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.