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What ICANN Should Do Now to Help Future Applicants of New gTLDs

During ICANN71, the Brand Registry Group (BRG) openly asked potential future applicants what ICANN can do to help prepare them for the next gTLD round (Recording here). The answer was very clear — commit to opening the next round and provide as much information as possible early on.

However, in recent correspondence to the BRG from ICANN Chair, Maarten Botterman, he emphasized that "significant work lies ahead of us: the 2012 Applicant Guidebook must be updated with more than 100 outputs from the SubPro PDP WG". But how significant are the proposed changes?

Assessing the 123 outputs from the SubPro PRP WG, we believe eighty of the outputs could be considered minor changes, and only nine considered substantive. Based on this review, the existing applicant guidebook (AGB) remains a solid base to use going forward, together with some adjustments which could be easily applied, together with references of any anticipated amendments as the implementation work progresses. This "Preliminary AGB" could provide the early information demanded by new entrants in a short timeframe, together with translated versions, to maximize outreach and awareness across the globe.

Why is this important?

Providing this information at an early stage but recognizing there will be some adjustments to be made allows future applicants to assess and prepare their plans in realistic timeframes. These include internal conversations, preparation of business cases, and budget planning, which for many organizations can take considerable time alongside competing priorities and projects.

What can ICANN do?

ICANN has the opportunity now to be proactive by preparing and issuing a Preliminary AGB in multiple languages. This could be completed and issued while the anticipated Operational Design Phase proceeds. This would also provide a positive signal that the Board is moving ahead with the next round of preparations and responding to the ICANN community's recommendations after five years of intense work.

ICANN CEO Göran Marby has repeatedly stated his interest in opening the next round to attract the next billion users of the Internet, making it more inclusive. International Domain Names (IDNs) will help to make the Internet more representative and inclusive for our global community. Publicly committing to opening the next round and providing early information will help all potential new applicants, especially those in underserved regions.

ICANN now needs to deliver. It's been ten years since the last round of applications, and in that time, we've seen new businesses formed and grown to a global scale, such as Uber, which has grown from a small US business to one which now operates across 10,000 cities globally. ICANN must avoid stifling competition and limiting innovation by denying newcomers the opportunity to apply for new gTLDs.

The BRG has again delivered these messages to the Board in its latest letter, recommending they:

  • Commit to the next round of new gTLDs
  • Prepare and issue a preliminary AGB as soon as possible
  • Provide a realistic timeframe for the next round (as an output of the Operational Design Phase)

This is a sensible way forward, not only for newcomers but also for ICANN, which was criticized for its lack of outreach and awareness in preparation for the last application round in 2012 and will show that ICANN has responded effectively to lessons learned.

By Sean Atkinson-Henry, Secretariat, Brand Registry Group

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Comments

ICANN & New gTLDs: The Best Thing ICANN Should Do NOW By John Poole  –  Jul 16, 2021 5:01 pm PDT

The Best Thing that ICANN Should Do NOW re: future applicants of new gTLDs, would be to ignore ALL the self-serving and ill-informed advice from vested special interests, such as contained in the article above, and consider ALL the damage done to the global DNS by the ill-conceived 2012 round of new gTLDs, including, but not limited to, the usability issues, fraud and scams, as well as all the issues raised by SSAC:

First, the SSAC believes that the introduction of more gTLDs to the root namespace is not consistent with ICANN’s mission and commitment to keep the Internet secure, stable, and interoperable ....

For example, Brand gTLDs were a MISTAKE and should have NEVER been allowed into the root, as a brand a/k/a trademark is neither a monopoly NOR generic, and does not otherwise meet the requirements to become a gTLD, see RFC 1591. Of course we know Brand gTLDs have become a great extortionate way for ICANN, "consultants" and the Domain Name Industry, to make money, but Brand gTLDs certainly are NOT in the Public Interest. Oh, I forgot, ICANN doesn't care about the Public Interest (that's only the California Attorney General's job apparently), as ICANN serves only special interests, namely trademark interests and ICANN's "contracted parties" who control and have essentially captured ICANN Org, its Board of Directors, and the so-called ICANN community.

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