Sunday, 20 December 2009

.saarland

Yet another german state - Saarland - has announced interest in an own Top Level Domain

Pre applications on new TLD's - Expression of Interest

ICANN is now opening for public comments on the pre-application phase mentioned earlier on this blog. You can read more here.

Highlights of the draft EOI / pre-registration model:

* Participation in the EOI is mandatory for eligibility to submit a gTLD application in the first round. Subsequent application rounds will be open to any eligible applicants.
* A deposit of US$55,000 is required for the EOI, and will be used as a credit against the US$185,000 evaluation fee.
* The deposit is refundable if the New gTLD Program does not launch within a specific time period. Details will be outlined in the final EOI model.
* Participants are notified that there may be subsequent amendments to the Draft Applicant Guidebook. It is the intention to conclude many current open issues prior to initiation of the EOI process.
* A fully executed communications campaign, intended to ensure global awareness about the EOI, will precede the opening of the process.
* Participants will be required to provide specific information concerning the participating entity and the requested string.
* The participant and string information will be made public.
* The EOI launch is conditional on the conclusion of many of the outstanding issues, for example, issues concerning vertical separation and the IDN three-character string requirements. Solutions for these and other issues are expected to be included in the Draft Applicant Guidebook, version 4.

When?
* The ICANN Board will be considering the draft EOI model and the community feedback during its meeting in February, 2010. If the Board decides that this is the path forward, staff will publish the final model along with instructions for a specific launch date.

Can an entity that does not participate in the EOI still be eligible to apply when the New gTLD Program officially launches?
* Yes, but not in the first round. According to the proposed draft model, participation in the EOI is mandatory for eligibility in the first new gTLD application round. There will be future opportunities to apply, however, the dates are not yet available.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

.Zhongguo

Not many days after .egypt was announced it was also announced yesterday that China will apply for .zhongguo (.china) in Chinese characters (pinyin) under the IDN fast track program. Read more here

.bank

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada (OSFI) has sent a letter to ICANN regarding a possible .bank TLD. Read more aboute it here

Sunday, 15 November 2009

".Egypt" in Arabic

Egypt has announced that it will apply for the Top Level Domain ".egypt" written in Arabic. I've written a short post about the IDN fast track program earlier

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Pre applications on new TLD's

As mentioned in a previous post there's a group of people trying to speed up the new gTLD process. They suggest that applicants should express an interest in applying so that ICANN will get a better understanding of the so called overarching issues.

ICANN is now seeking input and advice in this matter. In my opinion it seems like a political multi stakeholder move from ICANN rather than a sincere wish to start a process and a procedure for such a "pre application round". A procedure and process that should be coordinated with the ongoing work on DAG4.

In my opinion it will also be quite difficult to create such a pre application round and thereby exclude applicants that will not apply before having seen final guidebook - and if new applicants that didn't sign up and deposit money in the pre application round are not excluded, it will be hard to see the relevance of any pre application.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Timeline

The battle continues. At a hearing at the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts and Competition on September 23, 2009 Steve DelBinaco argumented why IDN's should be implemented and why new generic TLD's should be postponed if implemented at all....

Steve DelBianco serve as Executive Director of NetChoice, a coalition of trade associations and e-
commerce leaders such as AOL, eBay, Expedia, IAC, VeriSign, and Yahoo.

You can read Steve DelBiancos statement here and Anthony Van Couverings - CEO of Minds and Machines - here

Monday, 2 November 2009

WIPO to launch fast-track version of the UDRP

This post may be a bit out of scope for this blog but I posted it because I previously mentioned the Uniformed Rapid Suspension System that IRT recommended. You can read more about the WIPO fast-track UDRP here.

Pre applications on new TLD's

As posted here a couple of days ago there is a group of people that are not at all satisfied that the application periode has been postponed again. At ICANN last week this group suggested that ICANN opened up for some sort of pre application phase where applicants would show their interest by making a deposit at ICANN an inform ICANN about the desired string.

Purpose is to indicate interest and thereby help ICANN in their root scalling, trademark and economic studies - and of course getting the process started.

You can read more here - where Peter Dengate replies to the proposition.

