Domain Industry Expresses Concerns To ICANN On Use Of Generic Keyword TLDs

Concerns about what companies plan to do with some of their generic keyword new Top Level Domains have been expressed by one of Ireland’s leading registrars and hosting companies.

Blacknight CEO Michele Neylon has corralled a group of industry people to co-sign the letter that urges ICANN “to formally clarify its position on Generic Key Word TLDs.”

The letter also asks “specifically whether ICANN will allow [the new TLDs] to be operated in a ‘closed’ manner. The most recent version of the ‘Registry Operator Code of Conduct’ states that any applicant who wishes to operate a closed TLD would file an exception request to operate the TLD thusly.”

The signatories are encouraging ICANN to consider the adoption of a process in which applicants who wish to operate a closed TLD, meet certain, transparent criteria.

To gain an exception, the signatories believe a registry must only use the TLD for its exclusive use, not make domain names available for public registration and provide proof that “application of this Code of Conduct to the TLD is not necessary to protect the public interest.”

The letter also expresses the view that while there are several issues regarding new gTLDs that remain unclear, this issue most directly affects the public.

“As a community, we supported a program that would expand the name space for competition, to further the internet and to provide a broader choice for our customers,” said Neylon. “Our collective aim is to help the Internet into this next stage, not to take generic key words that essentially belong to ‘everyone’ and tie him or her up.”

The letter follows on from another that was sent by Blacknight to ICANN in September 2012 expressing concern that it is generally understood that new gTLDs would be operated in a closed manner only under very defined circumstances.

The letter is available online at blog.blacknight.com/letter-to-icann-clarifications-on-non-trademarked-generic-keyword-tld-are-needed.html.