The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) issued its traditional communiqué at the conclusion of ICANN’s public meeting in Durban, but the most sought-after information was absent.
The GAC has not published a definitive list of strings it plans to review for additional safeguards – because the strings may be sensitive, relate to consumer protection, or involve regulated industries – so the list remains non-exhaustive.
The GAC also did not produce definitive recommendations on whether applicants for closed generic extensions such as .BOOK or .SHOP may operate them exclusively or must allow the public to register second-level domains within them.
Without greater clarification on these two points, many applications cannot move forward and will not progress through the evaluation or contracting process.
Other tidbits from the GAC’s Durban Communiqué:
- The signs have been pointing to this all week, but the GAC formally announced that it would advise the ICANN Board to reject the applications for .AMAZON (and its translated equivalents) and .THAI based on potential conflicts with their geographic significance
- The applications for .DATE and .PERSIANGULF, originally flagged as potentially problematic, will now proceed without objections from the GAC. The GAC could not reach a consensus on objecting to .PERSIANGULF (Iran originally raised its concerns about the string) and the Japanese government, which originally objected to .DATE, reached an agreement with the applicant and rescinded its objection
- The GAC has noted concerns expressed by its new representative from the government of India over the strings .INDIANS and .RAM, so we can expect to see more about these strings in future communications from the GAC
Clearly the GAC is holding on to its right to comment on all aspects of new gTLDs and the New gTLD Program. In fact, the gTLD applicants who have already signed contracts with ICANN for their new gTLDs have also agreed to sign a supplemental document allowing ICANN to unilaterally change provisions of the contract to implement current or perhaps future GAC Advice.