GAC’s advice to the ICANN Board derails the whole new gTLD program

The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) met in Beijing during the week of 4 April 2013. Sixty one (61) GAC Members participated in the meetings and eight (8) Observers. The GAC has an objection or comment on almost all new gTLD applications except for the brand gTLDs and the geographic gTLDs that have support from their respective region. All these comments and objections will bring the new gTLD program to a halt if ICANN decides to act on these.

Also the GAC advises the ICANN Board that the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement should be finalized before any new gTLD contracts are approved. The GAC also strongly supports the amendment to the new gTLD registry agreement that would require new gTLD registry operators to use only those registrars that have signed the 2013 RAA.

I still fail to understand what is so special about International Olympic Committee and Red Cross /Red Crescent that special and separate provisions are required to protect their names and acronyms. The provisions for the Intergovernmental Organizations should suffice.

Here are some key issues affecting the new gTLD program:

GAC Objections to Specific new gTLD Applications

The GAC Advises the ICANN Board that:

i. The GAC has reached consensus on GAC Objection Advice according to Module 3.1 part I of the Applicant Guidebook on the following applications:
1. The application for .africa (Application number 1-­?1165-­?42560)
2. The application for .gcc (application number: 1-­?1936-­?2101)

ii. With regard to Module 3.1 part II of the Applicant Guidebook4:
The GAC recognizes that Religious terms are sensitive issues. Some GAC members have raised sensitivities on the applications that relate to Islamic terms, specifically .islam and .halal. The GAC members concerned have noted that the applications for .islam and .halal lack community involvement and support. It is the view of these GAC members that these applications should not proceed.

Strings for Further GAC Consideration

In addition to this safeguard advice, that GAC has identified certain gTLD strings where further GAC consideration may be warranted, including at the GAC meetings to be held in Durban. Consequently, the GAC advises the ICANN Board to: not proceed beyond Initial Evaluation with the following strings : .shenzhen (IDN in Chinese), .persiangulf, .guangzhou (IDN in Chinese), .amazon (and IDNs in Japanese and Chinese), .patagonia, .date, .spa, . yun, .thai, .zulu, .wine, .vin.

Singular and plural versions of the same string as a TLD

The GAC believes that singular and plural versions of the string as a TLD could lead to potential consumer confusion. Therefore the GAC advises the ICANN Board to reconsider its decision to allow singular and plural versions of the same strings.

Safeguards on New gTLDs

The GAC Advises the ICANN Board Strings that are linked to regulated or professional sectors should operate in a way that is consistent with applicable laws. These strings are likely to invoke a level of implied trust from consumers, and carry higher levels of risk associated with consumer harm.

In the current round the GAC has identified the following non-­exhaustive list of strings that the above safeguards should apply to:

• Children: .kid, .kids, .kinder, .game, .games, .juegos, .play, .school, .schule, .toys

• Environmental: .earth, .eco, .green, .bio, .organic

• Health and Fitness: .care, .diet, .fit, .fitness, .health, .healthcare, .heart, .hiv, .hospital,, .med, .medical, .organic, .pharmacy, .rehab, .surgery, .clinic, .healthy (IDN Chinese equivalent), .dental, .dentist .doctor, .dds, .physio

• Financial: capital, .cash, .cashbackbonus, .broker, .brokers, .claims, .exchange, .finance, .financial, .fianancialaid, .forex, .fund, .investments, .lease, .loan, .loans, .market, . markets, .money, .pay, .payu, .retirement, .save, .trading, .autoinsurance, .bank, .banque, .carinsurance, .credit, .creditcard, .creditunion,.insurance, .insure, ira, .lifeinsurance, .mortgage, .mutualfunds, .mutuelle, .netbank, .reit, .tax, .travelersinsurance, .vermogensberater, .vermogensberatung and .vesicherung.

• Gambling: o .bet, .bingo, .lotto, .poker, and .spreadbetting, .casino • Charity: o .care, .gives, .giving, .charity (and IDN Chinese equivalent)

• Education: degree, .mba, .university

• Intellectual Property: .audio, .book (and IDN equivalent), .broadway, .film, .game, .games, .juegos, .movie, .music, .software, .song, .tunes, .fashion (and IDN equivalent), .video, .app, .art, .author, .band, .beats, .cloud (and IDN equivalent), .data, .design, .digital, .download, .entertainment, .fan, .fans, .free, .gratis, .discount, .sale, .hiphop, .media, .news, .online, .pictures, .radio, .rip, .show, .theater, .theatre, .tour, .tours, .tvs, .video, .zip

• Professional Services: .abogado, .accountant, .accountants, .architect, .associates, .attorney, .broker, .brokers, .cpa, .doctor, .dentist, .dds, .engineer, .lawyer, .legal, .realtor, .realty, .vet

• Corporate Identifiers: .corp, .gmbh, .inc, .limited, .llc, .llp, .ltda, .ltd, .sarl, .srl, .sal

• Generic Geographic Terms: .town, .city, .capital,

• .reise, .reisen5

• .weather

• .engineering

• .law

• Inherently Governmental Functions: .army, .navy, .airforce

• In addition, applicants for the following strings should develop clear policies and processes to minimise the risk of cyber bullying/harassment o .fail, .gripe, .sucks, .wtf

Exclusive Access

For strings representing generic terms, exclusive registry access should serve a public interest goal.

• In the current round, the GAC has identified the following non-­exhaustive list of strings that it considers to be generic terms, where the applicant is currently proposing to provide exclusive registry access:

.antivirus, .app, .autoinsurance, .baby, .beauty, .blog, .book, .broker, .carinsurance, .cars, .cloud, .courses, .cpa, .cruise, .data, .dvr, .financialaid, .flowers, .food, .game, .grocery, .hair, .hotel, .hotels .insurance, .jewelry, .mail, .makeup, .map, .mobile, .motorcycles, .movie, .music, .news, .phone, .salon, .search, .shop, .show, .skin, .song, .store, .tennis, .theater, .theatre, .tires, .tunes, .video, .watches, .weather, .yachts, .???? [cloud], .??? [store], .??? [sale], .?????? [fashion], .?? [consumer electronics], .?? [watches], .?? [book], .?? [jewelry], .?? [online shopping], .?? [food]


About Konstantinos Zournas

I studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and I am now living in Athens, Greece. I went online in 1995, started coding in 1996 and began buying domain names and creating websites in 2000. I started the blog in 2012.

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