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What May Happen to GAC Advice? 3 Fearless Predictions

Dirk Krischenowski

1. Prediction: A Lesson in Story Telling.

Many TLD applicants are likely to respond to the GAC Advice in a manner that is like story telling: Based on a mixture of fiction garnished with some facts from their applications, applicants will write savvy responses with only one aim — to calm down the GAC's concerns and survive the GAC Advice storm. The "duck and cover" strategy.

Background:

According to the Applicant Guidebook, material changes to applications need to go through a Change Request process. In contention sets Change Requests that are advantageous to a specific applicant are not likely to pass due to competitor's opposition. Even in non-contentious cases Change Requests may not pass, as they could be anti-competitive. Also, the permanent opportunity for applicants in contention sets to amend their applications (by PICs, Change Requests or by the response to a GAC Advice) raises serious anti-competitive questions, as there is very limited space to make changes to an application according to the Applicant Guidebook.

Proposed solution:

No fiction — only facts! Applicants who have not been able to determine privacy issues, consumer protection issues or other issues associated with their TLD application over 12 months after filing their application raise serious concerns whether they are the appropriate entity to operate a TLD.

2. Prediction: Pass the hot potatoes, Joe.

Close to no decisions will be made to reject applications that are included in the GAC Advice. It is to be expected that only a handful of applications, where there is overwhelming support for a rejection (such as those in IV 1. In the Beijing Communiqué), will actually be rejected. This might happen due to legal and liability issues or simply lack of a clear-cut process

Background:

Governments demanded instruments — namely GAC Early Warning and GAC Advice — to prevent applications they were unhappy with. Now the GAC filed an Advice for more than 500 applications, asking for more security, more accountability and more appropriate operation of regulated industries TLDs, among other issues. According to the Applicant Guidebook, the consequence of not fulfilling the GAC Advice (without the option to distort the application to an noncredible extent) would be a dismissal of the gTLD.

Unfortunately, the current GAC Advice process poses loopholes for all parties involved which offer the chance not to be responsible for this dismissal but instead not make any decision at all. This could be the next occasion where ICANN does not serve the Public Interest and the Community but those that play hardball in this application process by their lobbying and financial power.

Proposed solution:

GAC and ICANN Board should accept the responsibilities they asked for!

3. Prediction: Time and tide wait for no man.

GAC Advice has to be executed before contention resolution for applicants in contention sets starts. Otherwise an applicant might succeed in the Contention Set who will be thrown out because of GAC Advice later in the process. This timing would not make sense.

Background:

The GAC Advice process should take into account the process and timing of the whole Application Process. The process following the execution of GAC Advice has to be finished before the Contention Resolution Process is being initiated. Otherwise an applicant who is willing to provide the safeguards being asked for in the GAC Advice may have been eliminated in the process (e.g. by an auction), while the winner of the Contention Resolution is an applicant who is not willing to abide by the GAC Advice. A TLD could then not be awarded at all although a suitable candidate was in place, making the GAC Advice meaningless.

Proposed solution:

Don't wait! We have attached a detailed proposal (PDF chart here) for the harmonization of the GAC Advice process with the New gTLD Application Process. The chart clearly demonstrates how both processes may run in parallel and come together before the contention resolution.

By Dirk Krischenowski, Founder and CEO of dotBERLIN GmbH & Co. KG
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Related topics: ICANN, Internet Governance, New TLDs
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Share your comments

Lobbying? Jean Guillon  –  Apr 21, 2013 3:08 AM PDT

But, isn't it how it works?
At least it is how it works for wine TLDs.

Dirk,Although we usually agree, this is not Rubens Kuhl  –  Apr 21, 2013 4:13 AM PDT

Dirk,

Although we usually agree, this is not one of those times. There is a strong presumption throughout the AGB that as it's an expansion program, it's better not to delegate a string than to delegate it in any way contrary to due process.

GAC Advice and Board Approval, as specified in the AGB currently, cannot be used to pick winners in contention sets. Only the staff, following the community + board rules, can decide which one to recommend for delegation. Board may or may not award the string to that specific applicant considering both GAC Advice and its own criteria for not doing it, but that's it.

It's not senseless timing, it's removing subjective criteria out of the equation as much as possible. This doesn't imply however that GAC Advice won't play a part in contention set resolution: applicants that are likely not to get delegation will be less motivated to put much money in an auction and more motivated to deal their way out of the process with other applicants.

The same apply to closed generics, an issue already being looked at by the board. Applicants with closed generics know they have a higher risk factor than other applicants, which they will factor in determining how much they will spend or not.

Although it has taken too long, this is still the first round of the process (not counting 2000/2004 which were very different processes). Strings that do not get awarded this time can be applied to in future rounds, and applicants will use ICANN board rejections in deciding which strings to apply to then.

Applicant responses to GAC advise: Do nothing ?. Wait and see ? Exploit loopholes? Withdraw ? Phil Buckingham  –  Apr 21, 2013 9:22 AM PDT

Dirk,
3 Fearless Predictions
1. The key word here is "material " . Who will decide on this ? Surely a "material " change, via a change request , will require a complete reevaluation of the application . So where does that leave affected applicants that have already passed IE ??
2. The assumption here is that the ICANN Board will totally reject GAC Advice. For those applicants that have received GAC Advice should they await further clarification from ICANN and/or take a risk and not respond by May 10 .How big is that risk that the application is rejected. Time and substantial investment wasted ?
3. Agreed, GAC Advice determination and conclusion must come before any contention set is resolved. Can you confirm that ICANN has said that no contention sets can be resolved until all application's IE results have been issued ( currently targeted at 31 August ) - which brings us back to 1.
What is for sure that there will be further delays affecting at least 1/4 of all applicants,their launch strategies and burn rate - whilst ICANN sits on $357M of application fees.

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