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The ICANN GDD summit 2016 kicks off in Amsterdam, May 16-19, 2016

Not your usual suspects

This summit has a different setup compared to regular ICANN meetings. The main difference is that only the contracted parties will be engaging, i.e. Registrars and Registries and of course ICANN, allowing us to deal with topics that normally aren’t on the agenda.

English: This is a logo for ICANN. Magyar: ICA...

English: This is a logo for ICANN. Magyar: ICANN logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What’s on the menu?
A whole array of topics will be discussed during these three days. Let me give you a little background information regarding some of the sessions.

TLD & Universal Awareness, not to be confused with Universal Acceptance.
Reality has kicked in for the Registries: the registration projections for the new gTLDs have now been replaced by more realistic numbers and everyone agrees that the new gTLDs are in for the long haul. This session, led by the Domain Name Association (DNA), will discuss how we can all create more awareness.

New gTLDs: Getting to the next round
That’s right: there will be a next round. I predict that, somewhere around 2020, you can apply for new TLDs again. There is some talk that this round will be mostly used for brands to apply for their own TLD. On the other hand, ICANN warned 200 brand owners to move ahead with their TLDs as they have made zero progress in the current round. All things considered, it will be an interesting discussion for sure.

Healthy Domains Initiative (HDI)
Botnets, malware, phishing: abuse comes in many forms and is becoming a threat to our industry. The threat being that governments will try to get a grip on this. Governments are usually not technical driven organizations and, even worse, often do not understand technology. In my opinion this makes them the least likely candidate to deal with this “abuse” problem. In conclusion: we need to get ahead of this issue.

Universal Acceptance (UA)
In my opinion this might be the most important topic of the summit. Let me explain the issue with an example.

The TLD .SOCIAL suddenly became very popular in South America a year ago. A lot of people there registered .SOCIAL only to discover that the Internet Service Providers (ISP) in South America where not supporting .SOCIAL. In fact, .SOCIAL was not working at all. Moreover, most of the ISP operators had no idea that a lot of new extensions had been released, causing major problems in all layers of the networking infrastructure.

This problem is still ongoing and ranges from apps not supporting new gTLDS to email servers not delivering email. Even though ICANN cannot solve this problem, the corporation does support the Universal Acceptance Group by any means to get this issue under control.

Room for more.

There is more on the menu during the summit for sure, but in my opinion, the topics mentioned above are the most interesting ones. Nevertheless, I expect the rest of the topics to be pretty good as well. Stay tuned for an update after the summit. Interested in all topics? You’ll find the complete agenda here.

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Registrar Negotiating Team Statement On The 2013 RAA

Last night ICANN published an updated version of the registrar accreditation agreement 2013 with additional documents. Though the Registrar negotiation team has been working on this for 18 months in conjuction with ICANN staff they feel that the publishing of the documents was to premature.

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The official Registrar Negotiating Team Statement:

After nearly 18 months of negotiations with ICANN over a new Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), formal negotiations have concluded. The posting of a “proposed” 2013 RAA by ICANN for public comment signals that ICANN staff believes that negotiations have concluded and the remaining issues will not be resolved.

The Registrars’ NT disagrees. To be clear, this is NOT the outcome that registrars wanted, and they remain ready and willing to continue negotiations.

Prior to the Toronto ICANN meeting (October 2012), all parties acknowledged that they were very close to agreement on all remaining issues. The process appeared to be reaching a favorable conclusion and when ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé communicated his desire to have RAA negotiations wrapped up by the end of 2012, registrars felt it was an ambitious timeframe, but one worth pursuing for the benefit of all parties.

When negotiations finally resumed in February 2013 much to the surprise of registrars, the few remaining issues were not the only items under discussion. ICANN staff presented a list of 10 brand new items for inclusion in the agreement, under the pretext of enhancing the “public interest.” Furthermore, these new items came along with an arbitrary deadline and decision to link the 2013 RAA to the new gTLD timeline.

Among these new demands was a Registrant Rights and Responsibilities document (R3), a temporary privacy accreditation program and a requirement that registrars accept and implement recommendations of the WHOIS Expert Working Group, which had yet to be formed and whose work is just beginning.

