Home / Blogs

Answers from Vint Cerf: The Road Ahead for Top-Level Domains

Earlier this year we requested your questions on one of ICANN's most heated discussions — issues involving top-level domains (TLDs) — which we passed on to Vint Cerf, Google's VP and Chief Internet Evangelist and chairman of the board of ICANN. Despite an understandably heavy schedule, Vint Cerf has taken the time to personally respond to more questions than we had originally anticipated. So with our special thanks, here are his responses.

* * *

Q1: Karl Auerbach recently made this comment on the GNSO General Assembly list: "Even during my term there were those who were absolutely, totally, and utterly against auctions, and some of those are still on the board." How would you characterize current Board sentiment regarding the prospect of TLD auctions? — by Danny Lee Younger

Vint Cerf: The board has not taken a position and probably will not until the results of several processes are in hand: the current GNSO PDP on new TLDs, discussions on IDNs in various forums including the president's committee on the subject, public comment on any PDP proposals, GAC discussions, ccTLD discussions regarding IDN adjuncts to two letter country codes, and other inputs. We have learned from experience that not all TLD proposals are uniformly received, so wide-open auctions for arbitrary TLDs may prove problematic. Auctions have utility where multiple, equally qualified parties are interested in operating the same TLD.

* * *

Q2: What is the win for anybody? Do any of the new gTLD registr*s make money? The trademark folk just have to register one more domain. The users don't care, they just click a hyperlink. It seems like more stuff for ICANN to argue about instead of just doing a quiet job. All the "let a million TLDs bloom" talk seems like self-promotion disguised as egalitarianism. Where is the real win for anybody? — by Randy Bush

Vint Cerf: Good question. I've been misunderstood when quoted as saying "I don't see a strong rationale for the creation of new TLDs". It is not that I am absolutely against them; I only want a clear expression of the rationale for the creation of any particular new ones. It is clear that some groups see TLDs as a kind of vindication of their importance or stature in the cyber-world. Randy's question implicitly asks by what metric(s) a new proposed TLDs value should be measured. That's a good question to try to answer.

* * *

Q3: What would be the impact on the demand for new TLDs if there were a mechanism or service like a "DO NOT REGISTER" system for trademark holders? — by Martin

Vint Cerf: This has some of the earmarks of the various "sunrise" mechanisms proposed and tested by some of the new TLD operators. On the surface, such a registry/service might mitigate trademark holder concerns about protecting their trademarks relative to new TLDs. The tension between permitting trademarks to be used in domain names without license and the trademark holder's obligation/desire to protect the trademark to avoid dilution would not abate however. It would be of interest to hear from the intellectual property interest community whether such a scheme would attract them.

* * *

Q4: What factors of a new TLD submission favorably or unfavorably impacts the outcome? — by Jothan Frakes

Vint Cerf: We still have limited experience with new TLDs but in the last "sponsored TLD" round, three primary components were technical, financial and community-of-interest. In the 2000 round, the proof-of-concept notion and apparent utility to Internet users as well as diversity of service models proved to be important. This question gets back to Randy Bush's basic question of utility in general. One can relate to the desire for IDN TLDs among native language speakers whose languages are not readily represented in ASCII Roman characters, for example. Concerns relating to national interests, geo-political name references, and public policy interests often emerge from GAC discussions about proposed new TLDs. Such concerns can have unpredictable impacts on the proposals.

* * *

Q5: Since ICANN is supposed to foster competition, how does restricting the number of TLDs help do that? — by Chris McElroy

Vint Cerf: It depends on what you interpret useful competition to be. There are costs associated with the implementation of new TLDs and these costs are manifest in various ways (ICANN cost of operation, potential costs to trademark holders, impact on the root operation, costs to the supporting organizations considering new TLDs and so on). The idea that increasing the number of TLDs is absolutely beneficial seems to me open to some debate (see also responses to earlier questions).

* * *

Q6: Do you consider it fair and competitive to allow current companies who monopolize most of the good, short one word domain names, to have an advantage over every other business or individual user who has to choose 3-4 word domain names to compete with? — by Chris McElroy

Vint Cerf: I assume you mean by this, second level labels within a given TLD? Registrations in the existing TLDs have been essentially open and roughly speaking first come, first served, discounting some sunrise processes introduced with some new TLDs. Your thesis seems to be that short domain names are somehow more competitive than longer ones, or ones that are hierarchical in structure. Given the way in which most products and services are found on the net (through search, not through domain name guessing), I am not sure I buy the competition argument I believe you are implicitly making.

