Public Comment

Public Comment is a vital part of our multistakeholder model. It provides a mechanism for stakeholders to have their opinions and recommendations formally and publicly documented. It is an opportunity for the ICANN community to effect change and improve policies and operations.

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Name: Business Constituency
Date: 11 Sep 2023
Affiliation: ICANN Business Constituency (BC)
Guidance Recommendation 1
Significant change required: changing intent and wording
If you support the intent of Guidance Recommendation 1 but think it requires a wording change, please provide your revised wording and reason here.

The Applicant Support Program (ASP) is a great initiative by ICANN to bring forth increased diversity in the next round of gTLDs. Its aim is to enable applicants that might, without support, be unable to successfully participate in the next round.


It is unfortunate that the program communication is considering specifically to NOT focus on businesses, even as there is no restriction on who may apply for support.  

 

Businesses come in all shapes and sizes from across the world, from a one-woman entrepreneur to a multi-billion dollar enterprise. It is unfair to group all of them under one umbrella of “for-profit” and to exclude them from communications targeting plans. There are businesses all over the world that work hard to uplift the community that they operate in and can significantly benefit from a brand TLD or a generic TLD to further spread their message and impact more lives positively. Moreover, these businesses may be as resource-constrained as other entities that are specifically targeted for communications, even though they may provide the same benefits to an underserved community. 

 

For example, consider this small business that makes a big difference in the community they represent - Two Blind Brothers is a comfort clothing company created by two visually impaired brothers, and 100% of the company’s profits go towards funding research to cure retinal eye disease. Customers can browse and purchase individual items or “shop blind” and purchase mystery boxes without seeing the products—much like the people they are supporting.  

 

ICANN org suggested that the Applicant Support Program should not limit communications and outreach to particular regions for applicant support. Instead, the intent is to seek potential applicants that would qualify from all regions, while emphasizing that more attention should be paid to under-served regions.

 

We recommend that the communication for the ASP should be inclusive and should aim to reach as many people and organizations as possible without specifically excluding any group, country, or region based on their assumed capability to participate in this program without help.

 

One of the quantitative metrics for success for the “COMMUNICATIONS And OUTREACH/AWARENESS” is  conversion rate. We would be setting up the communication program to fail if we are more concerned with whom NOT to focus on as compared to focusing on all possible and relevant opportunities for creating a more diverse applicant pool.

 

The second round of new gTLD expansion is an immense opportunity for every organization and every one should be allowed to benefit from it – including businesses. The decision to grant support is based on a robust methodology and by specifically excluding one type of organizations from targeted communications is a significant flaw in this program.

 

Therefore, our recommendation is to reword the Implementation Guidance as follows:

“Target ALL potential applicants from diverse organizations from under-served and developing regions and countries.”

Guidance Recommendation 2
Support Recommendation as written
Are there any comments or issues you would like to raise pertaining to the Rationale for Guidance Recommendation 2? If yes, please provide your comments here.

The ASP states that support requested by the applicants does not necessarily have to be financial. It could be technical, educational or even language support for those businesses that may be a valid applicant but need understanding the application and help with filing the required form. Even small support such as hand-holding during the application program and pointing out relevant resources could be beneficial for many who are not familiar with ICANN or the first round of gTLD expansion.



Guidance Recommendation 3
Support Recommendation as written
Guidance Recommendation 4
Support Recommendation as written
Guidance Recommendation 5
Support Recommendation as written
Guidance Recommendation 6
Support Recommendation as written
Guidance Recommendation 7
Support Recommendation as written
Guidance Recommendation 8
Support Recommendation as written
Guidance Recommendation 9
Support Recommendation as written
Other Comments

This response was drafted by Vivek Goyal with edits from Steve DelBianco and David Snead.

It was approved in accordance with the BC Charter.


Summary of Attachment

The attachment is in addition to completing this form, and is included so that recommendations and responses are available in a single document.

Summary of Submission

The second round of new gTLD expansion is an immense opportunity for every organization and every one should be allowed to benefit from it – including businesses.

The decision to grant support is based on a robust methodology and by specifically excluding one type of organizations from targeted communications is a significant flaw in this program.

Therefore, our recommendation is to reword the Implementation Guidance as follows:

“Target all potential applicants from diverse organizations from under-served and developing regions and countries.”