern that the Company had not engaged with the local governmental authority of Rome. In fact the Company had engaged extensively with the relevant local authority and will provide supporting documentation to the Italian GAC member. Once this evidence has been submitted, the Directors believe that the objection will be withdrawn.
  • .zulu The GAC member from the Republic of South Africa expressed concern that the application referred to the Kwa Zulu Natal as a "nation" when in fact it is not. The application wording reflected the American idiom of referring to peoples as "nations" and was not meant to imply sovereignty. The Directors will work with the Government of the Republic of South Africa to remove any ambiguity.
  • .website The Western Samoan GAC member has been assigned the country-code top-level domain .ws, which a marketing company used by Western Samoa has asserted means "website." Based on this, the GAC member from Western Samoa claims that all the .website applications will conflict with its existing business. The Directors do not believe that this GAC early warning will achieve consensus within the GAC and therefore intends to continue with Minds + Machines's .website application.
  • .green The GAC member from the Czech Republic has objected to all applications for .green except the application submitted by Dot Green Community, Inc. at the "request of DotGreen Community, Inc." The Directors do not believe that GAC members are authorised to promote one applicant over another, and do not believe therefore that this warning will be sustained by the full GAC. The Directors intend therefore to continue with Minds + Machines .green application.
  • .hotel GAC members from both France and Germany have objected to Minds + Machines (and other .HOTEL applications) on the basis that the mission statement in the application does not restrict second-level domains under .HOTEL exclusively to recognized hotels. While the Directors expect that only hotels will apply for second-level domains registered under .hotel, the Directors will work with the German and French GAC members to amend Minds + Machines application to make this point explicit.

Separately, The American Bible Society, one of the Company's clients, received an early warning for their application for .bible from the GAC member for India, who expressed concern that the application was not sufficiently inclusive of that country's 27 million Christians. Minds + Machines will work with The American Bible Society to overcome the concerns of the Indian GAC member.

TLDH is also a joint venturer for .rugby, backed by the International Rugby Board (IRB), and for .basketball, backed by the Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA), and as previously announced there are competing applications for both these gTLDs. The Directors are encouraged therefore by the warning by the GAC member from the United Kingdom in respect of the competing applications for .RUGBY, on the basis that only the application supported by the sport's governing body (i.e. the IRB) should prevail. The GAC member for Greece has made a similar warning regarding the competing applications for .basketball, on the basis that the application supported by FIBA should also prevail.

The full list of GAC early warnings are available on the ICANN website.

Finally, ICANN has announced that the prioritization draw ("Draw") will be held on 17 December 2012 in Los Angeles to assign priority numbers to all new gTLD applications. Each application will be assigned a randomly-drawn priority number. These priority numbers will be used to determine the order in which initial evaluation results are released. Only those applicants who purchase a ticket will be able to participate in the Draw.

A further announcement will be made following the Draw.

About Minds + Machines

Minds + Machines

Minds + Machines (LSE:MMX) is a leading owner and operator of new generic Top Level Domains ("gTLDs"), and provides registry services to a range of high-profile clients. The Group also provides domain name services to consumers through its wholly owned registrar operations in the US and Europe. (Learn More)

Related topics: ICANN, Internet Governance, Top-Level Domains

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