A number of applicants for new gTLDs have written to ICANN expressing their “grave concerns relating to the Community Objection process”, saying they believe the Expert Panels “do not have any prior experience with the new gTLD programme or a deep understanding of the Applicant Guidebook (AGB).”
The letter from Shweta Sahjwani (Radix Registry), Reg Levy (Top Level Domain Holdings / Minds & Machines) and Jay Westerdal (Fegistry, LLC) says that as applicants they very carefully considered the definition of “community” in the AGB before applying under “community” or “standard” applications and that they did not try to “game the system”.
They go on to say they did this in the belief that “ICANN and its contracted parties would be responsible for upholding the AGB definitions at every stage of the programme.”
However they are concerned by how the Expert Panel that in evaluating the .architect and .fly applications “do not even mention the definition of the term ‘community’ as defined by the AGB, let alone whether the alleged community in question in each Objection is really a community.”
The letter concludes noting “several other instances in the Expert Determinations … confirm our assertion that the Expert Panels simply have not adhered to the AGB while making their decisions.”
The letter also asks for ICANN to temporarily suspend decision making until it can “conduct a basic level of training for the actual Expert Panels on the AGB guidelines and their interpretations.”