During the Prague meeting, several Board members have asked ICANN communities to think about the impact of the new gTLDs on the overall ICANN Structure.

Below is an email from Bertrand de la Chapelle detailing such enquiry.

Comments are welcome from the whole community. Please add your comments at the bottom of this WIKI page and the ExCom will summarise in order to provide a single input from At-Large.

At-Large Comments open: 3 August 2012

At-Large Comments close: 3 September 2012



-------- Original Message --------

Subject:Call for input on: "Impact of new gTLDs on ICANN's structure"
Date:Fri, 3 Aug 2012 12:24:46 +0200
From:Bertrand de La Chapelle <bdelachapelle@gmail.com>

Dear all,

The new gTLD program will have a significant impact on the functioning of ICANN and its structure. An in-depth community discussion is needed to identify early the corresponding challenges and possible evolutions. It should be conducted while the gTLD program itself is being implemented, without waiting for the completion of this round. This should in particular be taken into account in the upcoming gNSO review, planned in 2013.
As you probably remember, this issue was therefore put on the agenda of the various Board interactions with SOs, ACs and constituencies during the Prague meeting. Several issues were identified during these discussions, pertaining both to scalability factors (due to the number of applications) and qualitative impact (including the diversity of the new gTLDs and the potential overlapping of the constituencies they could belong to).
At the end of each such session, Steve Crocker invited participants to share a one-pager on this topic to gather preliminary views and help prepare a dedicated session in Toronto. 
I am writing to you as Chairs of the respective SOs, ACs, Stakeholder Groups or Constituencies to renew this call for input. The Board Structural Improvements Committee (SIC), chaired by Ray Plzak, will discuss the topic during the Board Workshop mid-September and your perspective is eagerly sought after. The contributions can be very synthetic at that stage, for instance merely listing bullet points of identified potential impacts. The objective is to get as complete a picture as possible of the different dimensions of the issue.
I know the summer period is not the easiest to gather views in you respective groups but I also understand that this has already been discussed before Prague and you probably are in a position to share the concerns already identified, if not the possible solutions. This is only a preliminary stage and further consultations will take place to prepare the Toronto session. 
Thank you in advance for your contribution, if possible before September 10, and don't hesitate to share this call for input with people I might have inadvertently overlooked or you think might be good contributors from your group.
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  1. Comment added by At-Large Staff at the request of Vanda Scartezini

    5 August 2012

    Here my comments in bullets as Bertrand have suggested

    • Change the Registry impact  (in a couple years several new gTLDs will get out from the registry they contracted to be approved and ICANN will face a new wave of qualifying registry added to the current process for qualifying new GTLDs that will be in place at the time demanding an additional effort from ICANN structure)
    • Community governance ( will ICANN enter into new community gTLD proposals? Has any logic to have future check points on these governance policies ?  if so additional WGs will be needed to do so)
    • New gTLD cancel process ( I believe some of these new applicants will failed and will be needed a clear process to cancel the registry of the TLD at the roots, that may demand additional process to be defined and  

    Vanda Scartezini

  2. These are a few points that come to mind:-
    • Regulatory environment (competition, dispute resolution)- whilst it is one thing to have systems in place, there is a need to forecast scenarios and figure out the cost for benchmarking purposes and do some sort of model simulation to see whether there may be things that you have not forecasted nor made allocations for, financial or otherwise; Addressing issues like significant market power and how this is going to be managed is also critical;
    • Objection Period - see concerns raised in http://isenbergondomains.com/2012/08/21/did-icann-just-shorten-the-deadline-for-filing-new-gtld-objections;
    • The need to isolate the idn gTLDs and enable them to test and expand; Politically IDNs are important for these reasons - there are numerous International Laws promoting multilingualism and ICANN can properly deploy marketing strategies or public relations to enhance/improve its image in this area and strategically manage proper press release globally to capture this momentous occasion;
    • Groups claiming to be "public interest" oriented, you should be wary of because it could open the floodgates - so there is a need to be careful in the selection process,  - my suggestion is that ICANN stay away from anything that could politicise the gTLD space - this is difficult but there should be sufficient risk mitigation mechanisms in place; They must be genuinely for public interest;
    • The need to ask ICANN Finance to run a financial analysis based on ratios (Liquidity Ratio, Profitability, Financial Leverage Ratios etc etc) for the last 5 years and forecast impact of potential risks (such as impact of litigation arising out of gTLD applications after seeing the numbers which is why the processes should be really "clean"; Examine the health of the company. From your model simulations input estimated figures for the next three years where you imagine cost of litigation and insert into next 5 years and see impact on viability. This can also help you decide how much ICANN can really afford and assist in how you make considerations;
    • Trademark clearing house - cost recovery should be reasonable and balanced and by involving stakeholders you minimise the risk; Your biggest concern and threat to instability would be from mark holders so this risk should be managed.
    In 10 years would the value of the gTLD increase or decrease - again depends on the architecture of the Internet and its evolution in the next decade. I no longer use search engines but merely type words into my URL space and it transports me to the desired destination, although given the volume of information pervading the internet one could also assume that gTLDs will flourish and grow from strength to strength. 
    Additional Thoughts from Shakespeare

    "What's in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet."

    Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

    Summary of Relevance

    "Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet meet and fall in love in Shakespeare's lyrical tale of "star-cross'd" lovers. They are doomed from the start as members of two warring families. Here Juliet tells Romeo that a name is an artificial and meaningless convention, and that she loves the person who is called "Montague", not the Montague name and not the Montague family. Romeo, out of his passion for Juliet, rejects his family name and vows, as Juliet asks, to "deny (his) father" and instead be "new baptized" as Juliet's lover. This one short line encapsulates the central struggle and tragedy of the play."

    The comments on the gTLD Applications which in a recent count total 6600 comments from the 1931 applications. Whilst the objection process is not yet set to take place, one can imagine how the process can be viewed as politicised. 

  3. Comment from Christopher Wilkinson:


    Begin forwarded message:


    From: Christopher Wilkinson <cw@christopherwilkinson.eu>
    Date: Sat 4 Aug 2012 00:32:28 GMT+02:00
    To: Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond <ocl@gih.com>
    Subject: Re: [ALAC-Announce] Fwd: Call for input on: "Impact of new gTLDs on ICANN's structure"

    Dear Olivier:

    Bertrand's questions are no doubt relevant and timely, although I foresee difficulties in At Large responding constructively until much more information is available.
    Although there are numbers of new TLD applications on the table, there are so many thresholds and hurdles to be crossed, that one really does not yet know what the new environment is going to look like.
    In particular, the presence, or not, of new IDN and public interest TLDs will influence the At Large perceptions.

    According to the ICANN-announced scenario, the main change might become a radical restructuring of the GNSO, because numbers of established Registrars might turn up as proto-Registries. To be confirmed when the evaluation processes have been undertaken.

    Abstracting for the moment from my longstanding opposition to this development on grounds of competition policy, one could imagine that this change in the internal dynamic of GNSO might interfere with the normal functioning of the bottom up PDP and other decision making procedures.

    Accordingly, At Large - and for that matter, NCUC - may encounter opportunities to give the ICANN community and Board clear advice on the management of the expanded DNS, in the face of some confusion and delay pertaining in  the GNSO.

    At Large may also wish to keep an eye on the budgetary aspects of the new situation. On the one hand ICANN has declared that the new TLD programme will be budget-neutral (whence the exorbitant fees) but on the other hand the successful creation of numbers of successful new TLDs might have a permanent influence on the ICANN budget, in which case the allocation of additional budgetary resources could become an issue for At Large.
    (Personally, I am inclined to discount this aspect because I gather that the aggregate domain name market - excluding IDN - is not growing fast enough to accommodate large numbers of successful new gTLDs at this time.)

    In short, it is not a good idea to introduce a new TLD - let alone several - in the midst of a global recession.

    Just a few thoughts, to start the discussion.



    PS:  I shall add a copy of these comments to the Wiki page in the near future.

    1. Comment from Carlton Samuels:




      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject:Re: [ALAC] Fwd: Re: [ALAC-Announce] Fwd: Call for input on: "Impact of new gTLDs on ICANN's structure"
      Date:Tue, 7 Aug 2012 19:31:37 -0500
      From:Carlton Samuels <carlton.samuels@gmail.com>
      To:Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond <ocl@gih.com>
      CC:ALAC Working List <alac@atlarge-lists.icann.org>, Christopher Wilkinson <cw@christopherwilkinson.eu>, At-Large Worldwide <at-large@atlarge-lists.icann.org>

      I can agree with the general thrust of Christopher's arguments here.  And I believe that there is indeed evidence now available we can draw on for action.
      Certainly and by whatever margin it is enlarged, the gTLD space shall impose a greater burden on ICANN Compliance. As of now and even coming on significant improvements, several practical indicators suggest Compliance yet struggles on task. 
      The emerging consensus appears to be that as it is now constituted, the ICANN Compliance practice is not fit to purpose.  And relief is unlikely in current context. In fact, it is more likely to deteriorate with addition of an even more onerous workload from new gTLDs. 
      The fundamental problem is one of philosophy driving the practice. We are on record demanding a new philosophy of compliance that would drive the work and practice of ICANN Compliance.  The trending data gave some hope for awhile. However, in light of several definitive public avowals from ICANN staff, including one at Prague, it now appears that change is hostage to an ascendant - [ICANN corporate] - philosophy which says ICANN is not a regulator AND does not perform a regulatory role in the domain name system space.
      For some of us, this declaration compels a negation of the evidence of your own two lying eyes! And then, to suspend belief.  Ye olde Daffy Duck routine; that thar duck be a chicken!
      Put the kerfuffle re budget-neutral gTLD ops in the same category as above.  We are called to connive at error, altogether defying reason and good commonsense.  
      A new philosophy for compliance could likely be nurtured by bold organizational changes in ICANN corporate.  We are not alone here; the WHOIS RT Report recommended it and the ALAC endorsed.
      I can also see an increased role for Cross Community Working Groups (CCWGs) in policy development.  This will likely mean a rethink - or more likely,  a nuanced modulation - of GNSO sensibilities. 
      - Carlton 
      Carlton A Samuels
      Mobile: 876-818-1799
      Strategy, Planning, Governance, Assessment & Turnaround