ICANN58: ICANN GDD New gTLD Program Reviews

Author
Marília Maciel

The session was organised by ICANN’s Global Domains Division (GDD) and aimed to provide updates on the progress of several gTLD-related reviews, their key milestones and next steps. 

The Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Review (CCT) was the first process to be discussed. This review aims to assess whether and to which extent the New gTLD Program has enhanced competition in the DNS market, affected consumer trust and increased consumer choice. In the course of their work, CCT members had the goal to be methodologically data-driven and support their conclusions on factual data. They also tried to identify the metrics that could be used to evaluate the implementation of their recommendations.

Some highlights from the conclusions of the report were presented:

  • Competition increased to a certain extent;
  • There was an increase in the number of disputes over domain names, which can be noticed by an increase in Universal Domain Dispute Resolution (UDRP) and Universal Rapid Suspension (URS) procedures;
  • Safeguards were successful to mitigate degradation of consumer trust, particularly trademark safeguards;
  • ICANN needs to be a better data collector, so future reviews can be more data-driven;
  • There was low participation from the global south in the first round. If the community decides that it is a priority to correct this issue, urgent measures need to be put in place.

CCT’s Initial Report is open for public comment from anyone interested until 27 April. A webinar is going to be organised, probably on 29 March, to present the main findings of the report.

The New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Working Group was the second new gTLD related process to be discussed. In December 2015, the Generic Names Supporting Organisation (GNSO) approved the creation of the working group on new gTLD subsequent procedures, with the aim of reviewing and improving, if necessary, the 2007 GNSO’s policy recommendations on the introduction of new gTLDs.

The WG clustered its substantive discussions in two areas: a discussion on overarching issues and a discussion based on working tracks.

The four WG’s working tracks encompass the most substantive work of the WG and are dedicated to the following topics:

  • Work track 1: Overall process, support for applicants and outreach
  • Work track 2: Legal and regulatory aspects and contractual obligations
  • Work track 3: String contention, objections and disputes
  • Work track 4: Internationalised domain names – technical and operational aspects.

Questions regarding each of the tracks have been developed and will be put up for public comment. Respondents can choose to answer only a few questions from the questionnaire.

The initial report from the new gTLD subsequent procedures working group is expected to be published at the end of 2017. Related policy development processes will feed into the work of this working group.

The Cross-Community Working Group on Use of Country/Territory Names as TLDs was the third process to the analysed. This CCWG was chartered by the Country Code Names Supporting Organisation (ccNSO) and the GNSO to: a) review the current status of representations of country and territory names, as they exist under current ICANN policies, guidelines and procedures; b) provide advice regarding the feasibility of developing a consistent and uniform definitional framework that could be applicable across the respective supporting organisations (SOs) and advisory committees (ACs).

The discussion in the CCWG started with two letter-codes as top-level domains. There was an agreement among participants in reserving two letters at the top level of the DNS exclusively for the country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). The rationale behind this was that ICANN should not be placed in the position of having to decide what is a country: if a new country is created, for example, corresponding two-letter TLDs should be available. The use of country and territory names at a second or other level is excluded from the scope of the CCWG.

When it comes to the reservation of three-letter TLDs, there was no consensus among CCWG participants. As a result, the WG did not make further progress on discussing country and territory names. The WG produced an initial report of its findings and recommendations which is available for public comment until 21 April.

The Working Group dedicated to the Review of All Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs) in All gTLDs was created by the GNSO to conduct a review of RPMs in two phases: Phase One will focus on a review of all the RPMs that were developed for the New gTLD Program, and Phase Two will focus on a review of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

The review of the Post-Delegation Dispute-Resolution Policy (PDDRP), a mechanism through which trademark owners bring an action against DNS operators, has been concluded. The working group recommended, for example, that in some cases trademark holders should be able to come together and file a joint complaint against a registry. The review of the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMHC) is close to being completed. It was recommended that having more than one Clearinghouse operator would increase competition.

The working group is expected to wrap-up the review of the Clearinghouse in next few days and start the review of the Sunrise registration rights and Trademark claiming notice.

The Continuous data driven study on root stability (CDAR study) was the last new gTLD-related process to be analysed. The group focused on two main questions: Did the delegation degrade the security and stability of the root DNS system? Can any degradation occur in the future?

The draft CDAR report was published before ICANN 57 (Hyderabad). The study did not notice any degradation of the security and stability of the root as a result of the introduction of new gTLDs. 

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