ICANN Closed Registries Forum (5)
EDITED HIGHLIGHTS PART 5
Yahoo Asks ICANN to Remember its Commitment to Competition & Consumer Choice
"Specifically, we agree that top-level domains (TLDs) that consist solely of an industry generic term like .app, .cloud, .mobile, .insurance or .news should not be run as a closed registry. We believe that such TLDs must be open to all parties in order to achieve true competition and consumer choice.
"The very origins of ICANN are based on its commitment to the principle that '...market mechanisms that support competition and consumer choice should drive the management of the Internet because they will lower costs, promote innovation, encourage diversity, and enhance user choice and satisfaction.' (cited) In fact, ICANN specifically lists enhanced competition and consumer choice as two of the goals behind its plan to expand the domain names system. (cited) A 'closed generic' TLD supports neither of these tenets.
'Closed Generic' TLDs Will Harm Consumers
"The Internet thrives today because entrepreneurs have a very low barrier to entry and consumers have access to innovative products and services... In today's domain name system, Internet stakeholders... have the freedom to register in TLDs of their choice in order to reach consumers. Accordingly, consumers are accustomed to receiving a wide variety of choices from various sources when they are confronted with domain names all sharing the same TLD. Should ICANN allow 'closed generic' TLDs, that will no longer be the case.
'Closed Generic' TLDs are Anticompetitive
"We also share the concerns expressed by the government of Australia and Germany in their early warning notices that 'closed generic' TLDs will have a 'negative impact on competition.' (cited) ...By granting a single entity sole dominion over a TLD consisting wholly of a generic term, ICANN will place these entities in a position to gain an unprecedented and unfair advantage in direct navigation and online search... Such advantages harm competitors in the marketplace and hurt consumers by further limiting consumer choice.
"In closing, we ask ICANN to remember its fundamental commitment to manage the domain name system with 'market mechanisms that support competition and consumer choice' by requiring that all TLDs that consist solely of an industry generic be run as open TLDs."
Evans. Yahoo! Inc.
Mar 07: Yahoo! Inc. Comments to Closed Generics
Accor Warns That Travelers Will be Captive to One Single Online Travel Agency
(Accor is objecting to .hotel, .hotels, .hoteis (Portuguese) and .hoteles (Spanish) applications - Ed.)
"1. There is no question that the Internet has taken center stage as a hotel reservation method across the world. The use of travel agents and dial-in phone reservations continues to rapidly decline.
"Online booking is a critical tool for marketing hotels in a global market. According to several market studies:
"2. Some of the applicants for these generic terms have expressed the intent to reserve the name spaces for themselves... and to capture the exclusive use of these generic terms for their own business.
"Furthermore, certain applicants have chosen to apply for closed control of a generic term designating a particular industry while they are in fact already engaged in the conduct of business activities in that particular industry...
"3. Among the applicants seeking to obtain a monopoly on a generic term representing or closely linked to their own economic sector, the online travel agencies Booking.com B.V. and Despegar Online SRL applied for the generic terms HOTELS, HOTEL, HOTEIS... and HOTELES...
"They do not plan to allow the public or members of the hotel community to register domains using the extension.
"This would surely have serious anticompetitive consequences and limit consumer choice across the Internet:
(This will allow) "...Booking.com B.V. and/or Despegar Online SRL to choose which hotels will be offered a domain name under their TLDs and to dictate their commercial conditions to partners and hotel stakeholders.
"4. Under applicable trademark law... if Booking.com B.V. and/or Despegar Online SRL were to file a trademark for hotel they would have no chance to obtain registration in the end since it would be refused for lack of distinctiveness.
"The same rules should apply to the new TLDs: closed generic TLDs should not be delegated to an entity operating in the market described or related by these terms.
"5. In connection with the operation of the registry for the TLD, the Registry Operator must not register domain names in its own name. As an exception, closed applications for generic TLDs can be filed pursuant to the Registry Operator Code of Conduct... which provides that Registry Operator may request an exemption ... if... all domain name registrations in the TLD are registered to, and maintained by, Registry Operator for its own exclusive use... and... application... is not necessary to protect the public interest.
"Therefore, unfortunately, any applicant who wishes to operate a closed generic TLD can file an exception request to operate the TLD for its own purpose. Such exemptions may be granted by ICANN at ICANN's reasonable discretion. In particular, the Registry Operator must prove that there is no infringement or at lease no risk with regard to the public interest.
"...Could an application seeking exclusive access to a common generic string that relates to a market sector be deemed consistent with the protection of public interest?"
Dreyfus. For Accor
(Accor has more than 3,500 hotels and 160,000 employees. Accor brands include Sofitel, Pullman, Mercure, Novotel and Ibis - Ed.)
Mar 07: Accor Comment on Closed Generic TLDs
Allianz: Barrier to Entry for Entrepreneurs with Innovative Concepts
"We are writing you to express our concern about the closed generic Top-Level Domains application for all industries and even more for the insurance & financial industry which is a highly regulated business sector in order to protect the consumers.
