In October I wrote about negotiations for a new registrar accreditation agreement (RAA).
The RAA is the contract between domain name registrars and ICANN.
It is periodically updated. When it’s updated, ICANN provides some sort of incentive to existing registrars to abandon their existing RAA before it expires and adopt a new one.
For example, ICANN has previously reduced per-domain fees in a newer version of the RAA.
One idea that was being tossed around in October for the latest RAA revision was requiring registrars to adopt it before being allowed to register new top level domains.
Instead of a carrot, it’s a stick.
The general consensus I heard back in October was that this was unlikely because it could seriously hamper the new TLD launch.
Yet the latest version of the new TLD registry agreement has this provision. If the changes are adopted, registries would not be allowed to sell domains through registrars not using the new RAA.
The problem is that RAA is still being negotiated. That creates a really tight timeline to finish RAA negotiations and get registrars to adopt it or risk damaging new TLD adoption.
I understand ICANN’s desire to get registrars to adopt the new agreement. But potentially damaging the launch of new TLDs is not the way to do it.