April 9th, 2004

10 new sponsored TLDs


ICANN is seeking comments about the 10 new sponsored TLDs (via Paul Hoffman). Let me give my five cent worth:

First, the evaluation of sponsored TLDs should be based on the appropriateness of sponsors1. Whether it is ‘useful’ or ‘useless’ to the Internet shouldn’t be a factor since one’s rubbish is another gem. This is one of the things I learnt working for an open-minded regulator, that one should not think they are smart enough to pick market winners.

Of course, the proposed TLD should not cause “harm” to the Internet. Any TLDs which fails this test should not be allowed to proceed. But it is easy to confuse “harmful” with “useless” so we must be careful.

1. .asia — ah, my fav, one that made me some enemies2 because of my vocal opposition. The problem with this proposal is that it fails the “appropriateness of sponsors” test. The word ASIA is as significant as EU and it is unimagable that some NGOs, NPOs and commerical entities3 are sufficient to be the “sponsor” for .ASIA. This isn’t the same as .EU where it has EC behind it. There is no government representation and neither has this been discussed at any government-to-government meetings like APEC TEL or APT or AP MinTel etc. With the recent development at WSIS, I don’t think ICANN should setup a timebomb for itself. Recommendation: request more governmental support for this TLD.2. .cat — A really strange proposal. Sponsored by the Catalan linguistic and culture community, it gave an impression that someone is try to get an TLD for their cats. Nevertheless, it has a relevance sponsor and I could find no technical problem with the proposal. Recmmendation: approve but consider giving their 2nd (.ctl) or 3rd choice of sTLD (.catal

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