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.
Good, both singular and plural is a bad idea. Should’ve been in contention.
Unsure if there will be much definitive info from the GAC in Beijing.
This is already enough of a headache with normal .COM names that can be either singular or plural. (Like TheDomain.com vs. TheDomains.com)
You own both of those, Michael, but while you got TheDomains.CO, you didn’t get TheDomain.CO? Looks like a cybersquatter got that one, and has it up for sale. UDRP time!
Michael Berkens says
On thedomain.co, Not worth the $1,500 for a UDRP
Jeff Schneider says
The GAC has many more structural questions than this, believe me. This Cheap Suit they call gTLDs is fast coming apart. As I have said this will go down in history as the biggest Marketing Disaster in History. Anybody trusting their online business model to this hoax are in for a very uncomfortable experience.
Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)
Dave Tyrer says
There’s also a similarity problem with the auto strings. So in two years, the following websites might actually all be live:
In the case of the hotel strings, it will also be confusing, especially after the launch of the new city strings. So in a couple of years we’ll see:
(Not to mention the .hoteis and .hoteles European variants)
We are going to be living in interesting times.
I can understand the error of allowing singular and plural if you are applying an “exact duplicate” test similar to that applied to distinguishing by single digits server addresses. However, the error is in not quite understanding that while server addresses are distinguished by computers (very discriminating), domain names must be differentiated by humans (prone to reading complete words even where ltters are dropped out, and even more prone to confusing where a single letter at the end of a word is the sole distinguishing element). Hopefully GAC, IETF, and others will lead to a rethink before the domains roll out.
And, Dave: I’m only disappointed you did not include Hotel.California.
Michael Berkens says
Its not a error as much as it is a policy to place string which are very similar into the same set so only one survives.
For me its difficult to see how .car and .cars can both be successful registries it almost certainly leaves the potential registrations split placing the long term success of either in doubt, same for the 20 or so other singular/plural new gTLD’s, not to mention all the other vertical competition some of these new gTLD’s are going to face.
Michael Berkens says
Oh and there is not application for a .California so Dave is excused
3D is my life says
Dave, take the dot out of your examples, place it on the end and append com. I’m sure all those are registered and probably parked. The same will happen with generic terms in the the new gtlds, whether plural singular or both. It’s about selling as many names as these registries can. They’ll serve very little purpose from a business perspective for the economy in general but reg fees will line the pockets of many. Who cares, we’re debating something that doesn’t really matter in the big picture.
Michael Berkens says
being a registry as I think I have been saying for maybe five years now is a completely different play, completely different business from being a domain registrant.
SO while car.com and cars.com can be highly succesful as businesses and sites, running a .car and .cars domain registry is a whole different ballgane.
They are looking for users to buy and use their domain extension as opposed to .com and all other existing TLD’s and ccTLD’s and all other new gTLD’s.
So you have to ask yourself what is the universe of the number of people who would want a .car or .cars URL to use as a site or email address then that amount of people will be split between .car, .cars, .auto and .autos, meaning in my opinion at least two, if not three or all four of these will get marginal registrations and struggle