Sep 272017
 
chalaby

The ICANN Board has a crucial decision to make this year : finding a suitable replacement for Steve Crocker. One of the “fathers of the Internet”, Crocker has chaired the ICANN Board for the last 6 years. He is term limited and can no longer serve in this position.

So at the ICANN annual general assembly (AGM) due to be held in Abu Dhabi starting October 28, the Board will be selecting a new Chair. In a drive towards greater transparency in its decision-making processes, the Board has already announced who the new Chair will be.

Current Vice Chair Cherine Chalaby will replace Steve Crocker, with former AuDA* CEO Chris Disspain replacing Chalaby as Vice Chair.

Crocker has served on the ICANN Board since 2008. Chalaby joined the Board in December 2010 and has 2 years left to run before his term ends at the 2019 ICANN AGM. He was selected to the Board by ICANN’s Nominating Committee, an independent body tasked with recruiting to half the ICANN Board and other key ICANN community groups.

*AuDA runs Australia’s Internet suffix .AU.

Sep 012017
 
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ICANN Global Domains Division President Akram Attalah made the claim, citing his organisation’s FY18 budget, in a August 29, 2017 letter drafted in response to a proposal made by registries to reimburse some of the ICANN fees they have incurred for the right to operate new gTLDs.

The proposal, sent to ICANN in March of this year, was entitled “Registry Stakeholder Group proposal to offset new gTLD operator registry fees”. It asserted that revenue from the 2012 new gTLD round application fees would exceed ICANN’s predictions by over $96 million!

“The RySG recognizes ICANN’s reluctance to settle accounts before the smoke clears from the 2012 round and all the gTLDs are delegated and yet, ICANN is sitting on nearly $100M in applicant money that could enhance competition and consumer choice,” the RySG letter said.

In his reply, Attalah reminds registries that the 2012 round is still ongoing and that costs are therefore still to be expected.

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Jul 172017
 
China

Registries wanting to sell their wares to Chinese registrants are once again facing a tightening of the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT)’s regulations.

A few days ago, on July 6, the Ministry published a notice excluding registries that do not hold a license from MIIT from operating in China. The notice warns that from August, MIIT will ramp up its efforts to ensure that registries comply with the regulation through a new “enforcement initiative”.

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May 272017
 
sncf oui

In what can only be seen as a major coup for new gTLDs, the French national railway’s ecommerce website is set to ditch the .COM web address it’s used for the last 17 years in favour of its own Dot Brand.

French media are reporting that SNCF’s www.voyages-sncf.com will become www.oui.sncf in November 2017.

Oui (“yes” in French) is the base for the new branding the French railway company is to launch across its high-speed rail services starting this July.

Voyages-sncf.com is the number one ecommerce website in France, with a total of 86 million tickets sold in 2016. At peak volume last year, an incredible 240,000 tickets were sold daily through the site. Predicted 2020 revenue stands at 5 Billion euros!

May 092017
 
tonkin-profile_400x400

auDA, the Australian regulator of the country’s Internet suffix .AU, has appointed Bruce Tonkin to lead its “registry transformation” project.

Tonkin has just ended a 9-year stint on the ICANN Board. He was also previously Chief Strategy Officer for the Australian registrar Melbourne IT.

Before initiating its registry transformation project, auDA had been in exclusive negotiations with current back-end registry services AusRegistry to continue operating the .AU registry beyond its current contract term.

Those negotiations were ended by auDA on April 24, 2017. A tender process will now be conducted to allow auDA to build and operate its own dedicated .AU registry.

Apr 202017
 
GDD

ICANN’s Global Domains Division (GDD) has started organising summits to enable domain industry members who have contracts with ICANN (registries and registrars) to discuss business issues away from the traditional policy-focussed ICANN meetings.

The 2016 summit was held in Amsterdam and drew in over 400 participants (from 49 countries). Much lower than the typical attendance at an ICANN meeting, which can run to over 3,000 people, but not surprising given the narrow focus of these GDD Summits.