* * *

Q7: What about future generations of users and future businesses that are not even on the web yet? How long will their domain names have to be since ICANN has limited namespace to a few generic sounding TLDs, com, net, org, biz, and info and how does that foster competition? — by Chris McElroy

Vint Cerf: Please see my previous answer above. ICANN has not said it will not authorize additional TLDs but what is lacking is the basis for their authorization. That's what the PDP process is intended to help create.

* * *

Q8: Why should a trademark automatically assure one company a domain name when several businesses have the same mark? And why does ICANN not solve that problem by creating categorical TLDs that correspond to trademark categories? Then apple.computers could be as protected as apple.records — by Chris McElroy

Vint Cerf: For gTLDs one would need a universal categorization system and the trademark community does not, to my knowledge, have one. There are categories for each national trademark system but as far as I am aware, these have not been homologated. You are correct that trademarks are not unique and that has been part of the "collision" with the domain name system.

* * *

Q9: Where in ICANN's bylaws does it say that ICANN has the right to review my business plan before deciding to let me run a TLD? What if my business plan is a secret? Why does it take $50,000 to review an application? And why haven't the application fees ever been refunded to applicants who were turned down? — by Chris McElroy

Vint Cerf: Part of ICANN's responsibility is to attempt to assure the stability of the domain name system and that has been interpreted as trying to assure that operators of TLDs are equipped to run their TLDs in a sustainable way. That's out of interest for the registrants. The process of evaluation allows for confidentiality of submitted materials. ICANN contracts for outside reviews of TLD proposals so there are out of pocket costs. In the last sTLD cycle, ICANN undertook to analyze costs and to rebate unused fees, if memory serves. I would note that there are out of pocket costs even if bids are not accepted so refunds in that case are problematic.

* * *

Q10: Why can't Domain Name Holders automatically request anonymity without having to pay their Registrar, which really does NOT cost those Registrars anything extra? — by Search Engines Web

Vint Cerf: While I cannot speak for any Registrar (not being conversant with all their costs), there is always some cost associated with doing anything special. There is a tension between the desire for open WHOIS information and the desire of some registrants to be anonymous. That tension has yet to be satisfactorily resolved in policy discussions especially in the GNSO. One of the proposals has been to implement tiered access to WHOIS information, possibly by adopting a new technical substructure for implementing the system. Until that happens, registrars that are offering some form of anonymity apparently do so by adding procedures to the normal registration and apparently adding to cost.

* * *

Q11: Why is it still REQUIRED to supply a Phone Number in this day in age? — by Search Engines Web

Vint Cerf: Experience has shown that it is extremely valuable to registrants to have multiple means of being reached in case there are problems with a registration. Hijacking of email addresses is all too common or changing of email addresses without changing registration information has led to failures of communication with consequent loss of registration. So this provision strikes me as a benefit to registrants.

* * *

Q12: Your Perspective on VeriSign maintaining the .com directory, in light of all their exposed unethical marketing practices to get domains transferred to them? — by Search Engines Web

Vint Cerf: As far as I am aware, those issues have been resolved. There are arguments pro and con about presumptive renewal rights for gTLD operators. I am persuaded by the utility of stable operation and incentive to invest in the infrastructure to lean towards presumptive renewal except in the face of breach of contract.

* * *

Q13: What were the "off the record" reasons for the .XXX domains not going through? — by Search Engines Web

Vint Cerf: There haven't been any off the record reasons. All that has happened so far is that more time has been given for public input including input from the GAC after it has digested a report on the process of sTLD selection.

* * *

Q14: Years ago it was often argued that consumers in the United States were confused by domain names in TLDs other than .com… Has the popularity of search engines, and particularly search bars in web browsers, changed playing field in terms of consumer's ability to use alternate TLDs and the amount of traffic seen by sites in alternate TLDs from U.S. consumers? — by Tom Cross

Vint Cerf: That's a good question. There isn't much doubt that ".com" became a kind of symbol for domain name registrations in the US. My honest impression is that search engines have tended to diminish the importance of "guessing" domain names although I understand that a substantial number of people still try that — and if they fail, they likely turn to search mechanisms. A more serious problem has been that JAVA programmers for web pages often don't know that there are more than seven gTLDs and that many of them have more than three letters. That leads to rejection of email addresses and other entries into web forms that make reference to domain names. We need some educational outreach to fix that.

