[Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5] Motion to include a notion of “Elimination of the 'non-geo use provision' for sizeable cities” in the report

Alexander Schubert alexander at schubert.berlin
Wed Sep 5 08:00:20 UTC 2018

As we both are quite vocal on this topic I try to be short:


*         First Come First Serve is the declared goal. Some want it already smack after the next round. Once that happens: there won’t be contention resolve mechanisms anymore – by definition!

*         The requirement to authenticate registrants: Yes! I agree with you – it’s a good thing! But in the realm of community priority applications you are forced to define the community very narrow – and then ONLY that narrowly defined group of entities  is eligible to  register domains! Imagine a brand selling stuff in the city – but has no presence there! They would not be eligible to register their brand.city domain. Unless you define the community quite broad – and my personal experience teaches me: DON’T!  It might cost you your CPE. 

*         The bad actor: They might not even see themselves as such. In the 2012 round ALL the generic namespace was up for grabs, PLUS: most players did not believe that city gTLDs would be profitable. This has changed: The best generic terms are now taken. Citiy gTLDs have proved to be profitable. Here the mechanics: VC money will be raised; and once cash is raised - strings will be chosen. Generic keywords are pretty much exhausted. City names make economic sense on several levels. If your operation model would be identical to that of “Donuts”: you won’t actively “market” your strings to anybody. You just push them out into the registrar channel. Why on earth would you care for “geo-use”? You do not! You just apply for the string, with NO INTENT AT ALL. This saves you the acquisition of the support letter – hence my formulation: “Non-geo use loophole”. 


Moving on ……


Anybody willing to support my suggestion:

*         Have cities with populations over X being treated like capital cities. (Elimination of the “non-geo” use provision)

*         X to be debated by either us in WT5 or the ICANN community – or both.

*         This provision could be included in the “non-capital cities” silo. 


The current language in the 2012 AGB reads:

An application for a city name will be subject to the

geographic names requirements (i.e., will require

documentation of support or non-objection from

the relevant governments or public authorities) if:


(a) It is clear from applicant statements within the

application that the applicant will use the TLD

primarily for purposes associated with the city



The (a) portion implies the so called “non-geo use provision”. So my suggestion would be to change it to:

(a) It is either clear from applicant statements within the

application that the applicant will use the TLD

primarily for purposes associated with the city

name or the city metro area population is exceeding a threshold of X


“X” needs obviously to be defined. Some would like to see it at 50k people – others at over a Million. The lower the number – the less likely we find consensus. But the definition of the threshold is independent of the measure in itself. Let’s not get hung up on the exact number – let’s see whether the general CONCEPT finds agreement: that a sizeable city should be as well protected as a national subdivision or capital city! Setting “X” to 1 Million would be a balanced approach to at least protect those city communities that are likely to potentially fall victim to applicants that simply have no “intents” – and therefore don’t voice such intent in their application – hence avoid the looping-in of the city Government! 
The formulation “clear from applicant statements within the application that the applicant will use the TLD primarily for purposes associated with the city name….” really is very weak and simply INVITES to NOT have such “statements” in the application! 










From: Greg Shatan [mailto:gregshatanipc at gmail.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2018 5:43 AM
To: alexander at schubert.berlin
Cc: Icann Gnso Newgtld Wg Wt5 <gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 at icann.org>
Subject: Re: [Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5] Motion to include a notion of “Elimination of the 'non-geo use provision' for sizeable cities” in the report


I think the Community Priority Evaluation survived the attempt at "hole poking" pretty much unscathed:

*	Unless you've been to the future, nobody has any idea if or when the gTLD application process will move away from rounds.  If it does, batching or some other process could still create contention sets.  "First come, first served" may never come.
*	It seems entirely appropriate for city-based gTLDs to authenticate registrants, whether or not they are community-based applications.  "Open season" on registrations blows a hole in the concept of city-based gTLDs -- unless the only idea is to deliver Internet real estate to one preferred applicant, who can then exploit the gTLD however they please.
*	If there are problems with the way Community Priority processes worked, it's our job to fix them -- for geo's and (elsewhere in the WG) non-geo's as well. I understand that avoiding it would be preferable to some, and that it's easier to avoid if its warts are left on, but I can't believe any disinterested participant would support that approach.

Finally, the mythical "bad actor" that is the impetus for this suggestion seems to have no basis in reality.  Are there any examples of this occurring in the prior round?  Of course, just about every type of "bad actor" is remotely possible, but how likely is it?


Moving on...


While we don't really work by "motions," since we seem to be looking for "notions" to include in the report, here are some that are at least as viable as the one suggested by Alexander:

*	extending the "non-geo use" provision to other existing geo categories
*	replacing the "letter of consent/non-objection" with a "notice and opportunity to object" in some or all cases.  While this concept needs further development, that is just more reason to put it in the report (and to develop it further in the meantime).
*	Eliminating the sub-national category (since it is full of obscurities), or subjecting it to the "non-geo use" provision.
*	Once a geo-use gTLD is registered, all other variations and translations are unconditionally available for registration
*	A "bright-line" rule that any geographic term that is not explicitly and expressly protected is unprotected (i.e., no objection or non-consent can be used to stop its registration).  Arguably, this rule was in place in the prior round, but it didn't seem to work out that way.  Hence, the need for a bright-line rule.
*	A heightened awareness program for governments and others regarding the gTLD program so that they will be more likely to seek (or to back) a registration for the relevant geo-name.  This could be accompanied by structured supports and advice to maximize the opportunities for future geo-applicants.  (To be clear, I am all in favor of geo-use applications, and we should be spending more time facilitating them, and less time creating veto rights.  More doors, and less walls!)

