When it comes to applying for a Geographic (GEO) New gTLD, The Second draft of ICANN’s Guidebook makes it pretty clear that you better either do it with the underlying jurisdiction or their blessing in writing.
We all know that the government of cities of New York (.nyc), Paris (.Paris) and Berlin (.Berlin) were at the forefront of pushing from the new gTLD’s to be apporved as they already have plans for launch of these extension and are counting on the funds they will generate to help fill the coffers of the respective cities.
But lets say my good friend Elliot SIlver who owns Burbank.com or the Castello brothers, frequent contributors to this blog, that own PalmSprings.com, wanted to get their own new gTLD extension for the same area their .com covers.
That’s going to be a no-go unless they either partner up with the respective jurisdiction or get a waiver of interest from the jurisdiction saying that they don’t want the extension and don’t mind if someone else takes it (good luck).
Simply put, ICANN has set up separate rules for Geo TLD extensions.
According to the Gude book:
“”ICANN will review all gTLD applications to make sure the interests of governments or public authorities in Country or Territory names, as well as other types of place names.””
This means that if you apply for any new gTLD, ICANN will summit each application to a specal committe which will determine if the proposed extension might be considered a Geo domain even if you didn’t intend it to be so.
For example maybe you wanted a .mia extension for family for solider missing in action to use.
That would probably we found to be a Geo extension and fall within these special rules in the review committee.
This committee in that case would kick the application back to you and tell you its a Geo domain extension in their opinion, and require you to get permission from the city of Miami to give up their rights to the extension and support your use.
“””The following types of applications are considered geographical names and must be accompanied by
documentation of support or non-objection from the relevant government(s) or public authority(ies):
“”An application for any string that is a meaningful representation of a country or territory. A
meaningful representation includes a representation of the country or territory name in any language.””
“”A string is deemed a meaningful representation of a country or territory name if it is:
The name of the country or territory; or
Part of the name of the country or territory denoting the country or territory; or
A short-form designation for the name of the country or territory that is recognizable and
denotes the country or territory.
An application for any string that is an exact match of a sub-national place name, such as a county,
province, or state.
An application for any string that is a representation, in any language, of the capital city
name of any country or territory;
An application for a city name, where the applicant declares that it intends to use the gTLD
for purposes associated with the city name.
An application for a string which represents a continent or UN region appearing on the “Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings”
In the case of an application for a string which represents a continent or UN region, documentation of support, or non-objection, will be required from a substantial number of the relevant governments and/or public authorities associated with the continent or the UN region.
An applied-for gTLD string that falls into any the above categories is considered to represent a geographical name (GEO).
In the event of any doubt, it is in the applicant’s interest to consult with relevant governments and public authorities and enlist their support or non-objection prior to submission of the application, in order to preclude possible objections and pre-address any ambiguities concerning the string and applicable requirements.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to:
1. identify whether its applied-for gTLD string falls into any of the above categories; and
2. determine the relevant government(s) or public authority(ies); and
3. identify which level of government support is required.
The requirement to include documentation of support for certain applications does not preclude or exempt
applications from being the subject of objections on community grounds, under which applications may be rejected based on objections showing substantial opposition from the targeted community.
The documentation of support or non-objection from the relevant government or public authority should include a signed letter of support or non-objection from the minister with the portfolio responsible for domain name administration, ICT, foreign affairs or the Office of the Prime Minister or President of the relevant jurisdiction.
The letter must clearly express the government’s or public authority’s support or non-objection for the applicant’s application and demonstrate the government’s or public authority’s understanding of the string being requested and intended use.
ICANN is basically putting all Geo domains, now and forever, in the hands of government. In the US, don’t we have that already? Its called the .gov extension, and it is only avaliable by use of the federal government.
However this proposal is far more reaching as it applies not just to every state and city in the US, but every country city around the world, every City, County, Provence, or Region.
Why has ICANN given all of the possible new Geo gTLD’s and placed them in the sole control of the respective jurisdictions?
Sure I understand and would agree with giving a jurisdiction preference in competing Geo applications.
But to give such jurisdictions absolute control over possible Geo extension seems inherently unfair.
If a jurisdiction wants to apply for its own gTLD, god bless, but if they don’t have the interest to do so, why give them veto power over private industry from doing so?
Next problem included in the defination of a GEO domain is,”geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings.”
What does this mean? “selected economic and other groupings”.
I don’t know.
ICANN may not even know, since among the hundreds of pages the make up the guide book and attachments thereto, I cannot find a discussion, or even an example of what this might mean or include.
Would an extension like .wallsteet, that someone might want to create for the financial community fall within this section?
I certainly could make the argument that .wallstreet is a “select economic grouping” having a Geo component.
How about the “wine country” or the region in France which produces champagne?
What if you wanted to set up .champagne for that industry. Is champagne a “select economic grouping”, as it often is referred to that region of France where French, but not all champagne is produced? (yes I also know its a city in Illinois, that another problem discussed below).
Would you need the permission of the region to do such and extension, and if so, it appears you would have to get the permission of the majority of the jurisdictions that comprise the “champagne country” as it is called, an high improbable task
The possibilities of what might fall within “”select economic grouping” are endless.
All you can do at this point if the final rules stay as they are, is pony up your $185k and find out.
Don’t worry because if you application is denied as being a Geo, whether intended or not, during after the initial review it looks like you will get $65K back, so it will only cost you $120K to find out.
Enough of that, lets looks at another problem.
Yes all Simpsons lovers will know immediately that there are many cities named Springfield. If you will recall during release of the Simpsons movie a contest was held to determine which Springfield would be named as the “real” Springfield for the movie.
What if multiple cities with the same name apply for their cities gTLD?
It appears they get to go through the same process as all other applicants do.
Come to an agreement, which is impossible to go in any logical manner when it comes to a Geo extension or go through the auction process discussed yesterday in our post.
So the good citizens of these cities would have to pony up their tax money, and give it to ICANN to be the high bidder in an auction against other cities and their taxpayers. Once again, let’s be reminded that in the auction format, that you can only bid as much as you have deposited with ICANN. So each city would have to go to the taxpayers and cough up hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of dollars just to place them into ICANN account so they could bid for their extension.
Sounds good, especially in these economic times when many city and state governments are broke.
I can hear it the city hall meeting now. Good citizens we have to raise your property tax 1% so we can raise money to have bidding capital in applying for our domain extension.
All of these problems and issues are additional reasons why this second draft are woefully deficient.
I know the response from ICANN already.
If you have questions fill out the 30 word limit question form and ask.
Comment on the draft. (even though they disregarded 99% of the comments objecting to the lifting of price caps received on the first draft)
But why should we have to do ICANN work?
Are we going to get some of the tens of millions funds, or maybe hundreds of millions ICANN will receive for helping them put together a proper, well thought out, fair and logical document?
It’s ICANN’s job to get it right.
They have not.