The Government Advisory Council (GAC) has an open meeting with the ICANN Board late yesterday afternoon in Beijing and shared some of its concerns with the Board.
The GAC is quite concerned about plural and singular generic new gTLD’s and that they weren’t placed into contention sets using .car and .cars as an example.
This is the same criticism that TheDomains.com had when the contention set committee released it results.
The GAC seems to share our belief that having generics with plural and singular domains is going to be quite confusing.
(we also think its going to make it very difficult from a business perspective for both to be successful registries but that is outside of the GAC)
The member from Australia raised the concern:
We have a question relating to singular and plural forms of essentially the same word as a top-level domain.
“so we’ve heard some preliminary discussions about the results of the string contention sets where it appears that plural forms of words are not considered to be in contention with the singular so car and cars and so on and whilst I don’t have any great detailed knowledge about the exact tests or criteria which we use for string confusion or string contention reason, it appears to us that there is potential for there to be consumer confusion between strings of this type.”
“we have had — heard some discussions in the community that others seem to share this interest. and simply to start the discussion with a question to the board about whether the board shares this interest, potential concern and whether any thought has gone into it at this stage.”
ICANN Representative cherine chalaby: thank you for bringing this point. as you know, the independent panel looked at these strings and decided that there was no contention, per se. now the question is where does this go from here?
i think as far as the Board is concerned, we’re not going to seconds guess the independent panel.
The ball is now in your court whether the GAC wishes to give advice on this issue. but we, as far as i know, we have no intention of going against the independent panel’s advice, decisions, sorry.”
Chris Disspain of ICANN: The panel was looking at visual similarity.
So the very thing you think could be a problem — you’re of course entitled to draw your own conclusions but the they thing that you think might be a problem is what the panel looked at and decided that they did not believe that those names were — that there was visual confusion. that’s the advice that — that’s why they’re not in the contention set because they looked at them. okay?
So the issue hasn’t been resolved.
The GAC did call out the application for .IDN which the GAC believe should have been rejected on its face and the application formerly known as Dot Dot Africa which members of the African Union say should be disqualified because it lacks support of 60% of the countries, the GAC made no other direct attacks against any particular applications.
We will have to wait into the week until the GAC gives some more concrete information and advice but my take away of the first open GAC meeting with the Board is that the plural/singular issues is going to be a big one.