Objection panel rules that the the sport community would face material detriment for a .sports domain name.
Well, at least this decision is consistent. Except it isn’t.
An International Chamber of Commerce panelist has upheld SportAccord’s community objection against Donuts’ application to run the .sports top level domain name.
While this decision (pdf) is consistent with another panelist’s decision in .sport, the rationale again conflicts with the decision in .basketball.
SportAccord has applied for the .sport top level domain name and has the backing of many official sports groups. In fact, its arguments in the objection mostly refer to the International Olympic committee.
I’ve argued before that it’s impossible to take a term that basically applies to every living and breathing person and say it’s a “community.”
The panelist in this case, Jonathan Taylor, said the community is not everyone, but only those that participate in or are fans of “organised sport”:
The Expert agrees that ‘the community of individuals and organizations who association themselves with Sport’, on its face, is a very broad group with no clearly delineated boundaries. If the Objector had stopped there, then the Expert considers that the Applicant would be right that the Objector had failed to satisfy this requirement. However, the Objector does go on to make clear…that it is referring to the individuals and organisations who association themselves with organized sport, i.e., sport that is sanctioned and conducted in accordance with a common set of rules that are applied and enforced throughout the sport through a pyramid system of governance and control that has the IOC and the international federations at its apex, member regional federations below them, member national federations below them, and regional, league, club and individual members below them.
Taylor calls this group the “Organised Sports Movement,” and he declares that it is “self-evident” that people who prefer to participate in or follow sports in the Organised Sports Movement outnumber those who prefer “unofficial, informal and unsanctioned forms of sport.”
The Expert accepts that Objector’s assertion…that when the vast majority (many millions of organizations and individuals around the world) think of sports, they must obviously think predominantly (if not exclusively) of official, sanctioned forms of sport that are governed and regulation by means of the pyramid model described above.
As with the previous .sport case, SportAccord argued that Donuts getting .sports would lead to a whole host of issues that already exist in existing top level domains.
It argued that it already deals with cybersquatting in existing gTLDs (basically pointing to cybersquatting on ‘olympic’ terms), that .sports would lead to ambush marketing and brand jacking, cybersquatting and typosquatting, and that people would assume a ‘false sense of official sanction’ arising from the .sports domain to give credibility to sites selling tickets.
It would also thwart official communication regarding anti-doping, anti-drug, anti-racism, ticket scalping and gambling. .Sports sites could also contain racist content or innuendo with a ‘false auro of official sanction.’
This is exactly what was argued in the .basketball case. In that case, the panelist found that the objector did not show a likelihood of material detriment. Yet in this case, the panelist determined that it did.
So while this decision is consistent with the .sport decision, it directly conflicts with the .basketball decision.
Donuts was the only applicant for .sports, which means there will not be a .sports domain in this first round. This is a loss for the program as, frankly, the .sport (singular) domain sucks. I don’t know many people who say “I like sport” or “I participate in sport.”