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Global Public Interest Appeal for ICANN's New gTLD Program

Leaving the Public Forum yesterday at the ICANN meeting in Costa Rica I had learned of a couple of decisions which to me goes against serving the global public interest. At an ICANN Board meeting a few months ago which I unfortunately missed the Board resolved matters related to how financial support and batching will take place in the new gTLD Program. I would like to put forward proposals for adjusting these, in a very easy manner that does not delay or otherwise affect the deadlines and program put forward by ICANN's new gTLD Program.

#1: Those applying for financial support in the ICANN new gTLD Program will have their application rejected if they do not pass the established criteria for financial support.

My suggestion is to change this to give the applicant a reasonable amount of time to search for financial support and still get their application processed.

#2: Those applying for financial support will automatically have their application placed in the last evaluation batch (if batching becomes necessary, and based on rumors on total number of applications suggest that it will).

My suggestion to change is that if the financial support is approved then these applications should be in the first batch, and if it is denied they should be in the last batch. This also allows those denied financial support time to try to obtain financial support elsewhere, per #1 above.

I understand of course that a rationale behind these rules is to prevent or discourage everybody to apply for financial support. However by these rules I believe we are preventing and/or otherwise unnecessarily disadvantaging a significant group in our community.

The most important reasons are as follows:

$ and first-to-market advantage

As has been discussed many times 185.000$ is a high amount for parts of our community and it is very encouraging to see the opportunity for financial support from ICANN on that issue. However an application encompasses more than merely the ICANN application fee. It requires an extraordinarily large amount of work and resources to get an application completed and finished in a manner that would meet the established requirements. An applicant that cannot afford the 185K also has difficulty in raising the necessary resources for developing the application further not to mention all together losing 47K$ if denied financial support. In addition, the applicant is also placed in a disadvantaged position since there are negative financial consequences with being batched at the end of the ICANN application processing queue giving other applicants a substantial first mover advantage.

Trust

Trust in the ICANN model in regions less served by the Internet development that many of us are used to is not very high, and it is not improved when they are presented with financial support models that are difficult to understand, batching rules that they cannot beat to get to the market first, and auto-requirements to be last in queue if they happen to be from a developing nation or region where 185.000$ is a fortune simply difficult to comprehend. Some give up and will not apply. Postponing their access and participation in this new development to the second round (which we don't know when, if ever, will take place) will simply put them further behind the technology development.

You might argue that if one cannot afford the cost for applying, marketing, and setting up a system that fulfills ICANN's requirements then the new gTLD Program is not them. It was also said to me after the Public Forum that all need to be treated equally and the current system does that. I completely disagree.

The process for which batch you will get it is easily gamed for those applicants in this industry or with access to savvy DNS/Internet people. That is a fact and that is not equal treatment.

I feel very lucky to have been a part of the ICANN community and able to use the Internet for as long as I have, and I believe people that just happen to be born in a region where technical development is not as high as in the western world deserves more assistance from us in getting access to the very same benefits that we have had for many years.

I agree we cannot come up with a model that ensures completely fair and equal treatment of all, but I think the above two suggestions goes a long way of providing some needed global public interest to our community.

By Tina Dam, Co-Founder MYTLD

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