* * *

Q15: Does ICANN view the bulk domain monetization business as a legitimate activity that contributes constructively to the Internet as a communications tool? — by Tom Cross

Vint Cerf: As an engineer, I must admit that this particular "business" has been a surprise for me. However, it seems to fit within the present framework allowed by domain name operation. Advertising seems to be the primary driver here and it is argued by interested parties that advertising is an important form of commercial communication and therefore qualifies as a constructive Internet application.

* * *

Q16: How much of an impact does the bulk domain monetization business have on the revenue that registrars, registries, and ICANN generate from the domain name system? — by Tom Cross

Vint Cerf: That's a good question and I don't know the answer. Probably a key metric is the ratio of bulk domain registrations vs. registrations that are related to resolvable addresses leading to web pages, email boxes, etc. Perhaps some of the registrars and registries who are reading these Q&As would be willing to respond to that question.

By CircleID Reporter

Related topics: DNS, Domain Names, Registry Services, ICANN, Top-Level Domains, Whois

WEEKLY WRAP — Get CircleID's Weekly Summary Report by Email:

Comments

Re: Answers from Vint Cerf: The Road Ahead for Top-Level Domains Karl Auerbach  –  Mar 13, 2006 12:33 PM PDT

Chris McElroy asked why ICANN believes it has the right, and authority, to decide who obtains entry into the domain name business place and who does not, based on ICANN's evaluation of the business plans and assets of the applicant.

The response did not answer that question; the response merely asserted that ICANN must "assure that operators of TLDs are equipped to run their TLDs in a sustainable way."

That's begging the question - which I will ask again in more detail:

What right, legal or otherwise, does ICANN have to grant or deny any applicant the right to enter the domain name business place?  Why should we not consider ICANN a guild or a combination in restraint of trade in which ICANN selected industrial actors and incumbent interests in the domain name marketplace are given, as they have been given in ICANN, the right to define product specifications, establish prices floors, admit or deny potential competitors, and impose binding conditions upon those who purchase the products?

When did ICANN become a consumer protection agency?  Why must ICANN "assure ... sustainable" TLDs?  When, and how, did ICANN decide that domain name businesses must be infallible and exist forever no matter what that does to innovation and no matter what that costs the consumer?

To re-ask Chris' final question: How much longer are the 40 applicants still pending from year 2000, who paid $50,000 each, going to be strung along?

And, in response to the assertion that ICANN bears expenses even when rejecting an application - how much money, exactly, did it cost ICANN to reject the ".iii" proposal on the basis that it was not easy to pronounce?

Re: Answers from Vint Cerf: The Road Ahead for Top-Level Domains John Palmer  –  Mar 14, 2006 9:21 AM PDT

While I kind of expected it, I still need to point out that none of the really hard questions that I asked were answered by Vint Cerf.

Only the softball ones.

Re: Answers from Vint Cerf: The Road Ahead for Top-Level Domains Tom Cross  –  Mar 14, 2006 5:24 PM PDT

I thank Vint Cerf for taking the time to answer our questions, and I appreciate the fact that he chose to answer a couple of mine. However, I'm not sure that the answers here have laid all of my concerns to rest.

In particular, with regard to question 15, if you replace the words "domain name" with the word "email" you have an answer to why Spam is good for the Internet. One need not make a general indictment of all commercial speech in order to observe that a practice which increases the street price of domain names by several orders of magnitude while providing comparatively little value in return might not be the most effective use of an artificially scarce namespace. This is where your justification for broadening the number of TLDs lies.

With regard to question 10, no one had to do anything special in order to protect their identities until ICANN made accurate whois a requirement. The costs are a product of ICANN policies. The result of these policies is that numerous people who would prefer to keep their identities private have been forced to spend additonal money protecting them, or make them public to anyone, regardless of whether or not particular "anyones" have a legitimate need for that information.

The ultimate beneficiaries here, in addition to the registrars collecting privacy fees, are people filing legal claims against websites, who in some cases get to skip part of the process of determining who to sue, and the associated court costs and lawyer fees. The costs go to the users of the Internet, both in terms of fees, and in terms of spam, threats, crime, and other problems associated with having this information out there.

