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Why Donuts Should Win All Wine New gTLD Applications

Jean Guillon

There are 2 reasons why Donuts, applicant for more than 300 Top-Level Domains, should become the official Registry for wine applications.

• It is not because of the content of its application: There are 3 applicants in total and all of them followed the rules provided by ICANN in its applicant guidebook.
• It is not because they protect the wine industry: the Applicant Guidebook did not "force" applicants to do so.
• It is not because they are American: there are also very good wines in Gibraltar and Ireland. In Gibraltar in particular.

So what are the reasons why Donuts is the right Registry for wine applications?

1) Donuts applied for both .VIN and .WINE Top-Level Domains.

I already imagine a Registrant (the person to buy these domain names) who would face the situation of being able to register a domain name in .VIN and not .WINE. It is what will probably happen if .VIN is owned by an applicant and .WINE by another. The same applies if rules are different, if Registrars are not the same, if launching dates are different (note this will probably happen anyway). If Donuts "wins" both applications, chances are high that a Registrant like you will probably get the chance to be served first to acquire his .wine domain name if he had previously registered his .vin domain.
Both wine applications in the hand of the same Registry is far more interesting for the end user: you don't want to buy your next car in 2 different garages.

2) Donuts is now experienced

Some institutions and myself, involved in the protection of wine Geographical Indications, asked ICANN about this question: "how are wine Geographical Indications going to be protected?" Note this is not the only issue here, wine Trademarks won't be better protected neither but at least, our voice has been heard on one question.
The result of this long information to wine institutions, Project dotVinum, their public comments, my publications in the paper and online press, their questions to ICANN and more ended to a GAC Advice.

"GAC" stands for "Governmental Advisory Committee": basically, it is a group founded by ICANN which represents Governments on such questions. Countries have their word to say when a question related to new gTLDs is a problem. The GAC advice is very important because the problem of protecting wine Geographical Indications is a serious issue for the wine Community and the GAC now seems to be the only body able to force ICANN to "do something about it". It started in 2010 with the dotVinum project. Only in 2013 ICANN listens to it…

So, why Donuts and not another applicant?

Donuts, through the GAC Early Warning Procedure, was asked by France and Luxembourg to offer a protection mechanism for wine Geographical Indications on its .VIN application or to remove it. No solution was found between applicant and French Government and this situation lead to the same question for both .WINE and .VIN. There have been many exchanges on this question. There is now a deadline set in July 2013 to answer this question and...all this is going through the public comment procedure.
Donuts is the right applicant because it is the one facing these questions with Governments and unless ICANN drops it in Durban, it appears on the reports I have on my desk that Donuts is now the most experienced applicant to help find a solution… or not.

Many things can now happen:

• ICANN could "drop it" by not paying so much attention to this question on Durban. This would lead to no protection for wine Geographical Indications. I wrote to its CEO with a solution but it looks like they do not want to confirm they received it;
• Donuts could drop its .VIN application: after all, they have more than 300 so why bother;
• ICANN could block, at the source, second level domains to be registered in all new registries to be launched;
• ICANN could force .WINE and .VIN applicant(s) to protect wine Geographical Indications in their TLD only.
• With all the promotion I am doing on both .WINE and .VIN, other applicants could decide to "bid high" to win .WINE or find an arrangement with other applicants and myself to make these TLDs a success;
• ICANN could decide to reject all wine applications because they do not offer sufficient protection mechanisms;
• ...

As a reminder, the .VIN application has prioritization number 618 on a list of 1917, would a solution be found fast on the wine Geographical Indication question, it could… not be delayed.

By Jean Guillon, New generic Top-Level Domains' specialist
Related topics: New TLDs
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