Home > Business, Domains, Internet > Being Master of your Domain, no longer enough

Being Master of your Domain, no longer enough

As the ICANN meeting ended, I’ve gotten several people asking how they can form their own domain extension! Discussions on the policies to submit new gTLD requests were a hot topic at the ICANN meeting. The most felt interest was from organizations looking to create gTLDs for cities, a la .paris, .nyc, et al. The major concern from the people at the room was the freedom of expression and the liberties ICANN granted on the creation of those new extensions. Those ahead of the curve are all lined up to register the rights for all the “.whatever” you can think of.

Now here was my main concern:

How can you talk about freedom of expression and liberties in a system that by default will grant exclusive rights to a single entity to manage and establish registration rights for the new gTLD?

Take .church for example. In this gTLD that has so much individual and collective meaning, the assignment of the gTLD to a single entity would suppose that only that entity would decide who gets to register a domainname.church and under what conditions. The same would go for any other gTLD, .love, .i, or .black.

French government representative Bernard brought the example of allowing the registration of an offensive gTLD like .nigger or .negro, to which ICANN responded they wouldn’t allow, because of their offensive nature. However, because Negro is an offensive word in America, that means that I cannot request that gTLD despite it’s inoffensive Spanish meaning “Black”? Is the American social context of a word the bar for whether a gTLD can be registered?

Another reason for ICANNs delay in the creation of new gTLD policies is that they want to ensure the economic “stability and viability” of the applicant. Are there any finance or economics professionals in that board? .travel is nearly bankrupt at this point, and I can guarantee that many more will. The nature of business and achieving efficiencies in the market require that some businesses fail.

A whole book can be written about all the cultural, ideological, and financial ironies from the current approach of ICANN for the assignment of new gTLDs.

To make this short, let me present the most important shift in thinking that I propose for ICANN: Forget about assigning a new gTLD to a “good representative” of that gTLD. You are oversimplifying the meaning of words, and as a result – complicating the process of assigning the new gTLD. Do you seriously think that there is a single ideal entity to represent the gTLD .god?

The simplest, most economically stable, unbiased and socially respectful way of launching new gTLDs is by assigning them to the world wide web.

Lets make this simple: Registrar and Registrant.

A registrar’s concern is technical. Registrar’s provide the infrastructure to register a domain name. They make money for that service. This is what they should continue to do.

A registrant’s concern is buying a domain name. Registrant’s are the ones that find a purpose for the domain and develop it accordingly. They are the ones interested in the meaning.

In this simple scenario, ALL registrars would offer the new gTLDs – .god, .you, .love, .xxx, et al. The registrant would then determine the name they want to buy and for what reasons.

Will there be conflicts? The answer can be answered with two questions – Are there conflicts now? Were there conflicts before domains existed?

ICANN is not responsible for creating a utopian Internet. People will register many of these names and conflicts will rise as a result. Governments, international and national laws are responsible for resolving these conflicts – and they are. BMW just launched a case against the registration of BMW.cat by a different entity. Why? That’s not ICANN’s question to answer. That’s WIPO’s area of jurisdiction. There are other organizations more qualified and with the proper authority to resolve the conflicts that will inevitably rise from the interaction of billions of different interests expressing themselves in cyberspace.

Solution:

Keep the process lite.

Assign the new gTLDs to the entire web, sold indiscriminately to all.

Let the proper organizations deal with the socioeconomic conflicts that will inevitably rise.

Categories: Business, Domains, Internet
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