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[comments-gtlds] Commenting WgC

The ISPCP has, in its past physical meetings, intensely discussed the 
question of whether the Domain Space needs new gTLDs or not. There was no 
general view that there truely is a need for the addition of gTLDs to the 
current Domain Name System. Should additional gTLDs be added to the current 
system, it should either only be one with a well defined second level 
structure, or a significant number of new gTLDs.

As stated in the position paper B of WG-C, meaningful names are becoming 
increasingly rare in the existing system, whereas meaningless domains are 
plentiful and readily available.

Should only few gTLDs be added, the names that are interesting, known or 
similar to famous trademarks etc. would be delegated right away, most of 
them to those already owning the same name in a different domain. 
Especially the Trademark owners would react quickly and ensure "their" 
names were registered to them.

Consumers will not stop using the Domain Name System as a directory (which 
they currently are) unless numerous gTLDs are added to the system. The 
ISPCP agrees (as laid out in paper A) that the value of Domain Names is 
artificially high due to their scarcety and that (as stated in Paper B) 
cybersquatting could be eliminated by the addition of unlimited gTLDs. Of 
course, expansion would also give smaller companies a chance to register 
the same domain name as a large corporation, but again only if so many 
gTLDs were created that one single company could not possibly try to 
register its name in all of them. Hence, overall competition would be 
enhanced in electronic commerce as companies of all sizes could register 
Domain Names associated to their company name.

I agree with Paper A that competition among gTLDs would be created, and 
that new registries would create a new market. However, this is only true 
if the purpose of the new gTLDs was not limited but rather general. It may 
be true that some limited-purpose domains might be valuabe for the system, 
but not in our view necessary.

In view of the above, I am also of the opinion that Paper A does not go far 
enough in requiring minimum numbers of gTLDs to be added. As the authors of 
Paper B say, numbers similar to 500 in the next three years and no limit 
afterwards would create a basis for competition. "Clear, objective, 
quantitative indicators of problems that would justify an interruption or 
cessation of the process" need to be defined.

I do not agree with Paper C, stating that "appropriate safeguards" must be 
in place before new gTLDs can be added. Rather, Paper D seems right, as the 
creation of new registries will support and enhance the stability of the 
Internet by making the WHOIS-data more stable and the DNS independent of 
single registries.

I would say that if in the long term a larger number of new gTLDs exists, 
it cannot be sensible to assign them all to one registry; nor can it be 
economic to have a separate registry for every gTLD. I personally believe 
that registries should be shared so long as it is in a balanced manner, by 
some sort of bundling. If more than one registry exists, it will also be 
necessary to ensure global distribution. I believe however that before 
allowing bundling between a ccTLD and a gTLD, all implications would have 
to be carefully reconsidered.

I also believe that as long as the legal system of the country in which the 
registry is located does not seriously inhibit a non-profit from working 
efficiently (e.g. by prohibiting the creation of reserves), a registry 
should be non-profit.

And finally, to the process of selecting new gTLDs: if the number of new 
gTLDs is limited, there would be no way around letting ICANN make the 
decision of which to create. If the second best solution of many new gTLDs 
is chosen, ICANN would only have to keep an eye on the fact that no names 
are chosen which infringe the rights of third parties. Finally, if 
unlimited gTLDs are created, one could think about creating them on demand, 
i.e. letting the market decide.

Michael Schneider, NC

  | Michael Schneider      CEO, AboveNet Deutschland GmbH            |
  |                        CEO, World Switch GmbH                    |
  |                         MD, Schneider & Schollmeyer Law Firm     |
  |                   Director, European ISP Association (EuroISPA)  |
  |                     Member, Names Council of ICANN               |
  | Eschborner Landstrasse 112, D-60489 Frankfurt am Main            |
  | Phone: +49 69 975 44 0      Michael.Schneider@abovenet.de        |