VistaPrint will have to duke it out with Web.com if it wants the .webs brand TLd.
The International Centre for Dispute Resolution has handed in its final determination for the controversial String Confusion Objection process.
In this case, Web.com won against Vistaprint’s two applications for .webs. As a result, .webs will now be in a contention set with Web.com’s application for .web.
If Vistaprint wins the contention set, then .web–often pointed out as the best potential new TLDs–will not see the light of day.
Vistaprint applied for the domain name as a .brand, as it offers a service at Webs.com. It applied as both a community and a regular applications, presumably to increase its chances of winning the domain.
This was a case of singular vs. plural. It was somewhat unusual in that plural usage of “web” is uncommon, and is really only used in Vistaprint’s brand. (The panelist pointed out there are other uses of the term, including for spider webs.)
The decision was decided very late because two previous panelists were dismissed. Based to ICDR’s rules, it appears at least one was dismissed due to an impartiality challenge by one of the parties. I wonder, though, if some other panelists punted given the previous inconsistencies of singular vs. plural domain cases.
Regardless of the reason for the late decision, it gave panelist Ilhyung Lee the benefit of reviewing all of the previous string confusion objections involving singulars and plurals. This was both a blessing and curse because of the inconsistencies.
Lee included an evaluation of all of the string confusion decisions that are contrary to his decision in .web/.webs, and explains why he disagrees with the panelists or finds .webs different.
When it comes down to .web and .webs, I guess “There can be only one“.
[Note: the original version of this article indicated that if Vistaprint wins its contention set, .web won’t be delegated. It’s counter-intuitive given the objection, but this is not the case. If a non-Web.com applicant for .web wins the auction, then both .web and .webs could co-exist.]
Even though different, .website is going to be allowed also. That’s still confusing. . Yikes.
Paul Stahura says
Andrew you are not right on this:
“If Vistaprint wins the contention set, then .web–often pointed out as the best potential new TLDs–will not see the light of day”
We (you and I) already went through this in the car/cars case, see:
Here is a clear explanation of indirect contention sets from icann:
There are now two contention sets that are in indirect contention with each other.
1) Web.com’s .web and the two .webs applications
2) Web.com’s .web and the other .web applications
According to the current guidebook, there will be one simultaneous ascending clock auction for both contention sets.
If .webs wins against web.com’s .web application, then the two indirect sets are de-linked, and one of the other .web applications will win the .web set, and therefore .web AND .webs will both exist.
Andrew Allemann says
“According to the current guidebook, there will be one simultaneous ascending clock auction for both contention sets.”
I’ve read the guidebook and recall our conversations. I’ve also talked to ICANN, and frankly, I’m not sure they see this the same way you do.
Andrew Allemann says
I re-read the relevant section of the applicant guidebook and the 12-12-13 auction rules.
You are correct about the string confusion cases not pulling in the others. I had forgotten about that. It’s counter-intuitive, because now we’re still likely to have a .web and .webs in spite of the ruling if Vistaprint wins the auction. So even though it lost, it can still win (for a bit more money).
Where there’s still an issue to resolve is how a last resort auction will resolve cases of direct and indirect contention. There are a number of scenarios, and the latest auction rules says it’s still TBD. I honestly don’t think they know yet how they plan to handle such auctions, and they hope they are resolved by the parties before an auction.
Thanks for challenging me on this 🙂
Would be a shame if .web never gets created. It’s the only new gtld I’m looking forward to seeing.
.webs sound bad…