The independent objector has killed Donuts’ application for .medical.
Prof. Alain Pellet, the independent objector for the new top level domain name program, has won (pdf) a community objection against Donuts’ application for .medical.
The case got off to a bizarre start, with Donuts calling into question Pellet’s impartiality and independence. Donuts pointed out that Pellet has a bias to the medical community and that Donuts’ TLDs make up a large part of his objections. Pellet also objected to Donuts’ applications for .healthcare, .hospital, and .health.
Donuts also drew a connection between Pellet and a healthcare professional from a LinkedIn connection. The panelist determined that the two weren’t actually connected on LinkedIn.
These accusations, which panelist Alan Limbury didn’t buy, seemed to get Donuts off on the wrong foot in this case.
Donuts lost the case because Limbury essentially determined that the .medical domain name would lead to abuse:
“It is likely that second level registrants in the applied-for gTLD will include innumerable persons offering medical advice without being qualified to do so and offering real or fake prescription medication without a valid prescription, thereby putting the health and safety of the general public at risk.”
Limbury ruled that, because Donuts’ remedies for abusive behavior are all after-the-fact, the damage from this behavior can’t be avoided.
Donuts pointed out that there are already 100,000 second level domain names that include the word “medical,” and there are no restrictions on who can register existing second level domains including the term.
Limbury was unmoved by this argument.
By allowing access to second level registrants lacking the qualifications required of medical practitioners and other members of the medical community (i.e. legitimate suppliers of medicines and medical services), the Applicant’s operation of the applied-for gTLD string is likely to interfere with the core activities of the medical community by allowing the unqualified to misrepresent themselves as qualified; by creating doubt as to whether qualified members of the medical community are in fact legitimate providers of medicines and medical services; and by creating confusion as to whether medicines obtained online are unapproved, substandard and counterfeit.
That pretty much describes a state of the internet today; one in which registries are not asked to police what are primarily local laws and norms.
I imagine this is a tough one for Donuts to swallow. It will be interesting to see if different panelists hear the other health related objections Pellet brought against Donuts and if they come to the same determination.