The idea is to concentrate on business discussions. How domains are bought and sold, how contracted parties interact with ICANN and its staff, what new trends are emerging for the industry, what major issues the industry is facing…

The next summit is happening from May 9 to 11 in the Spanish capital of Madrid. Over 350 attendees have already registered. 6 ICANN Board members are also planning to attend, plus the ICANN CEO Göran Marby, and a preliminary agenda has now been published.

Apr 192017
 
DotA

So DotAfrica is finally about to launch. Years of being embroiled in legal disputes would make anyone impatient to start earning revenue. But sending out marketing emails based on the argument that people should register their trademarks before someone else does? Really?

For a registry, this seems so 2012. Surely now that new gTLDs are with us, registrants are looking for value in specific strings rather than trying to register in every single one for protection? A task that not only seems Herculean and mega expensive, but also slightly passé thanks to the new mechanisms like the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) and the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) which came with the new gTLD program.

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Feb 222017
 
New gTLDs

Let’s be clear: right now, any statements on when (or even if) a follow-up round of new gTLD applications might happen are pure conjecture.

The first round closed on April 12, 2012. Since then, the pressure has been increasing for ICANN to actually live up to the guidebook premise of launching “subsequent gTLD application rounds as quickly as possible” with ” the next application round to begin within one year of the close of the application submission period for the initial round.”

But that deadline is clearly not going to be met.

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ICANN no longer expects to complete reviewing the first round – a prerequisite for initiating a follow-up – before some time around 2020. Work has begun on imagining what a second round might look like, but that also seems a long way away from completion.

Reviews and classes

So to try and get a second round out of the gate, imaginations have been working overtime. What if only certain categories of applicants, say cities and brands, were allowed in? The logic being that by restricting applicant types, evaluating them would be easier. And not all the reviews, for all the TLD types applied for in 2012, would need to be completed before any new calls for applications go out.

For cities and geographic terms (dubbed “Geo TLDs”), where the applicant needs to show support from the local government or authorities, the initial gating process could be somewhat easier.

As for brands, there were many non-believers in 2012. Then Amazon, Axa, Barclays, BMW, Canon, Google and many others were revealed as applicants. And now those that didn’t then, certainly want to now. They are lobbying hard to get their shot as quickly as possible.

So when could that be? Those who understand ICANN know the organisation is notoriously slow at getting anything done… unless you do one of a couple of things. Get governments to push, or add symbolism to the mix. ICANN insiders who would see a second round asap are trying door number 2, by suggesting that launching a subsequent application window exactly 7 years after the first, i.e. on January 12, 2019, would satisfy the program’s initial intent for a (relatively) quick follow-up to round 1 whilst being a nice nod to history at the same time.

In the weird alternative logic universe of ICANN, that actually makes sense! Doesn’t make it any more likely to actually happen though…

Dec 172016
 
2017

Interested in being involved in Internet Governance? Willing to serve as a volunteer in one of ICANN’s leadership positions?

ICANN oversees the Internet’s domain name and IP address functions and every year, its Nominating Committee selects people for the ICANN Board, the GNSO and ccNSO Councils and the At-Large Advisory Committee.

Want to know more? The 2017 NomCom website is now live. You’ll find information on what the Nominating Committee does, how it does it (including regular report cards on the committee’s work), and how to apply.

Delivering the 2016 NomCom's final report at the Hyderabad ICANN Annual General Meeting

Delivering the 2016 NomCom’s final report at the Hyderabad ICANN Annual General Meeting

Dec 042016
 
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This week, on December 8 and 9, the DNS Entrepreneurship Center (DNS-EC) is travelling to Cotonou, the largest city in the African country of Benin.

Set up following a memorandum of agreement signed between Egypt’s National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority and ICANN in 2014, the DNS-EC strives to develop expertise on the Domain Name System in Africa and the Middle East.

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