It ought to go without saying that this bit of social engineering has absolutely nothing to do with "technical" operation of the Internet (in general, technical problems have to do with IP addresses and not domain names, and there is a completely separate whois system for IP addresses). Whether its a reasonable balance is anybody's guess, as no one has actually figured out how much this policy costs society, and how much it saves. But I think its worth asking whether ICANN is properly equiped to strike a balance on complex social issues that have little to no technical component.

Re: Answers from Vint Cerf: The Road Ahead for Top-Level Domains Jayson Vantuyl  –  Mar 17, 2006 3:57 AM PDT

Vint:

Thanks.  I've always appreciated what appear to be your attempts to discuss DNS in terms of engineering foremost and politics later.  I find a number of your "non-answers" to these questions to be highly appropriate.

Tom:

On the subject of private registrations, I think it depends on which legal precedent you wish to emulate.

If we emulate real property, in general, property ownership is public record for obvious reasons.  If a domain is to be like property, a lack of private registrations makes sense.

If we consider DNS to be part of a publishing medium, then it is important to safeguard the ability to publish anonymously for different reasons.

Both of these strike a balance, as you say.

As long as IP addresses have valid and public WHOIS, I'm not too distressed with private registrations.  Admittedly, private domain WHOIS information can be abused by spammers and the like to hide their identity (which is my chief concern), but they already use Nevada corporations for that, so I guess that's a lost battle.

Karl:

I don't much like the growing corporatisation of the Internet.  I'm not really a fan of cutting out what business would consider "hobby" players from operating TLDs.  I think that putting a $50,000 application fee and assets requirements on a hosting a gTLD might be a bit excessive.

That said, Vint answered the question.  ICANN was charged, in its creation, of assuring stability and quality to DNS.  Having gTLDs administered by people with the resources to run them is not unreasonable.

As for "cost to the consumer", well, umm, $7/yr at GoDaddy is reasonable.  Deal with it.  That's cost effective unless you're a bulk domain buyer--but I really can't justify having more than a handful of domains--especially given the interest in keeping the namespace from being exhausted.  Definitely not in the age of search engines.

As for "innovation", I don't really know what you're getting at here.  Entrenched DNS systems probably could be replaced with something more innovative, but I don't really think that a lower bar on registrars would help that.

That said, people probably should get their money back from the application process or have a guarantee of a response within a certain time as well.

It seems you are unhappy with ICANN being able to affect the business aspects of DNS.  Well, I hate to break it to you, but the ICANN is (in theory) in charge of dealing with the technical aspects of DNS and staying out of the financial aspects.  Given that they establish a common base cost and people compete above this, I really don't see what your complaint is.  If you don't like their DNS roots, start your own.

If you want to get all antitrust, I'll remind you that authoritative DNS is in the eye of the beholder.  This is the critical issue with ICANN.  They are in charge not as a business entity but to insure technical solvency.  They only handle the cost sharing as a necessity.  They do not determine who gets to be in business, they determine who gets to be authoritative in their technical structure.  Other parties have made it into a business and continue to drive it as such.  From the point of view of the original DARPA management of the DNS and Internet, they are technical only.

Attempts to drive an agenda based on anything but technical solvency is to misunderstand their role.  If you want to attack a real issue, talk about the danger of their pandering to the very real threat to DNS technical solvency in the form of Verisign's ambitions.  Discuss how allowing "hobbyist" gTLD administrators and registrars would increase reliability and solvency by marginalizing larger business interests ability to meddle.

Re: Answers from Vint Cerf: The Road Ahead for Top-Level Domains Karl Auerbach  –  Mar 17, 2006 11:21 AM PDT

In response to Jayson Vantuyl:

You seem to be accepting without question the story that ICANN is engaged in some sort of assurance of internet stability.

What is your definition of "stability"?  From what you write, it is a definition that includes business longevity.

ICANN's role - and I was there at the beginning so I know - is technical stability.  And by that I mean matters that pertain to the ability of IP packets to flow with dispatch and reasonable reliability from source IP address to destination IP address, and matters that pertain to the timely, accurate, and unbiased flow of DNS query and DNS response packets at the upper tiers of the internet.

Q: What does the UDRP have to do with technical stability?  What does ICANN's decision that ".iii" was hard to pronounce have to do with internet stability?  What does ICANN's decision to mandate a $7+7% fee onto domain name prices have to do with technical stability?

