ICANN’s batching program for new generic Top Level Domains, called digital archery, is deeply flawed and should be abandoned before it causes havoc with the new gTLD programme, writes Antony Van Couvering on the Minds+Machines blog.
“As well as arbitrarily creating winners and losers, creating unfair advantages for certain types of applicants and for certain regions, the program may be suffering from another software ‘glitch’ of the kind that damaged the application process. There is a much better solution: a single batch for all applications.”
The problem was acknowledged by ICANN and in a subsequent post, Van Couvering notes that ICANN said “it related to display only (not to actual data recorded), and that the issue has been fixed as of Saturday.”
But Van Couvering believes the batching programme itself remains deeply flawed, something about which he has previously written. He says “this entire programme is flawed, unfair, and will create mayhem and ill-will. And it is completely unnecessary.”
The system will create winners and losers he writes.
“ICANN’s batching system arbitrarily creates winners (those in the first batch) and losers (those in the second and subsequent batches). The advantages to going first may be enormous from an economic and market acceptance perspective.”
Van Couvering also believes that there is too much chance involved in hitting your target.
“Digital archery not a game of skill, but of chance. Network latencies, vagaries of the DNS, and other factors can all have an impact on how close a click comes to the target.”
Digital archery is also unfair to poorer applicants, as “it is a question of resources, not skill.” Another process of unfairness is the “round-robin geographical distribution introduces another element of unfairness” which “means in practice is that all applications from Africa (with few applications) will be in Batch 1, while North America, with many applications, will end up with very few in Batch 1.”
Additionally, the system benefits those where there are multiple applications, which will be generic terms and not brand names, as all applications will be dragged into the round with the best score.
To read more on Digital Archery by Antony Van Couvering, see: