During the third week of May, the Global Domains Division (GDD) of the ICANN organization held its fourth annual Industry Summit in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. This year's Summit comprised of 410 attendees from over 32 countries, with dozens more participating remotely. The Summit was followed with the Registration Operation Workshop (ROW), an informal industry get-together sponsored by ICANN and Verisign.
The primary purpose of the Summit is to provide a forum for ICANN's contracted parties to discuss issues of mutual interest and importance, share best practices, and meet one-on-one with members of the ICANN org. Several ICANN executives, including Göran Marby, ICANN President and CEO, and Akram Atallah, President of GDD, as well as a few ICANN Board members, attended this year's event and actively engaged with participants.
The two and one-half day event was kicked off with the broadcast of the community webinar to discuss the proposed temporary specification for registration data that was under consideration by the ICANN Board at the time. Sessions then began in three topical tracks. This year many sessions were led by community members, with ICANN org staff taking a less active role in the presentation of content.
Unsurprisingly, the most active topic was the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and its pending 25 May 2018 enforcement date. Many of the sessions had a GDPR focus, including both the operational and technical aspects of implementing the Temporary Specification.
The technical track sessions proved to be very popular, with participants actively proposing and discussing ideas. Many of the discussions featured small breakout groups to analyze particular issues and bring back the outcome to the broader audience.
During the Contractual Compliance sessions, registrar and registry participants discussed with members of ICANN org's Contractual Compliance team the approach to be taken while contracted parties work on implementing the temporary specification.
There were several sessions dedicated to .BRANDs and how to market TLDs. Case studies of success and failure were shared along with marketing ideas specific to premium names.
The event ended with a wrap-up session facilitated by the chairs of the gTLD Registries and Registrar Stakeholder Groups, which included open comments and questions between audience members and senior GDD staff.
We have published the results of the participant survey intended to help us continue to improve future GDD Industry Summits. The survey results and comments during the wrap-up session indicate that the multi-track format was a positive improvement. We've already received requests for a tech-ops track at the next Summit and potentially around ICANN tri-annual meetings as well.
I'm very pleased with how the Summit has evolved into a major event that complements the tri-annual ICANN meetings. Community input has contributed to pre-determining that the 2019 location will be in the Asia-Pacific region with 2020 returning to Europe. The 2019 GDD Summit will be co-locating with the following events; Registration Operations Workshop (ROW), ICANN DNS Symposium, and DNS OARC.
An event of this size and magnitude requires early planning and a significant amount of coordination. I'd like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who made this Summit possible. A special thanks to the Registries and Registrar Stakeholder Groups' planning committee and other participants from the community who helped in planning and moderating several sessions and the ICANN meetings and IT support teams, whose many contributions and team-oriented spirit make it all possible.
If you're interested in learning more about the GDD Industry Summit, please see the posted agenda or listen to the Adobe recordings of the sessions at https://www.icann.org/gddsummit.