ICANN new gTLD program reviews and lessons learned

2 May 2016 14:30h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the WSIS Forum 2016.]

The workshop was organised by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to explore the lessons learned during the introduction of new generic Top Level Domains (new gTLDs) in the root of the Internet in 2012. It included the formal reviews ICANN initiated ahead of a potential new application round.

Mr Akram Attallah (President of Global Domain Division at ICANN) shared the new gTLD reviews roadmap. The project supports and coordinates multi-disciplinary reviews of the new gTLD programme and is expected to be complete by the end of 2017.  

The evaluation of the Competition, Consumer Choice, and Consumer Trust (CCT) data gathering https://cct.wiki review was based on ICANN’s affirmation of commitments, specifically on three dimensions: the extent to which new gTLDs have promoted competition, trust, and choice; the effectiveness of application and evaluation processes; and  the safeguards put in place to mitigate issues

The role of the TMCH (Trademark Clearinghouse) Independent Review is to safeguard the domain names of Intellectual Property (IP) holders.

The Root Stability Study examines the impact of the new gTLD programme on the DNS root system. It identifies any prerequisites to adding more gTLDs to the root zone and was commissioned to keep with previous commitments. The ICANN Board is committed to deferring future rounds of new gTLDs unless evaluation indicates that the current round did not jeopardise the security or the stability of the root zone system.

The Generic Name Supporting Organisation (GNSO) Policy Development Process (PDP) on Subsequent Procedures & Rights Protection Mechanisms working group was tasked with considering and analysing issues discussed in the Final Issue Report on New gTLD Subsequent Procedures. They were asked to determine whether changes or adjustments to the existing policy recommendations in the Final Report on the Introduction of New gTLDs are needed.

A two-phased PDP was also initiated to review all Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs) in all new gTLDs followed by a review of the Uniform Disputes Review Process (UDRP). This is meant to review and determine whether modifications to the existing RPMs are needed.

Avri Doria (Co-chair, The New gTLD Subsequent Rounds Working Group)  noted that participants’ interests in the working groups need to be known before people are co-opted as participants. All participants need to submit a statement of interest on a public page on the ICANN website. All emails are available online for anybody to access.

Doria also noted that new gTLD applicant support by ICANN was an afterthought in the last rounds of the new gTLD programme, but now it will be built into the process in the next rounds.

Attallah noted that provision of new gTLDs allows a more diverse provision of names in both Latin and non-Latin scripts (International Domain Names) and thus enhances consumer choice.  It helps cultural and linguistic diversity and encourages the provision of local content.

Attallah concluded by noting that many myths were demystified by the new gTLD first round. Two of these myths were that it is not possible to add as many domains on the root, and that IP holders would spend millions in protecting their brands. He noted that there are mechanisms in place to improve the programme going forward.

by Mwendwa Kivuva