A: Nothing.  ICANN's activities and technical stability are realms that do not intersect.

If ICANN really thought that the fate of the internet depends on the eternal life of certain businesses, such as Verisign, then why has ICANN never required real data escrows?  And why has ICANN never required those businesses to demonstrate proper and adequate processes to preserve assets so that they can be revived in the hands of a successor in interest?

It is intriguing to note that in the recent Verisign "agreement" there is a definition of internet stability which is rather close to the one I use.  Measured by the terms of that agreement, an agreement that ICANN's board has recently approved, ICANN is not engaged in matters pertaining to the stability of the internet.

Thinking of stability - Why has ICANN failed to obtain service level agreements from root server operators or established minimal standards for operation and mandated that those operators resolve names without prejudice to anyone and refrain from data mining the query stream?  And why has ICANN failed to establish a monitoring mechanism to catch DNS flaws quickly?  (I proposed that to ICANN on my first day on the ICANN board.) And why has ICANN quashed efforts to create tools that would speed recovery from human or natural disasters?

You suggest in your last paragraph that there is danger if "hobbyists" run parts of DNS.  Guess what, they do - the roots.  Fortunately they are very good hobbyists who have grown through the years to be very skilled and capable.  Personal computers came from hobbyists.  And the Wright brothers working out of their bicycle shop beat the pants off the US Government backed flying machine.

You might notice that ICANN's recent .com contract is full of business regulations but not one item that mandates that Verisign actually provide timely, accurate, or unbiased DNS responses to DNS queries from internet users.

The ICANN you are defending is like a version of the FAA that regulates the brands of soft drinks served on airlines but fails to inquire, much less mandate, that airlines actually repair their aircraft or used trained pilots.

By-the-way, you say that "ICANN was charged, in its creation, of assuring stability and quality to DNS" - Have you wondered who did that charging?  And have you wondered whether they had the legal authority to do that charging?  These questions have been both asked, and answered, several times, by respected academics and also by Congress' own GAO (who did it twice).  And in each instance the answer has been that there is no legal authority; the government was engaged in ultra vires activity.

You might find $7 per name to be OK.  But then again you have not multiplied that by roughly 50,000,000 per year, every year.  That's over $300,000,000 unfairly pulled every year out of the pockets of domain name users.

And would you answer the same way if you had to pay $7 for each phone call you make or for each glass of water you drink?  No, you'd object that those prices have nothing to do with costs.  The ICANN mandated registry fee has nothing to do with costs either.

You ask about innovation - ICANN has decided that there shall be one DNS business model: registrars and registries.  Why is that the only way?  ICANN has decided that there shall be one product: names sold for periods of from one to ten years in one year increments. Is there no need for long term or short term names?  ICANN has decided that trademark owners get priority even when the laws of nations do not give trademarks such priority.  Why should that be?  ICANN has mandated floors under prices through its arbitrary establishment of registry fees that have no relationship to actual costs.  Why?

I live in California and a few years ago we got royally screwed, to the tune of several billion dollars, not to mention an entire summer without reliable electrical power, by a company named Enron.  I see no real economic difference between what Enron did to California and what ICANN is doing to the internet.  Just as Enron's manipulations pulled money out of the pockets of Californians, ICANN's bungling is draining money out of domain name users into the bank accounts of a few registries and establishing rules that amount to intellectual property uber alles.

ICANN is as much about competition, an open marketplace, and product innovation as was Rockefeller's Standard Oil.  ICANN is rapidly transforming the internet into a re-run of the telco world of the 1950s, an era in which the greatest innovation was the Princess Phone.

Do we really want the internet to be governed by, and innovation to be limited by, an ICANN that thinks and acts like some old 1930's Soviet central planning bureau?

Had the restrictive and highly regulatory mentality that exists within ICANN today had the authority over the communications innovation that existed in the early 1970's and 1980's we would never have had an internet.

Re: Answers from Vint Cerf: The Road Ahead for Top-Level Domains Roger Williams  –  Mar 29, 2006 7:26 AM PDT

Are registrars really likely to CALL someone who owns a domain to inform them of renewal-time?

Only if they belive in good service.

Re: Answers from Vint Cerf: The Road Ahead for Top-Level Domains Chris McElroy  –  May 17, 2006 9:42 PM PDT

Back to you Vint. I appreciate you addressing my questions and you did it in such a way as to not let on that they weren't quite anbswered. Thank you.

