ICANN’s guidelines for community sponsors and location names should be removed from new TLD process.
I’ve read the second version of the new TLD applicant guidebook from ICANN from cover to cover, and there’s one (OK, more than that) thing I still don’t understand: why are their special guidelines for “community” based TLDs and locations such as cities and states?
If you represent a limited “community” you get special treatment. If you want to launch a TLD such as .paris or .texas, you need appropriate permission from an ill-defined government representative.
This is in the agreement because of special interests, and it should be scrapped. Here’s why:
1. A “communityâ€, as defined by the process, or a local government may not be the best organization to launch a particular TLD. For example, a city may wish to launch .city, but a private group may do a better job of launching .city. Bias should not be given to official government compared to the private sector. In the case of a private party working with the government, this scenario is open to bribery, lobbying, etc. TLDs should be allocated based on general string contention guidelines (or a last resort auction), not political influence.
2. Loose definitions of who within that community or location can provide authority on behalf of the community will lead to confusion.
3. In the event of two communities using the same name, it seems that bias may be given to the larger of the communities.
The guidebook states that a city name will be considered a location “where the applicant declares that it intends to use the gTLD for purposes associated with the city name.” There’s a big loophole here. I can say I want to launch .Austin, but the name is based on people named Austin and not the city.
Community based TLDs will be required to enforce restrictions, such as only registering domains to entities within the community. This is another mistake. We all remember what happened with the restricted .pro domain: the registry found a loophole to sell the domain to more people.
I say scrap the whole idea of “community” and “location” domains. Make every new TLD an “open” TLD.