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[ga] How should the taxonomy question be resolved?

  • To: ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: [ga] How should the taxonomy question be resolved?
  • From: Danny Younger <dannyyounger@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 11 Dec 2005 15:21:16 -0800 (PST)
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  • Sender: owner-ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

>From "Next Steps for TLDs" by David R. Johnson and
Susan P. Crawford 

How should the taxonomy question be resolved? 

Quickly, through deciding to let the market decide
which potential registrants will find value in
particular strings. 

If the GNSO were to recommend adoption of a taxonomy,
it would have to recommend a particular taxonomy --
and ICANN would then have to ban all other strings or
develop rules regarding which strings are "confusingly
similar." If it chose a list of permissible TLD
strings, ICANN would then have to choose among
competing applicants, based on criteria that would
take it into subjective assessments of how
"representative" a particular TLD registry operator
might be of some group ICANN had determined should be
the beneficiary of its artificial semantics. No one is
smart enough to foresee all the different ways in
which a TLD might be used or valuably named, and it is
not clear that the GNSO has any particular
institutional competence to make recommendations in
favor of reserving particular TLD strings. 

Close analysis suggests that a large number of
intractable problems will be posed if the Board goes
down the "taxonomic" path of creating specific
entitlements to TLD strings, overseeing the governance
of "sponsors," and making centralized decisions
regarding permissible "communities" and markets ahead
of time. Because no sound technology-based rationale
could be advanced to support imposing a taxonomy, the
imposition of such a rule would arguably violate the
antitrust laws. Such a decision would also conflict
with obligations in ICANN?s MOU and Bylaws requiring
it to promote competition to the maximum extent

The posing of the "taxonomy" question itself could
lead to endless delay. But the GNSO should be smart
enough to see that the entire inquiry is a waste of
time. The GNSO could promptly advise ICANN to proceed
with a new TLD rollout plan that establishes minimum
qualifications but leaves the marketing questions up
to those with the highest stake in getting them right
-- the registries themselves. If all qualified
applicants were allowed to enter the market (on some
reasonable pacing schedule), no registry would expect
to be protected from competition and all applicants
would likely be able to find a non-conflicting string
that would allow them to serve their customers. 


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