Purpose: In its Draft Report, the Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Review Team (CCTRT) assesses the New Generic Top-Level Domain (New gTLD) Program in three areas: competition, consumer trust and consumer choice, as well as the effectiveness of safeguards put in place to mitigate issues arising from the introduction of new gTLDs and the Program's application and evaluation process. The review examines the degree to which the process of implementing the New gTLD Program was successful in producing desired results and achieving the stated objectives. The CCTRT is analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data to produce recommendations for the ICANN Board to consider and adopt.
This public comment proceeding aims at gathering community input on the CCT Review Team's proposed draft findings and recommendations before publishing its Final Report in Q3 2017.
Current Status: The CCTRT began its analysis of the New gTLD Program's impact on the domain name marketplace in 2016, and is now publishing its Draft Report for public comment to solicit the community's input on its assessment of the New gTLD Program's implementation.
The CCTRT Draft Report is posted for public comment for the ICANN community's review and consideration. To facilitate the review and analysis of all comments, we request that commenters clearly indicate to which section(s) of the report, or which numbered recommendations, their comments relate.
Next Steps: Following the review of public comments received on this report, ICANN will prepare a public comment summary report. The CCTRT will consider these comments to shape its recommendations for inclusion in its Final Report.
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose
The CCTRT is seeking input on its Draft Report, which assesses whether the introduction or expansion of gTLDs has promoted competition, consumer trust and consumer choice in the DNS, as well as effectiveness of (a) the application and evaluation process, and (b) safeguards put in place to mitigate issues involved in the introduction or expansion.
The following topics are covered in the Draft Report:
- New gTLD Program history
- Competition in the DNS Marketplace
- Consumer Choice
- Consumer Trust
- DNS Abuse
- Public Interest Commitments
- Right Protection Mechanisms
- Application and Evaluation
The Draft Report describes 50 recommendations, including several that are considered by the Review Team to be prerequisites to the opening of the next application period for new gTLDs. This public comment proceeding is intended to solicit the public's input on the CCTRT's findings and recommendations, as well as evaluate its analysis of the New gTLD Program's impact on the domain name marketplace.
All comments will be reviewed and summarized in the report of public comments, which will be included as a supplement to the Final Report.
To provide consistency and to facilitate the discussion, ICANN requests that commenters clearly indicate the relevant sections of the Draft Report, or numbered recommendations, within their comments.
Section II: Background
Convened in 2016, the CCTRT is being conducted under the Bylaws adopted as part of the IANA Stewardship Transition that incorporated the former Affirmation of Commitment reviews as "Specific Reviews." Bylaws Section 4.6 describes the scope of this review as:
"The review team for the CCT Review will examine (A) the extent to which the expansion of gTLDs has promoted competition, consumer trust and consumer choice and (B) the effectiveness of the New gTLD Round's application and evaluation process and safeguards put in place to mitigate issues arising from the New gTLD Round."
The Bylaws also specify that, for each of its recommendations, the CCT Review Team should indicate whether the recommendation, if accepted by the Board, must be implemented before opening subsequent rounds of new generic top-level domain applications periods. The recommendations contained within the Draft Report identify those that should be prerequisites to future application periods for new gTLDs.
Producing recommendations that are as data- and fact-driven as possible is a fundamental priority of the Review Team. The CCTRT has constructed its report to have findings supported by data received prior to and throughout the review process.
ICANN commissioned two major research initiatives from Nielsen in 2015 in anticipation of the Review Team's work: a global consumer end-user and registrant survey and an economic study of the Program's competitive effects. These surveys were repeated in 2016 to measure updates as more new gTLDs came into operation, and took into consideration, where applicable, additional questions and requirements raised by the CCTRT.
The CCTRT, comprised of 17 community representatives and volunteer subject matter experts, divided the evaluation of the New gTLD program in three subteams:
- Competition and Consumer Choice: This subteam examined the effects of the entry of new gTLDs on price and non-price competition in the expanded domain name marketplace, as well as whether consumer choice in the marketplace was effectively enhanced with the introduction of new gTLDs.
- Consumer Trust and Safeguards: This subteam focused on the extent to which the expansion of new gTLDs has promoted consumer trust and the impact of the safeguards that had been adopted to mitigate any problems that might have arose as a result of the Program.
- Application and Evaluation Process: The Review Team explored issues related to the effectiveness of the application process, with a particular focus on the applicant experience, the paucity of applications from underserved regions, and the objection processes.
Section III: Relevant Resources
Executive Summary [PDF, 71 KB]
Summary of Recommendations [PDF, 1.34 MB]
Analysis Group Economic Studies:
- Analysis Group, Phase I Assessment of the Competitive Effects Associated with the New gTLD Program (September 2015)
- Analysis Group, Phase II Assessment of the Competitive Effects Associated with the New gTLD Program (October 2016),
Nielsen Consumer End-user Surveys:
- Nielsen, ICANN Global Consumer Research (April 2015)
- Nielsen, ICANN Global Consumer Research Wave 2 (June 2016)
Nielsen Registrant Surveys:
- Nielsen, ICANN Global Registrant Survey (September 2015)
- Nielsen, ICANN Global Registrant Survey Wave 2 (August 2016)
Nielsen, ICANN Application Process Survey [PDF, 892 KB] (December 2016)