Discover the World News Forecast . . . FIRST in Foresight Journalism

PRAGUE 24-29 Jun 2012 ICANN stakeholders meet with recent gTLD drama on agenda

The stakeholders meeting of the California-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is likely t

June 24, 2012 - NULL

PRAGUE 24-29 Jun 2012 ICANN stakeholders meet with recent gTLD drama on agenda

The stakeholders meeting of the California-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is likely to be a testy post mortem of a problem that has spoiled the launch of generic top-level domains, or gTLDs. These allow brand, location or specialty web suffixes, such as ".google," ".london," and ".music." A flaw in the application registration software gave some bidders for domains the ability to see rival bids. The gTLDs were already mired in controversy, so meeting could also be looking for a "plan B

PRAGUE 24-29 Jun 2012 ICANN stakeholders meet with recent gTLD drama on agenda

The stakeholders meeting of the California-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is likely to be a testy post mortem of a problem that has spoiled the launch of generic top-level domains, or gTLDs. These allow brand, location or specialty web suffixes, such as ".google," ".london," and ".music." A flaw in the application registration software gave some bidders for domains the ability to see rival bids. The gTLDs were already mired in controversy, so meeting could also be looking for a "plan B."

The BBC and the Guardian newspaper are among the many news organizations that have reported on the glitch that allows a limited number of users to view some other users' file names and user names in some circumstances. Being able first to see rival bids, which are meant to be confidential, could give applicants clues about how to word their own bids to beat competitors.

One level of controversy surrounds the gTLD system. Critics say it was hasty and ill-conceived, and the application registration flaw gives them ammunition. Another criticism is the cost: applications must include an evaluation fee of US 185,000 and rival bidding could bump costs of winning the desired domain into millions of dollars. And successful applicants face US $25,000 in costs per year to maintain the gTLDs. Disputes could mean high costs for court cases. Nonetheless, Canon and Google are among the companies that have signed up, according to several reports.

In November, 87 business associations and companies sent a petition to the US Department of Commerce complaining that the program entailed "excessive cost and harm to brand owners." The signatories included the tech giants Adobe, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Samsung.

The dispute could cost ICANN its contract, from the United States Department of Commerce, to manage the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which underpins the Internet naming and numbering system. (WRITTEN APR 2012)

RELATED READING:

Icann's internet suffix application deadline looms (BBC 12 Apr 2012)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17681707

Icann admits gTLD software flaw may have revealed rival bid details (Guardian 13 Apr 2012)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/13/icann-software-flaw-applications?newsfeed=true

Date written/update: 2012-06-24