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Video update to the Applicant Guidebook process

4 February 2009
By Kieren McCarthy

So, no doubt you have all been wondering what exactly ICANN and its staff have been up to over January with respect to the Applicant Guidebook and the reams of comments covering the new generic top-level domain process.

In order to provide some answers and perspective, ICANN’s most senior executives dealing with the process – the CEO Paul Twomey, the COO Doug Brent and the Senior Vice President for Services Kurt Pritz – have done a video update on where we are now and where the process is going.

You can see it on the right-hand-side of this post. A transcript is below. Enjoy.

* Applicant Guidebook Update – February 2009
* [computer keys tapping]
* Applicant Guidebook Update – February 2009 ICANN
* Hi, I’m Paul Twomey, the President and CEO of ICANN–
* Paul Twomey, President & CEO, ICANN
* –and I thought I’d take this opportunity to make a few overarching comments–
* –about the new generic top-level domain process presently being undertaken by ICANN.
* The process has had 2 parts.
* The first has been a long-term process of consultation and policy development from the community up through the Generic Names Supporting Organization
* –which has taken nearly 3 years.
* Since June last year, the board of ICANN has then asked the staff of ICANN to work through what is feasible in terms of implementation–
* –and that is where we are presently in the process.
* End of last year, we put out for comment a draft Applicant Guidebook for people who were thinking of applying and to get the feedback.
* I’m very pleased to say that we received over 1,000 responses to that document–
* –and I think that’s a great success.
* We are not yet complete by any means.
* Doug Brent – Chief Operating Officer, ICANN
* In a lot of ways, I think this new gTLD process that we’re running is exemplary of how the ICANN model really works.
* So the cycle is really pretty simple.
* Policy approval led to an implementation guidebook that was reviewed by the board and approved for posting.
* The community provided extensive feedback.
* That feedback is now being processed and the guidebook updated as we process these comments.
* The result will be an analysis of the comments so the community can see their comments were really heard–
* –and an updated draft guidebook that will be reviewed by the board and, as you can imagine, particularly on some key issues.
* That then updated guidebook will be posted in English and 5 other languages–
* –presented to the community in Mexico City–
* –and undoubtedly considered further after that time.
* I think we have already seen, through this response period, very clearly–
* –that there is a demand from a large number of people who are looking at potentially putting in applications.
* There has been another family of responses, many of them from industry associations–
* –focusing on some broader, overarching issues.
* First of all, and probably the most pressing, has been brand protection issues.
* Secondly has been concerns about whether the introduction of new gTLDs, DNSSEC, IDNs–
* –is imposing a form of challenge to scale in being able to implement.
* One of the third major issues is is the implementation of new gTLDs going to make it more difficult to manage–
* –some of the malware, phishing, pharming, and related type issues that already exist within the DNS system?
* I don’t think it’s anyone’s intention that brand holders should be held to any form of extortion in the operation of new gTLDs–
* –particularly at the second level, and that’s an issue which needs to be discussed.
* On the concerns about potential confusion and for the increase in malicious behavior that might emerge from having many more new gTLDs–
* –I think we really should think about this in a more creative way.
* I personally consider that we are facing now actually an opportunity for us to explore what the contractual frameworks could be for the new gTLDs–
* –both at the registry level and potentially flow through to the registrar level–
* –that might help us address some of the existing concerns that we already have.
* We have a body of legacy contracts and experience–
* –but potentially with these new gTLDs, we might be able to review and consider the contractual terms and frameworks–
* –which might help address some of the concerns of the people who are rightly concerned with these sort of malware and malicious behavior environments.
* One has to be conscious, however, that that can only be done in the context of national laws and what is feasible under those laws–
* –but nevertheless, I think we now also want to consider this an opportunity for an outreach and discussion with that community–
* –to think what would be feasible as well as with registries and registrars–
* –so that we can consider the new gTLD environment as a new way of considering–a new opportunity to consider–these contractual environments–
* –separate, if you like, from the legacy contracts that have been in place now for 10 years or more.
* Innovation is not something driven simply by demand in a marketplace.
* It is provided also by the opportunities in the structure of the marketplace and the technology available.
* We would not have a Skype, a Google, a Facebook simply because people said, “Would you like to have a Facebook?”
* These all come from entrepreneurs offering opportunities to a market and seeing what is feasible in an environment of innovation–
* –and that is an important part, I think, of the framework in which we need to consider the new gTLD round.
* Kurt Pritz – SVP of Services, ICANN
* The next version of the applicant guidebook will be published in anticipation of ICANN’s meeting in Mexico City in March.
* Some of the changes you’ll see in this new version of the guidebook will include changes to the evaluation criteria–
* –more detailed procedures, changes in fees paid by gTLD registry operators, more protections for others.
* You’ll also see areas where additional study will be undertaken or additional consultations will take place.
* So to summarize, I am very pleased and thankful to all the members of the global internet community–
* –who have responded to this first round process of consultation on the draft applicant guidebook for new generic top-level domains.
* It has been a very successful process of feedback.
* We will follow our usual ICANN process of consultation, putting things back out for discussion, try to summarize, get more consultation.
* That is the way we work.
* This can be a noisy and sometimes heated process–
* –and we will think through those issues and potentially put forward yet again another round of an Applicant Guidebook–
* –that people can look at and consider.
* So we are listening very carefully–
* –we are wanting to engage and discuss–
* –we are following the usual ICANN processes, and I’d like to thank you very much for being involved in that–
* –and being part of the community that’s actually making the future of the DNS.
* New gTLDs and the Internet
* Openness
* Change
* Innovation


Kieren McCarthy