Submitted to the Board for consideration at its next meeting:
1 October 2014
To: Mr. Steve Crocker
Chair - ICANN Board
Re: Recommendations on Metrics from the Implementation Advisory Group for Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice (IAG-CCT) for the CCT Review Team
In response to the Board’s resolution in Durban (Resolutions 2013.07.18.06 and 2013.07.18.07) calling for the convening of a volunteer group (the IAG-CCT) to provide recommendations for the collection of metrics in advance of a future AoC Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Review Team, I am pleased to deliver to you the group’s final recommendations. The group’s members have been engaged in discussions for nearly 10 months to deliver this comprehensive set of recommendations, which we hope prove to be useful to the CCT Review Team.
Reflected below are the recommendations from the IAG-CCT for the collection of relevant data elements to establish a benchmark of the current state of the generic domain name sector prior to the widespread adoption and use of new gTLDs, others to be evaluated after new gTLDs have been in operation for one year, and some which will be revisited on a regular basis. From the 70 metrics the ALAC and GNSO recommended in December 2012, the IAG-CCT is recommending collecting 65 of these metrics and has added one new metric related to name collisions. The core document remains the original recommendations from the GNSO and ALAC, combined into a single document and modified with the deliberations of the IAG-CCT. It is that document which is most likely to drive the deliberations by the review team on the use of data.
In December, 2010, the Board requested advice from the ALAC, GAC, GNSO, and ccNSO on establishing the definition, measures, and three year targets for competition, consumer trust, and consumer choice in the context of the domain name system (http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-10dec10-en.htm#6). This advice was requested to support ICANN’s obligations under the AoC to review the extent to which the introduction or expansion of gTLDs has promoted competition, consumer trust, and consumer choice.
In 2013, the Board (Resolutions 2013.07.18.06 and 2013.07.18.07) called for the convening of a volunteer group to advance the work on the set of proposed metrics provided by the GNSO and ALAC. Specifically, the IAG-CCT was tasked with:
- Evaluating and reporting to the Board on the feasibility, utility and cost-effectiveness of adopting the recommendations of the GNSO Council and the ALAC;
- Evaluating other inputs, including historical data regarding metrics used to evaluate earlier rounds of New gTLDs (2000, 2004);
- Engaging with the GNSO, ALAC and staff in an effort to reach agreement on the metrics; and
- Proposing a set of metrics to be compiled by ICANN for use in the future AoC Review of the New gTLD Program.
The IAG-CCT was convened in late 2013 to analyze the feasibility, utility and cost-effectiveness of adopting the recommendations of the GNSO Council and the ALAC, as well as analyzing other potential metrics to be made available for the future CCT review under the AOC. In March 2014, the IAG-CCT presented to the Board its interim recommendations to authorize funding for a global consumer survey and an economic study, both of which required engaging the services of third party vendors. At the ICANN 49 meeting in Singapore, the Board approved these recommendations and ICANN staff published two RFPs in the intervening months; one for the consumer survey, for which staff are currently in the final stages of negotiation with a vendor; and the second for the economic study, for which a vendor will be selected by late October 2014. The IAG completed its work analyzing the recommended metrics in September.
In its deliberations, the IAG-CCT reached consensus on the majority of the 70 metrics that were suggested by the GNSO and ALAC working group. In a few instances, the group’s members diverged in their opinions on the relative usefulness of some metrics, as well as on the availability of data, and on how some terms were defined. Those differences are noted in the attached report. The IAG-CCT recommends ICANN staff begin collecting data on all the recommended metrics as best as possible to offer the eventual CCT Review Team with a comprehensive data set to conduct its evaluation.
Accordingly, the IAG-CCT is providing to the Board its recommendations on all of the metrics developed by the GNSO and ALAC. The IAG-CCT realized it was engaged an exercise of refinement and execution, not vision and therefore, its recommendations are most easily realized via a refined version of the advice submitted by the GNSO and ALAC on December 5th, 2012. In addition to the modified advice, appended to this letter, we’ve included the IAG-CCT final report, where we detail the rationale behind the changes we’ve made to the recommendations and requests we’ve made to the board. The proposal calls for the immediate collection of all the recommended metrics to the extent data is available.
Although the group was divided on the relative usefulness of some measures, we felt that recommending the list of 66 metrics for collection would allow the to-be-formed CCT Review Team to have access to the largest swath of data. The IAG members agreed that the Review Team would be better suited to determine which data sources are the most fruitful for their evaluation of the New gTLD Program.
Some of the recommended metrics may come with a price tag for data from third party sources. The Board has already approved funding for the metrics to be tested by the consumer survey and the economic study. The group recognizes that these are significant investments and supports careful scoping to ensure that these activities support the important goal of analyzing competition, consumer choice, and consumer trust.
Implementation Advisory Group for Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice
 9.3 Promoting competition, consumer trust, and consumer choice: ICANN will ensure that as it contemplates expanding the top-level domain space, the various issues that are involved (including competition, consumer protection, security, stability and resiliency, malicious abuse issues, sovereignty concerns, and rights protection) will be adequately addressed prior to implementation. If and when new gTLDs (whether in ASCII or other language character sets) have been in operation for one year, ICANN will organize a review that will examine the extent to which the introduction or expansion of gTLDs has promoted competition, consumer trust and consumer choice, 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. ICANN will organize a further review of its execution of the above commitments two years after the first review, and then no less frequently than every four years. The reviews will be performed by volunteer community members and the review team will be constituted and published for public comment, and will include the following (or their designated nominees): the Chair of the GAC, the CEO of ICANN, representatives of the relevant Advisory Committees and Supporting Organizations, and independent experts. Composition of the review team will be agreed jointly by the Chair of the GAC (in consultation with GAC members) and the CEO of ICANN. Resulting recommendations of the reviews will be provided to the Board and posted for public comment. The Board will take action within six months of receipt of the recommendations.
An initial draft of the report is available here: IAG-CCT Final report DRAFT.pdf