Although registrars were surprised by these new demands, registrars worked in good faith with ICANN to accommodate its intentions. For example, registrars consulted with their members to fine-tune the R3 document to make it easier to understand and readily translatable in other languages.

Some of the other new items for inclusion transcend the RAA and could affect the entirety of the multi-stakeholder model. For example, ICANN insisted on including a proposed Revocation (or “blow up”) Clause that would have given them the ability to unilaterally terminate all registrar accreditations. After major pushback, ICANN staff relented and in its place proposed giving the ICANN Board the ability to unilaterally amend the RAA. This is identical to what ICANN inserted into the proposed new gTLD registry agreement – a clause met with strong opposition not only from the Registry Stakeholder Group but from the broader ICANN community.

The effect of such a clause in the primary agreements between ICANN and its commercial stakeholders would be devastating to the bottom-up, multi-stakeholder model. First, it will effectively mean the end of the GNSO’s PDP, as the Board will become the central arena for all controversial issues, not the community. Second, it creates an imbalance of authority in the ICANN model, with no limits on the scope or frequency of unilateral amendments, and no protections for registrars and more important registrants.

In addition to the new items for inclusion there was a surprise announcement that all new gTLD registries must only use registrars that have signed the 2013 RAA, a transparent effort by ICANN to arbitrarily link the new gTLD program to the outcome of RAA negotiations. This requirement would create separate “classes” or “levels” of registrars, which is unprecedented in the DNS industry. There can and must be only one meaning of “ICANN-Accredited.”

All of the items that have been agreed to over the past 18 months would, by themselves, produce an RAA that is vastly improved over the current 2009 version. If adopted, that RAA would significantly raise performance requirements for every ICANN accredited registrar and bring dramatic improvements to the domain name ecosystem. Nearly all of the Law Enforcement requests that were endorsed by the GAC have been included, as well as the major items that were requested by the GNSO are included in that RAA. That RAA would bring registrant verification. That RAA would bring enhanced compliance tools.

Registrars must emphasize that the key differences between that RAA and the one currently proposed by ICANN are not issues raised by Law Enforcement, GAC or the GNSO but by ICANN staff.

It now moves to the greater ICANN community to review these competing draft RAAs, and registrars look forward to those public discussions. We welcome engagement with all stakeholders on the new 2013 RAA, and what it means for registrars, registrants, and the management of the DNS as a whole.

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ICANN 44 a week in review

ICANN 44 Prague was a busy event and produced a lot of news and new information.

Friday June 22 : ICANN announces it’s new CEO and President Fadi Chehadé.

Saturday June 23 : The biggest news this day must have been the fact that ICANN

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suspended the Digital Archery system and later in the week abandoned it completely.
Sunday June 24 : A number of registrars participated in a briefing with the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) regarding the Domain Name Marketplace and the role of registrars in the ecosystem.
Points being discussed with the GAC.

  • Registrar business models
  • the role resellers play
  • the diverse nature of the RrSG (Registrars Stakeholder Group) members

Monday June 25 : The RrSG met directly with representatives from the Law Enforcement community on Monday to provide them an update and to update them on the status of the 12 requests they had previously indicated were important. The RrSG has accepted 10 of the 12 proposals.
Outstanding issues are WHOIS verification and Data Retention.
In the evening ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom had it’s farewell party which was largely attended.

Tuesday June 26 : Tuesday was a busy day for the Registrars.
RAA (Registrar Accreditation Agreement) discussions
gTLD discussions about the implications for Registrars and it’s Resellers/Customers.
The Executive Committee of the RrSG met with the ICANN Board Tuesday afternoon. Main topics were the new RAA and gTLDs.
A healthy interaction with the ICANN compliance team.
ICANN renews the .com contract with Verisign.

Wednesday June 27: WHOIS replacement workshop. A few observations from this workgroup.

  • No uniform data model that exists for domain name registration data.
  • The WHOIS protocol itself has no standard capacity for handling non-ASCII text.
  • Directory services do not satisfy legitimate needs for access to different granularities of data.

Replacing the current WHOIS system as we know it, is one of the top priorities of ICANN’s priority list.

