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And the Wait Continues for .Corp, .Home and .Mail Applicants

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On 6 March 2017, ICANN's GDD finally responded to an applicant letter written on 14 August 2016 to the ICANN Board. This was not a response from the ICANN Board to the letter from 2016 but a response from ICANN staff. The content of this letter can best be described as a Null Response. It reminded the applicants that the Board had put the names on hold and was still thinking about what to do. After 6 months of silence from the ICANN Board, the GDD staff reminds the applicants that they have not yet gotten a response and that the "the topic of name collision continues to be considered by the ICANN Board," and tells then where they can go to continue waiting for a response. This sad episode reminds one of some of the worst stories one hears about bureaucratic dithering. The applicants continue waiting for a timely response from ICANN. 24 applicants with over $4 million in applicant fees that sit in ICANN's coffers, continue to sit in ICANN's waiting rooms.

Five years after the gTLD round of 2012, applicants still wait for a response without hope. ICANN is now in the midst of discussing subsequent applications for new gTLDs. In this process, the ICANN Board asks the community when they will be ready to open applications for more gTLDs, yet cannot find time to get moving on solving this problem from previous rounds. I have discussed this problem in several blog posts in the past and find it amazing that after all this time the issue remains untouched by the ICANN Board.

The next step in solving this problem is actually rather easy. The applicants remain ready to work with ICANN on finding ways to solve this situation. There have been previous recommendations that a group of experts, from among the applicants, from ICANN staff, and from the technical community work together to discover a solution. Various mitigation strategies and technical solutions remain possible but unexplored and are begging to be discussed and worked on. It is unbelievable that 5 years after the submission, ICANN has not put together a task force to resolve this embarrassing lack of progress. Does ICANN hope the applicants tuck their tails behind them and walk away without a resolution?

The 3 domain names are often referred to by some in the technical community as toxic names because of the complexities that come from having been usurped for unapproved and dangerous private usage. The fact that these names are used improperly remains a risk for the Internet and constitutes a possible vector for attack. These so-called toxic domain names should be treated as any toxic threat to the environment, with a cleanup. The best way to cleanup the names remains to mitigate the risks, educate the public, and put the names into delegated service. The domain names .corp, .home, and .mail should be designated as an Internet 'super site' and plans should be immediately developed for cleaning up the situation.

Some claim that the names should just be put on a toxic reserved list and abandoned. Not only would this perpetuate the possible risks they pose to the Internet, it would encourage others to just grab any name they want and to use them until they become toxic. While ICANN takes its time to create deliberate well-formed programs for safe domain name delegation, it also continues its implicit invitation to just grab any name someone wants, knowing that there will be no response other than to allow the miscreants to continue using undelegated names with impunity. ICANN allows families and businesses to continue using names like .corp, .home, and .mail without any attempt to inform them of the problem or to protect them from the security risks the use of such undelegated names may cause.

It is hard to understand how ICANN could open up further applications for gTLDs while these applicants continue to dangle in the wind and while the Internet remains at risk from misuse of these Internet global resources. How could ICANN possibly collect more money from applicants when so many are left unresolved? How can an organization whose mission includes the stability and security of the Internet allow such a risk to continue unmitigated?

As ICANN 58 begins, one wonders how long this intolerable situation can be allowed to continue without well considered redress.

By Avri Doria, Researcher. More blog posts from Avri Doria can also be read here.

Related topics: Cybersecurity, DNS, DNS Security, Domain Names, ICANN, Top-Level Domains

 
   

Comments

Get rid of .HOME and .MAIL Jean Guillon  –  Mar 13, 2017 3:02 AM PDT

The .HOMES and .EMAIL new gTLDs are live already.

Allowing .HOME and .MAIL domain names is going to create more confusion in an already very confusing Internet see here too: http://www.jovenet.consulting/reports/singularandplural.

The ICANN board has the final word on this: WE DON'T NEED domain names ending in ".home" nor ".mail".

Captain Obvious Says: The Famous Brett Watson  –  Mar 13, 2017 7:25 AM PDT

We didn't NEED any of the new domains.

I did Jean Guillon  –  Mar 13, 2017 9:20 AM PDT

Actually, I did. I find much more precision in new gTLDs rather than ".com"
The problem that I start to see is the increasing confusion due to similar versions of Top-Level Domains. I wrote a complete list and this is tomorrow's issue for any person looking for a domain name.

Need/Want The Famous Brett Watson  –  Mar 14, 2017 1:48 AM PDT

That's not "need", Jean, that's "want". Other people want other things. What makes your particular wants special?

Correct Jean Guillon  –  Mar 14, 2017 2:02 AM PDT

But we don't need them neither since we already have ".email" (...)

I don't see why marking those domains Todd Knarr  –  Mar 13, 2017 9:28 AM PDT

I don't see why marking those domains as "toxic, reserved forever" isn't a valid response. Dumping the contaminated material into a shipping container and tossing it down a black hole's an efficient way of cleaning up the mess. Those domains became commonly-used for invalid purposes because at the time there was a general assumption that there were the country-code domains (2 letters) and the handful of generic TLDs (3 letters), and any further expansion was going to occur under the ccTLDs so grabbing 4-letter domains for private use was safe. At this point that assumption's no longer generally held so it's unlikely any domains are going to be grabbed for private use like that unless they're specifically reserved for it.

Can you explicate a good reason not to simply file .corp, .mail and .home as "permanently reserved for private use"? So far your only reason seems to be "These companies want to make money off them.", and that doesn't seem to me to be nearly good enough to offset the mess it'll create for everybody else.

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