Comparison of Constituency Statements on New or Changed Services in gTLD Registries

Last Updated: 09 September 2009

Introduction

The staff manager has taken the responses in the constituency statements and grouped the main points into broad categories of related concerns.

1. Fast Track or Quick Look Process

a. Criteria for Quick Look Process

Description: each response to the PDP suggested that there must be clear guidelines for the application of a quick look or Fast Track process. This is intended to accelerate the review process for non-controversial or trivial service changes.

Response summary:

  • At Large: “Whether or not market feedback can provide an accurate barometer of the desirability of the proposed change should be a crucial test within the initial quick look analysis of any proposed change that ICANN assesses.”
  • CBUC: “30 working days for simple or straight forward change, 90 working days for complex change”. All proposed changes should go through a quick look process. “It is not sufficient for registries to self-determine whether a new service is compliant with existing contracts, nor whether a new service will impact the stable and secure operation of the Internet.” And, “In those cases where the registry believes that its new service will have no or minimal impact on the Internet, a streamlined process can be followed.” The constituency provides a detailed approval procedure including specific timelines and notification requirements.
  • IPC: Tier one review completed in 10 days. All proposed changes should go through a quick look process. “ICANN staff should immediately conduct an initial review to determine whether the registry request should be implemented or referred on to the "quick look" procedure for further review.” And, “ICANN staff should consider whether the proposed change 1) is consistent with the current registry contract; 2) requires a contract modification; or 3) requires ICANN approval.”
  • ISPCP: “The ISPCP believes that the “Quick Look” provision of the Staff Manager’s report currently raises a number of concerns. In particular, the ISPCP would like to make the following suggestions: The “Quick Look” process needs to be explicitly spelled-out so that all parties have a common understanding of exactly what ‘Quick Look’ means.” And, “Some metric needs to be established that effectively and deterministically decides if a service proposal is eligible for the “Quick Look” procedure. This metric should be based on full community consultation.
  • NCUC: The constituency asks whether there should be distinctions made between sponsored and non-sponsored registries (with a negative appraisal), and between dominant and non-dominant registries (with a positive appraisal).
  • Registrars: All proposed changes should go through a quick look process that should take no longer than 14 days. “In general changes that do not relate to the registry-registrar agreement or Registry Services could be subject to the fast track process.” And, “It would assist the industry to have a simple set of guidelines for when it is necessary for a registry operator (particularly unsponsored) to seek approval from ICANN.” The registrar constituency provides a draft list of criteria.

2. Detailed Review Process

a. Technical Review of New Proposals

Description: many responses to the PDP suggested that there be a review for potential technical harm in introducing the new or changed service. This technical review is intended to weigh the technical impact of a proposed change in service, and to recommend possible remedies to offset harm.

  • CBUC: 3rd party technical experts, under NDA, will be retained by ICANN to review technical characteristics of the proposal and provide a detailed report. The constituency also proposes a timeline for any such technical review.
  • NCUC: “We support clear, well-defined specifications for registry operation that make DNS a neutral platform for Internet functions.”

b. Competition Review of New Proposals

Description: each response to the PDP suggested that there be a review for potential competition harm in introducing the new or changed service. This competition review is intended to weigh the competition impact of a proposed change in service, and to recommend possible remedies to offset harm.

  • Registrars: “Where ICANN staff believe that a registrar business model could be affected by a change in the registry systems, ICANN should seek impartial advice from a competition expert with a strong understanding of the domain name industry structure.”
  • NCUC: Constituency is “not convinced of ICANN's ability to engage in competition policy-related forms of regulation.”

c. Criteria for Detailed Review

Description: each response called for a deterministic process for deciding whether or not the Quick look process applies to a given proposal. As a result, these criteria also give a clear indication whether or not the detailed process should apply.

  • At-Large: “Any privately beneficial activity should be allowed unless it is shown to be publicly detrimental; those who want to forbid an activity bear the burden of proving public harm.” And “preference should, wherever possible, be given to designs in which similar services can be provided by multiple parties; designs which permit market-based pricing of services should be preferred over designs that lead to monopoly pricing.”
  • CBUC: “Registries wishing to introduce any new services which impact the core of the DNS should be required to provide notice, full technical and administrative description/explanation, and remedy opportunities in order for a proper assessment of impact.” And “Distinction may be required between new registry services in restricted/sponsored TLDs and unrestricted/unsponsored gTLDs.” The constituency poses three questions: 1. Will implementation of the registry operator's requested change harm the legitimate interests of third parties? 2. Will implementation of the registry operator's requested change threaten stability or security of the Internet? 3. Will implementation of the registry operator's requested change violate an existing ICANN policy?
  • IPC: Tier two process completed in 24 days, and tier three process completed in 84 days. Total time in all three tiers: 118.
  • NCUC: The constituency identifies the need for a Quick look process, and asks that clear criteria for its application be defined.
  • Registrars: 30 day evaluation +14 day report preparation. “Where there is a possibility of an issue associated with operational stability, reliability, security and global inter-operability of the Internet, ICANN staff should use a more comprehensive approval process.” The constituency provides suggestions for definitions of these key terms. Also, “Where there is a possibility of an issue associated with the overall competition (as distinct from an individual competitor) in the domain name industry, ICANN staff should use a more comprehensive approval process.” The constituency also outlines specific recommendations regarding registrar-registry competition issues.

