Employ Media files for arbitration.
On Tuesday I surmised that the .jobs dispute between Employ Media and ICANN was about to cost you — the domain name owners that pay hefty fees to ICANN — a lot of money.
Indeed, it appears the lawyers’ clocks have already started billing hours.
Yesterday Employ Media filed for arbitration with ICANN. This will be a very expensive process, even if ICANN wins.
This is highly plausible. Whether or not Employ Media should have been able to expand .jobs in the first place is a very valid question. But you have to admit the way ICANN handled this was confusing at best and incompetent at worst.
First, ICANN’s board seemingly approved the expansion of .jobs. Then a coalition of companies including Monster and CareerBuilder put pressure on ICANN. Next thing you know ICANN sends a breach notice to Employ Media, stating that its rules for registration have been to lax for years and that the program that the board seemed to approve violates its contract.
So here you have a situation where ICANN can face a legal challenge from deep-pocketed web companies or decide to take on a smaller outfit. The legal challenge from the web companies could have delayed or brought unwanted attention to ICANN’s plans to expand new top level domain names, something ICANN wants to avoid at all costs. (After all, someone can apply for .careers and do essentially the same thing.)
It doesn’t look good.
The arbitration will likely allow Employ Media to continue its universe.jobs scheme of creating thousands of jobs sites while the case is decided. In doing so, the company can figure out if universe.jobs will make any money for it. If it decides that it won’t make the money it expects, it can always acquiesce.