Q5: Since ICANN is supposed to foster competition, how does restricting the number of TLDs help do that?—by Chris McElroy

Vint Cerf: It depends on what you interpret useful competition to be.

No, it seems to be what the ICANN BoD considers useful competition to be and that is not part of ICANN's responsibility nor is it their area of expertise.

There are costs associated with the implementation of new TLDs and these costs are manifest in various ways (ICANN cost of operation,

Which is already covered in the part of the domain name registration fees ICANN gets.

potential costs to trademark holders,

Again, not an area of ICANN's mission statement or MOU with the DoC.

impact on the root operation, costs to the supporting organizations considering new TLDs and so on).

There shouldn't be much cost in considering the applications since you should not be trying to determine financial capability, but only technical ability.

The idea that increasing the number of TLDs is absolutely beneficial seems to me open to some debate (see also responses to earlier questions).

Stifling competition by deciding who is allowed to compete is absolutely not beneficial to anyone and does not foster competition as ICANN is mandated to do. It is not ICANN's job to determine if my business plan is viable or not. Increasing the number of TLDs does not threaten the stability of the Internet and does foster more competition in the domain name market. ICANN's refusal to do so is blocking legitimate trade.

* * *

Q6: Do you consider it fair and competitive to allow current companies who monopolize most of the good, short one word domain names, to have an advantage over every other business or individual user who has to choose 3-4 word domain names to compete with?—by Chris McElroy

Vint Cerf: I assume you mean by this, second level labels within a given TLD?

Well, yes I do Vint.

Registrations in the existing TLDs have been essentially open and roughly speaking first come, first served, discounting some sunrise processes introduced with some new TLDs.

Let's don't discount that Vint. The sunrise periods where one TM holder gets to monopolize a specific string opf letters in every TLD is part of allowing them to monopolize namespace.

Your thesis seems to be that short domain names are somehow more competitive than longer ones, or ones that are hierarchical in structure.

Vint I understand you are an engineer. But if you do not understand how short one-word domain names are far superior to longer 4 word domain names, then you should not be part of an organization that makes decisions about domain names. I'm considered somewhat of a domain name expert, but I could be a total newby and know the value of a one-word domain name over a four-word domain name.

Given the way in which most products and services are found on the net (through search, not through domain name guessing), I am not sure I buy the competition argument I believe you are implicitly making.

I am implicitly making the assertion that one-word domain names have a huge advantage over longer multi-word domain names. If you don't buy it again, "Internet Evangelist" is a strong title for someone who doesn't understand this basic concept of SEO. Remembering a domain name is an integral part of maintaining a customer base Vint. You know this. Denying it only means you don't wish to address the issue that there is an actual shortage of good domain names and that there is a need for more TLDs.

Chris McElroy AKA NameCritic

Re: Answers from Vint Cerf: The Road Ahead for Top-Level Domains Chris McElroy  –  May 17, 2006 10:03 PM PDT

Q7: What about future generations of users and future businesses that are not even on the web yet? How long will their domain names have to be since ICANN has limited namespace to a few generic sounding TLDs, com, net, org, biz, and info and how does that foster competition?—by Chris McElroy

Vint Cerf: Please see my previous answer above. ICANN has not said it will not authorize additional TLDs but what is lacking is the basis for their authorization. That’s what the PDP process is intended to help create.

I believe the process was created to again complicate and slow down the process of creating or approving new TLDs. I saw your previous answer above that also did not address the real issue that there is a shortage of good commercially viable domain names due to ICANN restricting namespace. ICANN approved dot aero and dot museum and now dot mobi and dot tel, none of which address ther need for commercially viable TLDs. None of which can compete with a dot com. Competing TLDs have been applied for and consistantly turned down by ICANN. The introduction of these insequential TLDs is a thinly veiled attempt to give the appearance of ICANN approving more TLDs for businesses to use on the web.

* * *

Q8: Why should a trademark automatically assure one company a domain name when several businesses have the same mark? And why does ICANN not solve that problem by creating categorical TLDs that correspond to trademark categories? Then apple.computers could be as protected as apple.records—by Chris McElroy

Vint Cerf: For gTLDs one would need a universal categorization system and the trademark community does not, to my knowledge, have one. There are categories for each national trademark system but as far as I am aware, these have not been homologated. You are correct that trademarks are not unique and that has been part of the “collision” with the domain name system.

