Governments object to generic string new gTLDs

ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) has released a list of proposed new Internet suffixes with which individual governments have issue.

Dubbed "GAC Early Warnings", this mechanism is a way for GAC member countries to warn applicants under the new gTLD program that their requested string may be problematic.

Receiving an Early Warning is not a death sentence for an applicant. ICANN will leave up to applicants themselves to decide what to do about this and whether to persevere undeterred or, instead, try to amend their application to placate the country or countries that have issue with it.

Another mechanism, called GAC Advice, will allow the committee as a whole to ask the ICANN Board not to approve an application. This will come later.

Australia leads

Initial analysis of the list of GAC Early Warnings released yesterday shows that Australia has the most objections, by far, and also that governments in general are not comfortable with generic strings, which they appear to perceive as attempts unwarranted land grab attempts by commercial entities.

According to ARI, governments submitted more than 240 Early Warning referencing 200 applications covering 162 strings. Most prolific were the Australians who submitted an incredible 129 warnings, followed by Germany (20) and France (19). Amongst applicants, Amazon who has applied for 76 new gTLDs received 27 warnings and Google (98 TLDs applied for) only received 6.

Detailed instructions

Each Early Warning comes with downloadable supporting documentation. This includes a description and rationale for the warning being issued, possible steps an applicant might take to address the worries being expressed by the government issuing the warning, how the applicant should respond and to whom, and information on what an applicant should do if he wishes to withdraw as a result of the warning and claim a USD 148,000 refund on the USD 185,000 application fee.

Written on 21  November 2012 by Stéphane Van Gelder, Registry Relations and Strategy Director for NetNames.