Singular and plural versions of the same string continue to be a possible thorn in ICANN’s new gTLD program’s side. Today, at the London ICANN meeting, governments used the HOTEL/HOTELS example to reiterate their position against allowing these potential clashes to happen.
Previous governmental advice to the ICANN Board has been that “allowing singular and plural versions of the same strings could lead to consumer harm” and that “permitting this practice risks confusing Internet users and making users more vulnerable to deceptive practices that exploit this confusion.”
Governments aren’t the only ones voicing concern. Businesses have pointed out possible inconsistencies in the way ICANN has considering that strings are confusingly similar or not.
Companies are also worried that allowing singular and plural versions of the same string will push their defensive domain registration costs up as they find themselves forced to secure both DOMAIN/EXAMPLE and DOMAIN/EXAMPLES.
So far, ICANN has remained steadfast in its belief that existing rules allowing singular/plural clashes do not require updating.
Only two pairs of possibly clashing TLDs are currently live on the Internet, CAREER/CAREERS and PHOTO/PHOTOS. But there are many more in the pipeline (see list below, kindly supplied to Milathan by ICANN Business Constituency Vice Chair for Policy Coordination Steve Del Bianco).
As these strings go live, the pressure on ICANN to act against allowing singular/plural string confusion can only be expected to increase. Especially as a forthcoming second new gTLD round could bring applications for singular or plural versions of strings approved in the current (first) round.
Strings likely to be delegated or already delegated:
ACCOUNTANT(s): .accountants delegated to Donuts; .accountant in contracting
AUTO(s): .autos delegated; 3 applications for .auto are in auction
CAREER(s): .career and .careers are both delegated. There were no string confusion objections
COUPON(s): Amazon proceeding with .coupon; 2 applicants in auction for .coupons
CRUISE(S): .cruises delegated to Donuts; 2 applications for .cruise in contention
DEAL(s): 2 applications for .deal in auction; 1 application for .deals remains
FAN(s): .fan in delegation test; .fans in contracting
GIFT(s): .gift delegated; .gifts in contracting
HOME(s): .homes has been delegated; 10 applications for .homes are on-hold
HOTEL(s): .hotel community applicant won CPE. .hotels and hoteis in contention set, pending Indep review challenge.
LOAN(s): .Loans was delegated to Donuts; .Loan is in contracting
MARKET(s): .market was delegated to Donuts; .market is in contracting
NEW(s): .new is in delegation; 7 applications for .news are in a contention set
PHOTO(s): .photo and .photos are both delegated
REVIEW(s): .reviews was delegated to Donuts; .review is in contracting
WEB(s): 2 for .webs are in a contention set; 7 for .web are in a contention set; 1 of the .web applications is in a contention set with the 2 .webs. Chaos.
WORK(s): .works was delegated to Donuts; .work is in transition to delegation
Strings currently pending:
CAR(s): 3 for .cars and 1 for .car are ON HOLD, pending consideration of proposed review mechanism to address perceived inconsistent expert determination on string confusion objections
GAME(s): 5 applications for .game and 1 for .games are in contention set.
KID(s): .kid and 2 applications for .kids are in the same contention set
PET(s): .pets is in contention set with 2 applications for .pet
TOUR(s): .tour and .tours are in same contention set; auction scheduled 19-Nov
SPORT(s): 2 for .sport and 1 for .sports are ON HOLD, pending consideration of proposed review mechanism to address perceived inconsistent expert determination on string confusion objections