WIPO is the organization responsible for international compliance with trademarks. I'm sure someone there could give you a list of classes. Then they could easily be added to the DNS as TLDs. Then TM holders would ONLY be entitled to a domain name if the domain name matched their mark AND the TLD matched the class the trademark was registered for. This would reduce TM conflicts by 99%. Ahhh, but then the corporations that have influence would not be able to control namespace the way ICANN currently helps them do.

* * *

Q9: Where in ICANN’s bylaws does it say that ICANN has the right to review my business plan before deciding to let me run a TLD? What if my business plan is a secret? Why does it take $50,000 to review an application? And why haven’t the application fees ever been refunded to applicants who were turned down?—by Chris McElroy

Vint Cerf: Part of ICANN’s responsibility is to attempt to assure the stability of the domain name system

Technically assure the stability of the Internet, yes.

and that has been interpreted as trying to assure that operators of TLDs are equipped to run their TLDs in a sustainable way.

Is there a place in ICANN's MOU or even Mission Statement that shows that ICANN is responsible for the financial stability of every company that manages a TLD? No? I thought not.

That’s out of interest for the registrants.

Again, buyer beware. It is not ICANN's job to guarantee registrants of domain names that the registrar is financially stable.

The process of evaluation allows for confidentiality of submitted materials.

And I'm sure none of those business plans were ever discussed outside of the Boardroom with anyone. Kind of a "Trust Me" policy hunh?

Also, since ICANN is reviewing and in a very few cases accepting and approving a particular business plan in regards to running a TLD that would make ICANN liable if me registrar goes out of business.

By putting ICANN in the position of reviewing business plans and finances it increases it's own liability in this litigious society. "Also Named" is a good term for lawsuits. ICANN need to stick to technical issues and stay out of political, social, and financial policy making.

ICANN contracts for outside reviews of TLD proposals so there are out of pocket costs. In the last sTLD cycle, ICANN undertook to analyze costs and to rebate unused fees, if memory serves. I would note that there are out of pocket costs even if bids are not accepted so refunds in that case are problematic.

It's taken 6 years to review this? But thank you Vint for addressing the questions anyway. What I should have asked is if ICANN is ever going to reactivate the General Assembly and hold elections for Board Memebers as promised. So many questions so little time

Chris McElroy AKA NameCritic

Re: Answers from Vint Cerf: The Road Ahead for Top-Level Domains Chris McElroy  –  May 17, 2006 10:11 PM PDT

Why is it that whenever I get pissed off at ICANN issues that my fingers get fat and I can't spell anything? Excuse the misspelling above.

"I never misspell, I create brand new words."

Chris McElroy AKA NameCritic

To post comments, please login or create an account.

Related Blogs

Related News

Topics

Industry Updates – Sponsored Posts

.nyc Goes Public to Brand the Big Apple

pink.host: Breast Cancer Awareness by Bluehost

3 Questions to Ask Your DNS Host About DDoS

Introducing Our Special Edition Managed DNS Service for Top-Level Domain Operators

Afilias Director Wins ICANN's 2014 Leadership Award

Radix Announces the Addition of .tech to Its Portfolio

Afilias Partners With Internet Society to Sponsor Deploy360 ION Conference Series Through 2016

Infographic: Where in the World Do Chinese People Live?

Public Interest Registry Seeks Leaders to Serve on its NGO Community Advisory Council

Auctions Update: MMX Wins .law and .vip

LogicBoxes Partners with I-Content to Implement Vertical Integration for .RICH and .ONL

The Latest Internet Plague: Random Subdomain Attacks

Digging Deep Into DNS Data Discloses Damaging Domains

General Availability Kicks Off for .Website, .Press and .Host

New .ORGANIC Top-Level Domain Welcomes Leading Brands As .ORGANIC Pioneers

Dot Chinese Online and Dot Chinese Website Featured in EURid's World Report on IDNs 2014

New .ORGANIC Top-Level Domain Opens to Serve the Organic Community

DotConnectAfrica Contributes at the 9th IGF in Istanbul, Turkey

Independent Endorsement of Dot Chinese Online & Dot Chinese Website by by FiarWinds Partners

New gTLDs and Best Practices for Domain Management Policies (Video)

Sponsored Topics