3. Roles of Various Participants

a. ICANN Staff Role

Description: several responses described a clearly defined role for ICANN staff in the process. This included both limitations of their actions and explicit responsibilities.

  • CBUC: ICANN staff and their retained experts have the authority to assess the implications of proposed changes in the Quick look process. required.
  • IPC ICANN staff is responsible for notification, posting, and initial determination of the quick look process.
  • NCUC: “Some issues will be too important to leave to ICANN staff.” And, “We do not want ICANN staff to handle substantive policy issues on their own."

b. Third Party Expert Participation

Description: some responses called for independent, third-party, expert analysis of new proposals for services.

  • CBUC: 3rd party experts play a role in both Quick look and detailed review processes.
  • IPC: ICANN staff is responsible for conducting the Quick look process.
  • Registrars: “A proposed change in the functional and performance specifications of a "Registry Service" should include impartial external advice from one or more technical experts.” The constituency also proposes that 3rd party, independent, expert advice be used in the quick look process.

c. Community Participation including GNSO

Description: some responses called for clear processes involving gNSO participation in the review process.

  • At-Large: “the process should provide opportunities for all relevant parties (including GNSO constituencies and Advisory Committees) to get involved, and should, in particular, incorporate opportunities for meaningful and early public comment.”
  • CBUC: “Should the registry seek an ICANN policy review then ICANN will seek to schedule such a review by the ICANN community at the earliest possible time. ... In the case of a sponsored gTLD registry, it may be more appropriate for the policy to be taken back to the sponsor's community for reconsideration.” Also, the registry is responsible for requesting detailed review process if Quick look process determines that new service cannot be immediately approved.
  • IPC: During detailed review a Task Force including representatives from all affected parties to consider the issues identified by ICANN staff during the quick look process. A detailed process and timeline is outlined for the work and recommendations of the task force.
  • ISPCP: “Any “Quick Look” process should give a full explanation of what role the gNSO plays in the “Quick Look” activity.”
  • NCUC: “We wish to emphasize that public consultation, and consultation of constituencies, must be a regular part of dealing with the most important issues.”
  • Registrars: The constituency proposes that the ICANN Manager of Public Participation facilitate collection of comments from the general community regarding the proposed service change. In addition, a formal process for collecting comments from major affected stakeholders and gNSO constituencies is proposed.

d. Public Notice and Reporting

Description: several responses called for explicit reporting and public notice requirements during the review and evaluation of new proposals.

  • At-Large “we generally believe in accountable, transparent and objective processes that ensure that policy is applied in a neutral manner.”
  • CBUC “Streamlined, clear, documented and transparent procedures (while ensuring the ability to maintain any needed documented and needed confidentiality) for prior assessment of any changes are required.
  • IPC: The constituency outlines specific reporting and notice procedures with detailed timelines. They make allowance for the preservation of proprietary information.
  • ISPCP: “The “Quick Look” process should have agreed and effective reporting mechanisms in the interest of transparency.”

4. Appeals Process

a. Appeals of Quick look Process

Description: some responses suggested that there be clear procedures in place for appeal of decisions made during the Quick look process.

  • CBUC: The registry proposing a new service provides detailed descriptions of how their analysis of the proposed service addresses the issues raised in the denial of the approval. ICANN identifies a 3rd party to hear the appeal. This applies to all the potential appeal processes.
  • ISPCP: “In the event that the “Quick Look” process fails to accurately assess the impacts of a new service on the Internet, there must be an effective form of recourse for ICANN and the community.”

b. Appeals of Final Outcome

Description: some responses suggested that there be clear procedures in place for appeal of the final outcome of the complete evaluation process.

  • CBUC: “An appeals process should be available if the interpretations are considered to be too onerous or if the registry operator can demonstrate that there is no significant negative impact on the Internet by the proposed service.”
  • IPC: The constituency provides for a structured appeals process at the conclusion of the detailed review, only.
  • ISPCP: “Any decision made by the community as a whole must have a process for appeals. If a registry feels that a “service” has received an unfair hearing in the community and will have no impact on the stability and reliability of the Internet, there must be a mechanism to appeal those circumstances.”
  • Registrars: “Access to the appeals procedure should be available to all members of the ICANN community rather than just registry operators. There is an existing procedure for reconsideration under section 2 of Article IV of the ICANN bylaws which is open to any person or entity that is materially affected by an action by ICANN.”

5. Assessment of Process Cost

a. Assessment of Process and Evaluation Costs

Description: some responses suggested that an examination needed to be made of the costs associated with both the Quick look and Detailed Review processes.

  • CBUC: “The cost of introducing new services into the registry should be borne by the registry that will benefit from the addition of the new services. There should be a set fee for convening a panel, and that fee should be assessed against the registry.” The registry should bear the cost of any appeals process.
  • IPC: “In the event the registry operator was successful, each party would bear their own costs. In the event the panel decided in ICANN's favor, the registry operator would be responsible for ICANN's reasonable costs for preparing its appeal position paper.”