Manic Monday

FairWinds Partners ⬥ 19 December

This past Monday wrapped up the first comment period on one of the major domain policy decisions of 2008- the potential launch of an unlimited number of TLDs and its process as outlined by the Draft Applicant Guidebook. FairWinds posted its comments on the Guidebook, and hopes that ICANN will live up to its promise of bottom-up policy development and thoughtfully consider the concerns raised by its constituents.

It has been encouraging to see Internet stakeholders mobilize around this issue—many publicized their comments in the days leading up to the close of the comment period in order to educate and encourage involvement from others. Cyveillance, for example, posted their comments on the Cyveillance blog, emailed its customers and urged for participation.

One of the most entertaining documents that came across our desks was from Kenneth Hittel, Vice President of the Corporate Internet Department at New York Life Insurance Company. Ken sent us a document that he put together for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA)—it is a punchy piece that goes through New York Life’s opinions on the new TLD launch, with entertaining and on-the-money insights:

  • To believe that we have run out of .com names is equivalent to believing, as one person said to me, that we’ve run out of numbers ending in 5.
  • Do we really believe that American businesses have suddenly become so bereft of creativity that they simply can’t devise any new names in the .com TLD?
  • Just another consideration, and as a non-lawyer I may well be talking through my hat here, but: what if you and your close competitors choose not to play this patently self-defeating game?
  • ICANN could potentially make a lot of new money if businesses find themselves, against their instincts and best interests, forced to participate in TLD applications and auctions. (And presumably so would the parasitic registries that could in-source maintenance of the new TLDs and the VCs and others willing to finance them.)

Overall, many seem to agree that as Joel Hruska at Ars Technica put it “the fact that ICANN is selling off virtually any character string, meanwhile, doesn’t just crack the door to fraud, it opens the flood gates, hangs out a ‘Welcome’ sign, and offers free beer.” Without enacting proper rights protections and slowing the pace of this launch, we’d have to agree. 

Tags: ANA, Ars Technica, Cyveillance, domain name, Draft Applicant Guidebook, FairWinds, ICANN, Internet stakeholders, Joel Hruska, Kenneth Hittel, New York Life Insurance Company, policy development, TLDs, VCs

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