One of the key points of agreement that emerged from
the f2f meeting in Montevideo was that ORG could be
concieved as a "sponsored, but unrestricted" domain.
This meant that the sponsoring organization that
administers the new ORG should develop a definition of
the relevant community for which ORG domain names are intended.
Although the new administrator would define specific
types of registrants who constitute the target
community for ORG, it would not do anything to evict
existing registrants who don't conform to that
definition, nor would it impose ex ante restrictions
on people or organizations attempting to establish new
registrations. Its policy will be to develop marketing
and branding practices oriented toward the target
community, and rely on end-user self-selection, i.e.
consumer choice, to determine the characteristics of
I want to make sure that everyone on the TF
understands this unusual construct (sponsored but
unrestricted) and is prepared to accept it, articulate
the rationale behind it, and defend it throughout the
rest of the process.
ICANN's web site defines a "sponsored" TLD as "a
specialized TLD that has a sponsor representing the
narrower community that is most affected by the TLD.
The sponsor thus carries out delegated policy-
formulation responsibilities over many matters
concerning the TLD." Note that sponsored TLDs are
conceived as "narrower" than unsponsored TLDs, which
ICANN describes as "relatively large." In fact, ORG is
quite a large TLD, and will probably be larger than
the new unsponsored TLDs for some time. It is likely
to remain "relatively large", and indeed may grow
relative to others.
Such an approach, I believe, provides the optimal
trade-off between maintaining a distictive character
for ORG and keeping the registration process
affordable, easy to administer, and responsive to
various end-user demands that may be difficult to
An ORG run by a wholly commercial entity with no
connections to or representation from the
noncommercial domain name holders might try to make
ORG into a clone of COM, or encourage registrations
that undermined the character of the TLD in ways
unsatisfactory to the registrants using it. On the
other hand, an ORG that tried to restrict
registrations, either through ex ante review of
applications, or through an ex post dispute mechanism,
would be far more costly, less stable, and would
diminish end user choice. Moreover, given the very
mixed nature of current registrations in ORG, there is
limited value in attempting to impose "purifying"
measures unless one is also prepared to evict large
numbers of current registrants, and there seems to be
no support for this.
Are we together on this?