ICANN to critics: we’ve already done pilot TLD rounds

ICANN says it’s done three pilot rounds of top level domain expansion.

A frequent complaint about ICANN’s new top level domain plans in recent months is the scale, with numerous groups asking ICANN to run a pilot program.

But in response to an FTC query, ICANN has faced this issue head on by pointing out something obvious: it has already run “pilot” rounds.

1. 2000 proof of concept round which approved seven new TLDs

2. 2004 sponsored top level domain program

3. 2009 IDN fast track that has already generated 30 IDN ccTLDs

ICANN says it learned important lessons in these rounds of TLD expansion. First, TLDs can safely be added to the internet. Second, placing limits on the number of TLDs approved or the type (sponsored) puts ICANN in a position of picking winners and losers. It also leads to gaming by people that try to fit into the mold required to be approved.

The letter to the FTC also subtly reminds the commission that there are already 300 top level domain names on the web — many more than the 22 often cited by critics.


  1. says

    ICANN continues to make things up as they go along. Go back to the Kurt Pritz testimony to the Senate:


    where he stated on page 4:

    “Two prior rounds of new TLDs have been limited by size or type — and the restrictions hobbled the realization of benefits.”

    So ICANN’s “logic” is as follows: If the prior rounds were successful, that’s evidence we need more new TLDs. If the prior rounds were *not* successful, that’s evidence we need EVEN MORE and UNLIMITED new TLDs.

    I think a third grader can see the problem with that “logic”.

    The 2008 letter from the NTIA/DOC/DOJ used the correct logic, namely that past rounds were utter failures, and that there should be no future rounds. Instead, competition should occur by having open and regular competitive tenders for *existing* TLDs (e.g. com/net/org) which would lead to an immediate reduction in fees for consumers (probably on the order of a savings of at least $5/yr/domain, which is at least $500 million/yr based on 100 million+ com/net/org).

    ICANN’s new TLD plan is a ploy by existing TLD operators like VeriSign, Afilias and Neustar who don’t want competitive tenders for their existing registry operations. They want protection of their own monopolies/oligopolies. This demonstrates complete regulatory capture of ICANN by these anti-competitive registry operators. The NTIA/DOC/DOJ should be doing an antitrust investigation and taking action to protect consumers.

  2. says

    well said, they didnt learn the clearest lesson, not needed, just wanted, used to be by only others, now its others and ICANN.

    have also shown ICANN cant control the slippage of the .travel, .jobs and .pro to gtld equivalents.

    i give ICANN a 100% graded, the interest works and they havent disrupted it, yet, why risk that, oh yeah money and jobs for some of the individuals involved. i never thought id say it, but bring back some of the louis tuton restraint.

    page howe

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