Participation as a panel member regarding the IRTP Part C Update. This workgroup is gathering information to recommend a control function for domain name owner changes.

No further news on the URS. ICANN has not selected an URS provider yet.

Thursday June 28 : Participation as a panel member regarding the locking of a domain name during an UDRP (Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution)
Most noteable was the public forum. This session lasts around 5 hours and includes a variety of topics. This is a session where anyone and everyone can ask their questions or make comments to the ICANN board.

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ICANN 44 Statement from the Registrar Stakeholder Group

The Registrar Stakeholder Group (RrSG) would like to provide this statement regarding the current status of RAA negotiations and the update posted on the ICANN website on June 4, 2012.
The RrSG and its representatives on the Negotiating Team (NT) have been actively involved in discussions with ICANN staff and is pleased to see substantive progress reported to the community in advance of the upcoming ICANN meeting in Prague.

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Among the issues that have been agreed to include improved registrar response and

availability to law enforcement, registrar abuse point of contact, publication of registrar information, establishment of an ICANN accreditation for privacy/proxy service as well as many other important issues which have been identified both by law enforcement and the greater community.

As ICANN points out in the documents recently released, several issues remain outstanding including:

 

  • Whois verification/validation
  • Data retention
  • Future RAA amendments process
  • Registrar obligations to support certain technologies which today are optional
  • Port 43 whois access for thick registries

The RrSG fully agrees that several of the open items require input and discussion from the broader community as they contemplate significant changes to the domain name ecosystem as it exists today, and will impact the expansion of the Internet to new users and new regions of the world. We believe the upcoming meeting in Prague will provide an excellent venue for initiating these discussions and the RrSG looks forward to participating in those conversations.

 

More information about the RAA 2012 can be viewed here.

 

The new gTLD list.

The new gTLD list.

This week several companies revealed how many applications they filed, and in some cases revealed more information then just the amount of applications.

Google has applied for 50 gTLD’s across 4 categories.

  • Trademarks, like .google

    Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

    Dot Google

  • TLD’s related to Google’s core business, like .docs
  • TLD’s that will improve user experience, such as .youtube, which can increase the ease with which YouTube channels and genres can be identified
  • TLD’s where Google thinks has interesting and creative potential, such as .lol

Directi applied for 31 gTLD’s that will be heavily contested.
.web, .shop, .bank, .law, .music, .news, .blog, .movie, .baby, .store, .doctor, .hotel, .play, .home .site, .website, .click, .online, .one, .ping, .space, .world, .press, .chat, .city, .deals, .insurance .loans, .app, .host, and .hosting.

TLDH applied for 92 TLD’s :

.abogado, .app, .art, .baby, .beauty, .beer, .blog, .book, .casa (Spanish for .home), .cloud, .cooking, .country, .coupon, .cpa, .cricket, .data, .dds, .deals, .design, .dog, .eco, .fashion, .fishing, .fit, .flowers, .free, .garden, .gay, .green, .guide, .home, .horse, .hotel, .immo, .inc, .latino, .law, .lawyer, .llc, .love, .luxe, .pizza, .property, .realestate, .restaurant, .review, .rodeo, .roma, .sale, .school, .science, .site, .soccer, .spa, .store, .style, .surf, .tech, .video, .vip, .vodka, .website, .wedding, .work, .yoga, .zulu, 网址 , 购物

 

The Public Interest Registry (.ORG) applied for .NGO and .ONG.

CloudNames went for .cloud and .global.

Starting Dot announced they applied for .archi, .bio, .design, .immo and .ski.

Based on the current information from ICANN it is expected that a total of 1700+ gTLD’s will be revealed on June 13th.
ICANN expects the first new gTLD’s to launch early 2013.
It’s estimated that ICANN can batch 500 gTLD’s each year.

Delays?
Currently there are a few issues that could delay ICANN’s gTLD time table.
The batching process is still disputed in it’s current setup. In it’s current form, all the gTLD applicants are allowed thru Digital Archery to apply for the first batch. Industry experts argue that contested gTLD’s ( .WEB for example) should not enter the first batch.
The Trademark Clearninghouse has some lose ends, though it is expected to be up and running in October later this year.
Currently no URS provider has been selected by ICANN.

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