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[nc-org] "Sponsored-unrestricted"

TF members:

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 
the registrations. 

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?

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