Daily Wrap: New gTLD Evaluations, ICANN, Manwin, ICM & .XXX, Application Withdrawals, Moscow Celebrates gTLDs

ICANN’s evaluation of new generic Top Level Domain applications isn’t about “evaluating whether an applicant is ‘worthy’ of operating a specific gTLD, but rather in evaluating whether or not that applicant sufficiently met all of the evaluation criteria laid out in the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook,” notes FairWinds Partners’ gTLD Strategy blog.

The post notes “regardless of what that means for the communities who are concerned about the operation of gTLDs with religious significance, this policy has interesting implications for companies that applied for generic-term gTLDs.”

ICANN is also involved in a court case in California that ruled a “lawsuit filed by Manwin Licensing, the owner of YouPorn.com against ICM Registry, the operator of the .XXX gTLD, could proceed, indicating that ICANN is subject to U.S. antitrust laws,” another posting on the gTLD Strategy blog notes. “Many assumed that this ruling would mean that new generic-term gTLDs would be subject to antitrust laws, and therefore would be open to antitrust lawsuits.”

FairWinds’ Counsel Steve Levy writes that “a careful analysis of the decision reveals facts that, if proven at trial, may make this decision applicable only to the unique situation of the .XXX domain and limit its impact on the New gTLD Program, or at least render it only partially relevant to new gTLD applicants.”

Levy concludes “In any event, this case may be a wake-up call to ICANN. The cost of defending the dispute, alone, may lead to a realization that it needs to tread more carefully in future negotiations and approvals, implement improved ethics and conflicts of interest policies, and pay more attention to the voices of its constituents who may not be providing the most revenue to the organization but who could amplify their voices through use of the courts.”

In another posting back on new gTLDs FairWinds looks at the batching process. “FairWinds submitted a proposed solution during ICANN’s recently closed public comment window that followed the accounting principle, First In, First Out, or FIFO. Essentially, our solution relies on natural speed bumps and roadblocks in the new gTLD application evaluation process and puts more control in the hands of new gTLD applicants, rather than in ICANN to establish subjective delays.”

This most recent posting looks at what ideas other applicants have, including Donuts, which applied for 307 gTLDs, and Uniregistry, which applied for around 50, [who] are opposed to ICANN holding the IE results, where others, including the recently formed New TLD Applicant Group, a division of Observers in ICANN’s Registries Stakeholder Group, was unable to reach consensus on the matter.”

“Unsurprisingly, applicants for multiple strings tended to favor a solution that would allow them to rank their own applications based on their priorities of which should launch first. And a handful of applicants from across the spectrum proposed allowing IDN and community-based applications to proceed through evaluation to delegation first, including one group that co-signed a letter – signatories ranged from entrepreneurial applicants to Google. Not all comments submitted shared that point of view, however.”

Last week there was more news on who has withdrawn what gTLD applications, or rather speculation. There are now six applications that have been withdrawn. Doug Isenberg has posted on his blog about the process and says of the process for informing who has withdrawn what that “this much seems clear: There is a delay between the date on which an applicant initiates the process of withdrawing an application and the date on which the withdrawal process is complete; and, the online database is not updated in the interim.”

In another post Isenberg notes the first four applications to be withdrawn are .AND, .ARE, .EST and .KSB. The first three, as previously reported, are due to the strings representing Andorra, United Aran Emirates and Estonia while for the fourth, the reason seems to be unknown.

In another report, Domain Incite says seven requests have been received for the withdrawal of applications, but the other three are unknown.

A posting on the MarkMonitor blog notes the company recently completed a survey of their “corporate client base in an effort to uncover important domain name trends relating to defensive domain name registrations, New gTLDs, and Whois accuracy.”

“Not surprisingly, the survey revealed that over 90% of corporate portfolios currently consist of defensive registrations.

“The survey also revealed that New gTLDs are of significant concern to large corporations.”

In a summit hosted by the Department of Commerce, trademark lobbyists requested “a published list of ‘bad actors’ who have repeatedly lost Uniform Rapid Suspension cases,” reports Domain Incite. However it reportedly is “a low-priority item, discussed only briefly …, and that Commerce representatives did not immediately embrace it.”

The report also notes “brand owners want Trademark Claims, which new gTLD registries are only obliged to offer for the first 60 days of general availability, extended for a longer period, possibly up to three years.”

The report says “this is among the most reasonable longstanding demands from the IP crowd, but ICANN has resisted it to date as it’s worried about creating a monopoly in the pre-existing market for trademark monitoring services.”

Meanwhile on a lighter note, “more than 1,000 Muscovites and Guests of Russia’s Capital Took Part in the Festival of Top-level Domains for Twin and Partner Cities of Moscow,” according to a report in The Moscow Times. “The festival was organised by RU-CENTER, the Russian leading registrar, and the Foundation for Assistance for Internet Technologies and Infrastructure Development (FAITID). The event was held at the Moscow City Day Celebration and took place in the Tsaritsyno Museum and Reserve and in Troitsk, the center of ‘new Moscow’.”