Friday, 30 October 2009

ICANN IDN presentation

IDN Fast Track

ICANN board has approved the Internationalized Domain Name Fast Track Process which means that countries and territories will be able to get domain names at the Top Level in their own language like .公司 (".com“ Gongsi) or .中国 (".china“ Zhongguo).
At the moment 32 applications are expected in 15 languages - including Chineses, Hindi, Cyrillic and Hebrew - but many more is sure to come.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Draft Applicant Guidebook, Version 4

It is now official that a fourth version of the Draft Application Guidebook will be released before a final version.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Timeline for first application round

My business partner Jannik Skou is attending the ICANN meeting in Seoul these days. He tells me that first application periode will most likely be postponed once more and that ICANN works with no official timeline at the moment.
ICANN has to solve all overarching issues in a more thorough and what they refer to as "swift" manner.
This new situation causes a lot frustration amongst those organizations and companies that have invested heavily in engaging in applying for an promoting new gTLDs, be it regions, cities, private enterprizes. On the other hand most brand owners are probably satisfied - this will give them some time to decide and it might indicate that some of the IRT recommondations will be taken into considerations once more.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

.emarat (.امارات)

As part of its strategy to support and enhance Arabic content on the Internet, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has announced its plan to launch .emarat (.امارات).

Along with the enhanced oportunities of showing a local presence new TLD's and especially IDN's will demand a strong domain name strategy that include effective monitoring and superior language skills.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

DotPost

ICANN and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) have reached an agreement in principle for the UPU sponsorship of the .POST Top-Level Domain.

The new Top Level Domain was proposed by UPU to ICANN in 2004 and aims to set apart the electronic services increasingly offered by postal agencies around the world. Read more here.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Draft Applicant Guidebook, Version 3

DAG3 has been released. I haven't had the chance of reading it yet but will of course post relevant changes here when I've read it. You will find the Guidebook here

Saturday, 26 September 2009

INTA

The International Trademark Associations concerns about the new gTLD program can be found here.

Letter from Rod Beckstrom to US House Committee on the Judiciary

Rod Beckstrom, President and CEO at ICANN reveals some of the IRT recommondations that will be includeded in the next DAG in this letter

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Pre sceening .se domain names

In relation to the Globally Protected Marks List recommended by IRT it's interesting to follow the discussion about introducing a pre-screening phase of all domain name registrations containing the text "bank" in Sweden - further information in Swedish can be found here

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Scaling the Root

The Root Scaling Study Team for the Root Scaling Steering Group has released their report for public comments.

At first glimpse it seems like adding new TLD's to the root zone will have limited effect. For the interested the full report can be read here.

Monday, 14 September 2009

New gTLD's

A list of some of the new gTLD's can be found here.

A lot more have been annouced - .bayern, .kids, .poker and .bkk (Bangkok) to name a few.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

New gTLDs: Let the Gaming Begin

Several prospective TLD applicants have filed trademark applications for TLD strings over the past year. Obviously this has been done in order to give the TLD applicant an advantage should a "string contension" arise. Trademark applications have been filed for .music, .kids, .books, .buy to name a few.

A paper addressing problems involved in registrating TLD strings as trademarks have been published by Michael Palage and you can read it here
New gTLDs: Let the Gaming Begin, Part I: TLD Front Running

Monday, 7 September 2009

.bayern

German cities and regions seem to be welcoming the new TLD's. A couple of days ago I saw that a non profit organisation in Bayern will apply for the new geo TLD .bayern. Amongst already announced german geo TLD's you will find .berlin, .hamburg and .nrw (Nordrhein-Westfalen).

It will be interesting to see how the search engines will include these geo TLD's in their algorithm - a ccTLD will at the moment dominate a gTLD so why wouldn't a local geoTLD like .bayern be dominating a ccTLD like .de in the future?

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Minds+Machines Sues Wolfgang Puck over .Food TLD

Even before the first application round has opened there's a lawsuit related to a possible new generic TLD.
The TLD was introduced by Minds+Machines and Wolfgang Puck at the ICANN conference in Sydney earlier this year.
Read more at Domain Name Wire

Friday, 4 September 2009

Seminar in London September 16-17

The Brand Protection Show will be held in London September 16-17. Karla Valente, Director of Communications and Product Services from ICANN will be giving a seminar about New gTLD's.

I will be there so please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to meet me there.

The seminar will be held while the annual MARQUES conference is being held in Berlin.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

ICANN Regional Registry/Registrar Event

ICANN hosted its regional Registry/Registrar Event in Toronto on 20-21 August.

The presentation on new gTLD's sums up some of the open questions raised by the public comments, IRT and others. Most important for brandowners is of course the trademark protection - IP Clearinghouse, Globally Protected Marks list, Uniformed Rapid Suspension System etc.

The 3 character requirement which of course prevent some western brandowners from applying but is especially hard out Chinese, Japanese and Korean brands and generic TLD applicants was also discussed.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Backend software providers

There's a number of backend software providers. All of them have got experience in running registries but they differ in prices, services, company structure, interfaces, coding etc. Some backend providers are currently running registries while others have seen a potential spin off and created seperate companies focusing on delivering backend solutions and added services.

Choosing a backend service provider depends on how applicants expect to use their .brand TLD, needed services, wishes for interface, security issues etc. I've listed some of the providers below - in alphabetic order.

Afilias is an Irish Limited company with international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. Ownership consist of a number of registars. Afilias is most known for launching and running the .info registry but they are also software registry providers for a number of other gTLD's as well as some ccTLD's

AusRegistry is a wholly owned subsidiary of AusRegistry Pty Ltd, the current Registry Operator of the .au ccTLD. AusRegistry also provide Registry Software Services for the .ae Domain Name.

Central Registry Solutions
is a partnership between Network Solutions, LLC and CentralNic Ltd. CentralNic is providing registry services for us.com, uk.com, .la amongst others.

CORE is a not-for-profit membership association of Internet domain name registrars and registries. CORE has supported the launch of .aero, .museum and .cat as backend operator.

Minds + Machines is focusing solely on new gTLD's. Their backend software "espresso" is based on the open source backend provider CoCCA's registry platform. CoCCA serves as registry software provider for approximately 20 ccTLD's - .af, .cx, .cm, .pe to mention a few. Major shareholder in Mind+Machines is the publicly-traded company Top Level Domain Holding, Ltd. - listed on London Stock Exchange

Neustar is providing registry solutions for .biz, .cn, .us amongst others. Neustar is operating .biz and .us and they launched .biz back in 2001 under the name Neulevel which was originally a joint venture between Neustar and Melbourne IT.

RegistryAsp is a division within Qinetics Solution Berhad. RegistryAsp is delivering registry solutions for .sg, .hk and .cd.

Verisign is of course operating .com and .net and they are providing registry backend solutions for a number of other TLD's.

History, focus, track record, services and prices differs amongst these providers. Change of backend provider is possible while running an own BRAND TLD but it's of course a costly affair so choose your backend software provider carefully.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

IRT

One of the overarching issues identified was Trademark protection. ICANNs Intellectual Property Constituency formed an Implementation Recommendation Team to provide possible solutions to trademark issues.
Members of the IRT included trademark owners, IP lawyers, registrars and backend software providers - a list of members can be found here. Their report suggested several trademark protection mechanisms which has been commented and discussed heavily since.

Most important trademarks protection issues included was:

  • An IP clearinghouse
  • A globally protected marks list
  • A uniformed rapid suspension system
  • Post-delegation dispute resolution mechanisms at the top level
  • Whois requirements
  • Use of algorithm confusion review in the initial evaluation
On top of these issues other considerations was identified. For instance a suggestion to permit applying for more than one string in one single application (one application fee for equivalent IDN strings).

It's important to state that these are recommondations made by the IRT. Next draft handbook will show if and which suggestions has made been included in the handbook.

A summary of the public comments can be found here

Evaluation process

The evaluation process is a complicated process and the process depends on the type of application. Common for both community based and open based applications is:

  • Initial review on completeness
  • Publication of all applications
  • Technical evaluation
  • Financial evaluation
  • String similarity evaluation
  • Public objection possible
  • Ultimately an auction might be decisive

ICANN has reopended the Expressions of Interest period for independent evaluators. The new period closes on 15 September, 2009. Evaluation areas:

  • Applicant Evaluation Teams (Technical and Financial Evaluation)
  • Geographic Name Evaluation
  • String Similarity Examiners
  • Community Priority Evaluation Panel -- formerly the Comparative Evaluation Panel

Introduction

"Perhaps 5,000 new gTLDs could be added by 2015". Kurt Pritz, Senior Vice President of Services, ICANN.

ICANN has decided to liberalise the domain space. Several hundreds new Top Level Domains are expected over the next few years.

First application period is expected to start February 2010 and end in March 2010.

4 overarching issues has been identified by ICANN
  • Trademark protection
  • Demand and Economic Analysis
  • Impact on Security and Stability of Root Zone Scaling
  • Malicious Conduct
ICANN application fee will be USD 185.000 in the first application round.