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What I’ve Learned in a Year of Complaints

In March 2017, the ICANN Complaints Office was established, and I was named the ICANN org Complaints Officer. Since we started accepting submissions in May 2017, we have received 858 from around the globe. Of those 858, 22 were complaints regarding the ICANN org, and 836 were submissions related to other processes.

It’s been a really interesting and rewarding year. I spent a lot of time establishing the process, navigating the submissions, and, of course, addressing the complaints and issues underlying them. The 22 complaints about the org led to improved processes, and truly added opportunity and value for the org to research, analyze, and improve upon its work, all in a transparent manner.

Above all, this has been a learning experience, and I’ve gained additional insight into how the org and the community can work together to improve ICANN. The org made improvements to several processes as a result of complaints that were filed. For example, processes such as the public comment submissions and amendments to contracts between registries and registrars were improved upon, to name a few.

The first Complaints Office Semi-Annual Report describes the key activities and metrics for the reporting period, and has my observations and recommendations, all of which have been reviewed by and discussed with the ICANN President and CEO, Göran Marby. Göran will be acting on them to varying degrees, and I expect we’ll hear more on that in the coming months.

As you can tell by the numbers, there were many complaints outside of my scope, and several related to issues the org is not permitted to change – such as requests to override consensus policy or to re-architect the Domain Name System. One of my major focuses for the next six-months is clarifying the complaints process across the ICANN org so we are more efficient, the paths for various complaints are more clear, and we can ensure we are not wasting anyone’s time or efforts.

I will also be continuing my engagement efforts to raise awareness about the office and its importance to improving processes within the org, working to improve the office’s reporting capabilities, and establishing process timing expectations.

This new role has given me the opportunity to work with some incredibly passionate, engaged community members. Their input is a critical pillar of the org’s transparency and accountability efforts, and I encourage anyone who has an issue they’d like to discuss to reach out to me. I’m here to help in any way I can.


    Domain Name System
    Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."