At the moment ICANN is evaluating all applications which were filed for the management of a new gTLD. Although not a single application has already been approved, there are already several problems. Critical questions arise about the filed applications.
The first question that arises has to do with the similarity between different extensions. In the conditions to apply for a new gTLD ICANN explicitly pointed out that such new extension couldn’t cause any confusion with an already existing extension and there also couldn’t be any confusion between new extensions mutually. For instance, it was impossible to file an application for .job since .jobs already existed and it was also very clear from the beginning that if there were filed applications for for example both .car and .cars, only one of both applications would be approved by ICANN.
The discussion which is being held right now is when you can decide extensions look like each other? Is this only when they’re almost exactly the same in writing like .job and .jobs, .car and .cars, .fun and .funds and .inc, .ing and .ink? Or should we also look at the actual meaning of an extension? For instance you could say that .auto and .car, an application was filed for both extensions, could cause confusion just like the applications for .shop and .store. So this is the first matter ICANN needs to clear out.
The second question that arises, takes a look at the type of such new extensions, are they open or closed extensions? An open extension is an extension under which third parties will be able to register a domain name. An example of this is .vlaanderen. Maybe you’ll need to meet certain conditions to register a name under this extension but this extension is meant to be available for registrations of domain names of third parties. A closed extension is an extension of which the owner of the new gTLD, being the one who filed an application with ICANN, is the only one who can use domain names under this extension. Examples of such closed extensions are .nike, and .canon.
The main problem now is that there don’t exist specific rules to determine which extensions may be run as a closed extension. And that’s problematic for the generic words for which applications were filed, like for instance .blog, .music and .cloud. Does everyone need to have the possibility to register a name under those extensions or is the owner of the extension the only one who can register domain names under this extension? And if those are closed extensions, doesn’t that imply unfair competition? Amazon is one of the parties who filed an application for .cloud. Amazon is also a well known supplier for cloud services globally. Would it be fair if they were the only one able to register domain names under this new extension?
That’s why ICANN now asks for the help of the public to set up clear rules about when an extension is open or closed. If you wish to give your opinion about this matter to ICANN, you can do so via the following link: http://www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/closed-generic-05feb13-en.htm
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This post was written by lieve on February 6, 2013