"Such a rule would indeed enable particular entities to pre-empt a common interest category with a clear risk of confusion in the customer's mind, a negative impact on competition and customers' protection. Concrete applications such as .autoinsurance, .carinsurance, .insurance, .insure... would be very confusing with the risk amongst others that people consider the proposed guarantees as being recommended by the industry... Therefore our association GdV and other insurance associations intend to file community objections.
"Openness and freedom of the internet would also be really endangered and we believe that internet users could be hurt worldwide...
"The diversity of proposed offers could dramatically shrink making more difficult for the different segments of customers to find what fits to their specific needs in terms of products, coverage, service, pricing, mix of distribution networks, advice... On top it would also raise the barrier to entry to entrepreneurs with innovative concepts."
Leclercq/Michel Krauch. Allianz Group
Mar 07: applications of generic internet domain names
Global Publishers Group Established in 1896 Requests Fair and Equal Access to .book
"I am writing to you on behalf of IPA to express the opposition of the global publishing industry to closed generic gTLD applications. We have a particular concern, should the closed generic gTLD application for the TLD '.book', that was submitted to ICANN by Amazon EU S.a r.l., be successful.
"We do not believe that an individual for-profit company should be able to obtain the right to control all uses of the '.book' ending without any clear guidance that ensures fair and equal access.
"The ending .book is not just a generic descriptor. It has a connotation of quality, authority, scholarship, authenticity. Potential registrants include authors, agents, book shops, fan sites or other publishers or book platforms. For many users it may also indicate an original ownership of, or interest in, relevant publishing rights. This means that there is a particular significance in the ownership of a .book domain name.
"It is in the public interest that the domain name .book therefore remains outside of the control of an organization that has an interest in competing with or exerting economic pressure in a contractual commercial relationship on persons who would like to register such a domain name. Such registrants have a recognised ulterior interest in obtaining and managing such domain names without the constraints of a particular commercial partner.
"A company that clearly puts its own commercial goals ahead of the interests of the authors and publishers of relevant books, should not be given the right to administer a 'closed generic' gTLD application."
International Publishers Association (IPA)
(The IPA is an international industry federation of national publishers associations established in 1896. IPA's mission is to promote, protect and raise awareness of publishing as a force for economic, cultural & political development. With a human rights mandate, IPA actively fights against censorship and promotes copyright, literacy and freedom to publish - Ed.)
Mar 08: IPA Comments on closed Generic TLDs
As With Trademarks .cloud Should Be Unrestricted
"We believe that the term 'cloud' in the context of cloud computing is:
"1. A highly generic phrase that is referred to by the industry as a whole and is not under restriction or ownership by any organisations, but has become in essence an industry classification...
"5. Free from a Trademark in its pure form meaning that it is not deemed appropriate as a phrase to trademark. The reasons why cloud could not be trademarked are sensible to compare to why .cloud should not be restricted to a single entity...
"As such, with the market still nascent and evolving and with a level of confusion as to what cloud means it would be counter-productive to restrict the use of .cloud to one organisation... We are supportive of the implementation of an open registry for .cloud and any related action that would enable the use of .cloud domains by any credible cloud service provider."
Cloud Industry Forum
Mar 04: Objection to applications for a closed registry in the identity of .CLOUD
Detrimental To The Industry
"The Booksellers Association of the UK & Ireland strongly opposes any applications for a "closed generic" gTLD, especially if submitted by commercial entities operating in a sector of activity related to the closed generic gTLD.
"In the case of a closed generic gTLD .book, the exclusivity granted to the winning applicant would de facto strengthen the position of the biggest bidder to have sole use of the gTLD in the book industry and would therefore be anti-competitive, discourage innovation and new entrants and be detrimental to the industry as a whole.
"We are therefore asking ICANN not to offer for sale a generic gTLD for .book and other similar words in general usage."
Davies, The Booksellers Association of The UK & Ireland
(The Association represents 3,580 retail book outlets - Ed.)
Feb 27: Closed Generic gTLDs
Proposal Not Adequately Presented To Business & Consumers
"UKITA (UK IT Association) strongly opposes applications for Closed Generic gTLDs and most specifically for the .cloud gTLD.
Corbett. UK IT Association
(The UKITA represents tens of thousands of small, micro and medium-sized IT and digital businesses - Ed.)
Mar 06: Objection to generic closed registry applications for .cloud
Support the Interests of All Who Might Benefit from a Generic Domain
"...We note the application by Symantec to control the .security TLD as a closed domain. We are opposed to anyone operating this domain as closed, because it is not in the best interests of the security industry. Symantec, a vendor of information systems security, simply does not represent security in a broad sense. They do not provide security services such as intrusion alarms, CCTV, access control, security guards, or many other aspects which could reasonably be considered part of a .security TLD.
"...This should be the case whether the proposed domain is '.security', '.computer', '.sale', '.home' or any other generic name. All of these, if allowed to be registered, must be registered as open domains.
"We firmly believe that any company that wishes to operate a generic TLD should support the interests of all who might benefit from that domain. Closed TLDs support only the interests of the company that registers them, and should be rejected when not also in the public interest."
Fitch Surveillance Systems Inc.
Mar 13: gTLD registration comments and objections
Go to Forum 6
SuperMonopolies.com A hypothetical analysis of the new top level domain names coming in 2013-14.
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