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[council] "Closed Generic" gTLD Applications

  • To: "council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx List" <council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [council] "Closed Generic" gTLD Applications
  • From: Glen de Saint Géry <Glen@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2013 14:02:32 -0800
  • Accept-language: fr-FR, en-US
  • Acceptlanguage: fr-FR, en-US
  • List-id: council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Sender: owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Thread-index: Ac4EtaX6UXjPzxkQSUWBLXCKCmWUAg==
  • Thread-topic: "Closed Generic" gTLD Applications

"Closed Generic" gTLD Applications
Comment/Reply Periods (*)

Important Information Links

Comment Open:

5 February 2013

Comment Close:

7 March 2013

Close Time (UTC):


Public Comment 

Reply Open:

To Submit Your Comments 

Reply Close:

View Comments 

Close Time (UTC):

Report of Public Comments

Brief Overview

Originating Organization:



Top-Level Domains

Purpose (Brief):

To receive stakeholder views and suggestions on the topic of "closed generic" 
gTLD applications.

Current Status:

Existing provisions of the New gTLD Program do not provide specific guidance on 
this issue. Potential new provisions may be considered based on the comment 
provided and analysis undertaken.

Next Steps:

ICANN staff will review comments submitted and will provide a summary and 
analysis of these comments to the New gTLD Program Committee of the Board of 
Directors. The Committee will review this feedback as well as the additional 
research and analysis directed to inform its consideration on this issue.

Staff Contact:

Karen Lentz



Detailed Information

Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose

ICANN is seeking public comment on the subject of "closed generic" gTLD 
applications and whether specific requirements should be adopted corresponding 
to this type of application. Stakeholder views are invited to help define and 
consider this issue. In particular, comments would be helpful in regard to 
proposed objective criteria for:

 *   classifying certain applications as "closed generic" TLDs, i.e., how to 
determine whether a string is generic, and
 *   determining the circumstances under which a particular TLD operator should 
be permitted to adopt "open" or "closed" registration policies.

The New gTLD Program Committee of the ICANN Board of Directors has discussed 
this issue and has also directed completion of a set of focused research and 
analysis items to inform any possible action to be taken. At its 2 February 
2013 meeting, the Committee passed the following resolution:

Whereas, the New gTLD Program Committee has received correspondence from the 
community addressing "closed generic" TLDs and understands that members of the 
community term a "closed generic" TLD as a TLD string that is a generic term 
and is proposed to be operated by a participant exclusively for its own benefit.

Whereas, ICANN implemented the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) 
policy recommendations on the "Introduction of New Generic Top-Level Domains", 
and within those policy recommendations there is no specific policy regarding 
"closed generic" top-level domains (TLDs).

Whereas, members of the community have expressed concerns regarding 
applications for "closed generic" TLDs.

Whereas, the New gTLD Program Committee considers that it is important to 
understand all views and potential ramifications relating to 'closed generic' 

Resolved (2013.02.02.NG01), the New gTLD Program Committee directs the 
President and CEO to open a 30-day public comment forum on this topic, which 
should include a call for identification of proposed objective criteria to 
classify applied-for TLDs as "closed generic" TLDs.

Resolved (2013.02.02.NG02), the New gTLD Program Committee directs the 
President and CEO to, concurrently with the opening of the public comment 
forum, request the GNSO to provide guidance on the issue of "closed generic" 
TLDs if the GNSO wishes to provide such guidance. Guidance on this issue is 
requested to be provided by the close of the public comment forum.

Resolved (2013.02.02.NG03), the New gTLD Program Committee directs the 
President and CEO to:

 1.  Summarize and analyze all comments submitted in the public comment forum.
 2.  Review materials supporting the policy development process resulting in 
the GNSO policy recommendations on the Introduction of New Generic Top-Level 
Domains and provide analysis of any discussions relating to the limitations on 
potential new gTLDs.
 3.  Analyze the feasibility of objectively classifying applied for TLDs as 
"closed generic" TLDs.
 4.  Provide an analysis as to whether the public interest and principles of 
international law are served by adopting a clear approach regarding 'closed 
generic' gTLDs.
 5.  Provide a report to the New gTLD Program Committee informed by the 
comments received and analysis conducted, including alternatives to addressing 
this issue.

Section II: Background

Following the publication of the gTLD applications in June 2012, concerns have 
been brought to ICANN's attention regarding some applications for strings which 
are labelled as "closed generic." These applications are considered problematic 
by some due to the proposed use of the TLD by the applicant, e.g., using the 
TLD in a manner that is seen as inappropriately exclusive, particularly in the 
sense of creating a competitive advantage. These applications have been the 
subject of public comments and Early Warnings.

Many of the communications link the issue of registration restrictions for a 
TLD with the Code of Conduct (Specification 9 to the gTLD Registry Agreement). 
However, it should be clarified that the Code of Conduct refers to 
registry-registrar interactions, rather than eligibility for registering names 
in the TLD. Rather than the Code of Conduct, the true issue of concern being 
expressed appears to be that in certain applications, the proposed registration 
policies are deemed inappropriate by some parties.

The New gTLD Program has been built based on policy advice developed in the 
GNSO's policy development process. The policy advice did not contain guidance 
on how ICANN should place restrictions on applicants' proposed registration 
policies, and no such restrictions were included in the Applicant Guidebook.

Defining a "generic" category of strings is a complex undertaking as strings 
may have many meanings and have implications for several languages. However, 
there are mechanisms built into the program (e.g., objection processes, GAC 
processes) as a means for concerns about specific applications to be considered 
and resolved as they arise.

Recent correspondence has expressed concerns about the potential impact on 
competition and consumer choice, as well as phrasing the issue in terms of 
potential impact on the public interest. The New gTLD Program Committee 
considers it important to understand all views and potential ramifications 
relating to "closed generic" TLDs.

Section III: Document and Resource Links

 *   List of gTLD applications received 
 *   Letter from Michele Neylon, et 
 [PDF, 56 KB]
 *   Letter from Kathryn 
 [PDF, 1.43 MB]
 *   Toronto Public Forum<http://toronto45.icann.org/node/34215>:
 *   GAC Early 
 *   Letter from Michele Neylon, et 
 [PDF, 362 KB]
 *   Letter from Microsoft 
 [PDF, 267 KB]

Section IV: Additional Information


(*) Comments submitted after the posted Close Date/Time are not guaranteed to 
be considered in any final summary, analysis, reporting, or decision-making 
that takes place once this period lapses.

Glen de Saint Géry
GNSO Secretariat

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