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.

reviews-program-timeline-1200x900-07dec16-en

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
 
logo

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.

Continue reading »

Nov 122016
 
conf

On the face of it, the answer is a rather obvious and simple “yes”! The Internet obviously works across borders. Technically, it is a global network servicing its users wherever they may be on the planet.

But it is this very nature — the fact that the Internet is not bound to a specific country or territory — which has more and more people asking themselves whether it can really work across borders. By “work”, they don’t mean function, they mean fit into the layers of national laws and best practices that governed human interactions for years before the Internet came along.

Initiated in 2012 by former ICANN Board member Bertrand de la Chapelle, the Internet & Jurisdiction project strives to stimulate discussion and the development of operational solutions to help enhance transnational cooperation on matters of law, economy, human rights, and cybersecurity.

This article was first published on CircleID. Read the full article here.

Oct 012016
 
thank

“Today, after months of preparation and implementation of the community’s tasks, ICANN’s contract with NTIA expired. As a result, the coordination and management of the Internet’s unique identifiers is now privatized and in the hands of the volunteer-based multistakeholder community.”

These 2 sentences published today, October 1, 2016, by ICANN Board Chair Steve Crocker, have an air of history-in-the-making about them.

For the first time since it was created in 1998 to oversea the Internet’s naming (domain names and Top Level Domains) and addressing (IP addresses) functions, ICANN no longer has a direct contract with one government. The United States no longer have veto power over the way Top Level Domains such as .SKI (generic) or .EU (country code) are launched on the Internet.

Continue reading »

Jun 092016
 
Cruz S

In a move considered by many to be more political that commonsensical, failed Republican presidential nomination hopeful Ted Cruz yesterday introduced a bill which would, if enacted, allow the United States to keep technical control over the Internet, rather than transitioning it to a global oversight mechanism.

Dubbed the “IANA transition” after the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority Function, which is basically administering the Internet root, this move towards ending the unique oversight the US has enjoyed over the technical Internet since its inception was initiated by the Obama administration through the agency in charge of Internet matters, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

The Cruz bill is grandiosely named the “Protecting Internet Freedom Act“. A read of its very first paragraph seems to contradict this lofty goal by stating the Bill is designed “To prohibit the National Telecommunications and Information Administration from allowing the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions contract to lapse unless specifically authorized to do so by an Act of Congress.”

Undeterred, NTIA today announced it is approving the proposed transition mechanism. “The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) finds that the IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal developed by the global Internet multistakeholder community meets the criteria NTIA set in March 2014,” it says in what can be seen as a direct response to the Cruz bill.

This NTIA announcement sets the scene for the transition to be enacted. As Cruz and others race to stop the transition from happening, the rest of the world can only sit back and watch as internal US politics determine the future of Internet Governance.

Jun 072016
 
Orange Logo

An example of a new gTLD actually being used, and a brand TLD at that, with telecom heavyweight Orange’s activation of http://startup.orange as a showcase for the company’s innovation support services.

This is in addition to http://entrepreneurclub.orange and http://airbox.orange/, the former being rerouted to a complex equivalent .COM address whilst the latter is not currently in public use.

Continue reading »

May 102016
 
Middle East DNS Forum 2016

 

On May 4 and 5, 2016, the city of Tunis hosted the Middle East DNS Forum. Co-organised by ICANN and the Tunisian Internet Agency, the event was opened by Tunisian Minister for Communication Technologies and Digital Economy Nouman Fehri.

Over 120 participants then attended sessions on a wide variety of Digital Economy related topics including the domain industry, civil society’s participation in Internet policy development and the challenges of managing the local country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) .TN.

Audience at Middle East DNS Forum 2016

The forum was attended by people from over 10 countries in the Middle East and Africa. Severely under-represented in the current new gTLD space, entrepreneurs from these regions are eager to make the most of future Internet naming opportunities.

DNS Forum participants welcomed insights into the intricacies of setting up and running a new gTLD registry from companies such as StartingDot, operator of the .ARCHI, .BIO and .SKI. new gTLDs.

Panels at Middle East DNS Forum 2016

“Part of our mission is to help our industry grow by promoting it to potential new entrants,” said StartingDot. “And to explain why having naming options that are tailored to a person’s specific community or interest is crucial in the digital age. As an example, a .BIO domain name makes a great personal space website where users can present their online bios.”

Apr 242016
 

auc

Opening up the Internet root to hundreds of new Top Level Domains (TLDs), where before the choice in domain name suffixes (the label after the dot) was extremely limited, is ambitious indeed.

The goal is a lofty one: bringing greater context, more precision and more effective navigation to users dependent on Web addresses to find the content they want. But unless people know of the Internet’s TLD expansion, its chances of success are limited.

Increasing public awareness of these new suffixes (dubbed “new gTLDs”) is a constant challenge for the businesses involved in giving the world’s information superhighway signposts that are both more numerous and better indicators of the content they are pointing to.

Companies like StartingDot, operator of the .ARCHI, .BIO and .SKI new gTLDs. And Google. The search giant is very much a part of this attempt to bring users more choice at the Internet’s Top Level.

To help developers understand how they can best work with new gTLDs and test their applications for compatibility Google launched Domain Test as an open source project open to all new gTLD operators.

The service is also designed to allow testing of new country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) and internationalized domain names (IDNs), i.e. Internet suffixes written in non-Latin characters such as Arabic or Cyrillic. “These gTLDs have a series of characteristics, such as string length and the use of non-Latin scripts, that can cause bugs in software,” says Google. “Domain Test helps developers identify and fix these problems.”

Domain Test is freely available to use or modify, and is operated under the Apache 2 license, the service runs on AppEngine.

StartingDot has included all 3 of its TLDs in the Domain Test initiative. “Our TLDs look to serve specific communities,” the company explains. “Their operating rules and procedures were designed from the get-go to provide the architecture, snowsports and organic/biography communities with Internet labels that suit their needs. Joining the Domain Test initiative is just another step in the same direction for us. The more Web developers understand these TLDs, the more the aforementioned communities are likely to be able to benefit from them.”