There may be others, but that's a start.


Best regards,




On Tue, Sep 4, 2018 at 6:23 PM Alexander Schubert <alexander at schubert.berlin <mailto:alexander at schubert.berlin> > wrote:

Hi Emily,


TNX. Just: we still haven’t solved the “vulnerable, sizeable city” problem. I am not much scared about brands – more about bad actors “abusing” the “non-geo use” provision.  If I look at how we protect country names, ISO 3166 3-letter codes, country subdivisions (3166 Alpha-2) and capital cities: I think sizeable cities (e.g. Shanghai – 24 million people, larger than 75% of all countries in the world) deserve similar protections. It’s a few hundred strings, none of them generic, and if maybe someone could run the cities with more than 1 Million inhabitants against a few important TM databases: I don’t think brands are really much impacted either. Geo-name based gTLD warehousers will only go for BIG cities. If we require these bad actors to loop in the city government – they will walk away. I think we owe it to these city communities to make sure they get to be able to use “their names” in a way that they exercise some control over it – and not falling victim to VC-money driven exploitation in a “wild west” land grab style (and potential “G7-lead” global cyber colonialism).  

Btw: Paul recently offered as “solution” to apply as “community priority application” – so city applicants would win “automatically”. Brilliant idea! I happen to have (co-)founded both: a city and a community priority applicant. Even the city applicant was already in 2005 planned (and set up – including the support acquisition, etc) to be like what later would be called “community applicant”. Let me poke a few holes in that otherwise brilliant idea:

*         Only the next (or maximum next two) application phases will be “rounds”. In absence of “rounds” there won’t be contention – and no community priority mechanism anymore! So the “solution” is short-lived! 

*         It would force the applicant to commit (even if it later turns out they were the ONLY applicant) to engage in registrant authentication: a requirement for community priority applicants that can’t be reversed later

*         In the past 6 years I learned literally EVERYTHING about “how to shoot down a community applicant” – and you just won’t believe to what ends people go to do it (I know, I was at the receiving end)! “.osaka” was LUCKY – if they had a “real” contender (a straight shooter) they would have NEVER EVER gotten 15 points (and frankly I ask myself how that was even possible). CPE is a cruel thing – prevailing with a “city-based” community would be sheer luck. And once your city name is not unique: just forget it.

Long story short: Nope, “community priority application” is NOT the answer to the problem. In my mind.

So my suggestion (yes, again!):

*         Have cities with populations over X being treated like capital cities. (Elimination of the “non-geo” use provision)

*         X to be debated by either us in WT5 or the ICANN community – or both.


I say at minimum a Million inhabitants in the Metro Area. Would be nice if we could have this proposed solution in the report – so we could see how people react. Would obviously require to explain the underlying problem: the potential “abuse” of the “non-geo use” provision (not by brands, but by evil-doers). Anybody here who would like to second my motion to have this solution (“elimination of the non-geo use provision for sizeable cities”) in the report? How to do that? Create another silo right behind the “capital city” silo? Or include it in the “non-capital city” silo; and just say that the “non-geo use provision” is only available for cities smaller “X”?

Thanks for hearing my out,







From: Emily Barabas [mailto:emily.barabas at icann.org <mailto:emily.barabas at icann.org> ] 
Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2018 11:07 PM
To: alexander at schubert.berlin <mailto:alexander at schubert.berlin> ; gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 at icann.org <mailto:gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 at icann.org> 
Subject: Re: [Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5] Proposed Agenda: Work Track 5 meeting - Wednesday 5 September at 5:00 UTC


Hi Alexander, 


Thanks for your question. As discussed on the last call, based on feedback from the WT, the leadership team has decided not to conduct consensus calls prior to publishing the Initial Report. This provides the group more time for discussion and does not require the WT to feel “locked into” a position prior to public comment. For more information on the details, you can review the call recording here <https://community.icann.org/display/NGSPP/2018-08-22+New+gTLD+Subsequent+Procedures+PDP+Work+Track+5>  and transcript here <https://gnso.icann.org/sites/default/files/file/field-file-attach/transcript-rpm-review-22aug18-en.pdf> . 


An updated work plan taking into account this change will be discussed tomorrow under agenda item 3.


Kind regards,



From: Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 <gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5-bounces at icann.org <mailto:gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5-bounces at icann.org> > on behalf of Alexander Schubert <alexander at schubert.berlin <mailto:alexander at schubert.berlin> >
Reply-To: "alexander at schubert.berlin <mailto:alexander at schubert.berlin> " <alexander at schubert.berlin <mailto:alexander at schubert.berlin> >
Date: Tuesday, 4 September 2018 at 15:50
To: "gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 at icann.org <mailto:gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 at icann.org> " <gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 at icann.org <mailto:gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 at icann.org> >
Subject: Re: [Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5] Proposed Agenda: Work Track 5 meeting - Wednesday 5 September at 5:00 UTC




Question: The initially planned “consensus call” on non-capital cities will be subject to the next call then? I am asking as it was originally planned for Sep 5th – but obviously no “consensus” has been reached (not even close).






From: Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 [mailto:gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5-bounces at icann.org <mailto:gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5-bounces at icann.org> ] On Behalf Of Emily Barabas
Sent: Monday, September 03, 2018 10:20 PM
To: gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 at icann.org <mailto:gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 at icann.org> 
Subject: [Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5] Proposed Agenda: Work Track 5 meeting - Wednesday 5 September at 5:00 UTC


Dear Work Track 5 members,


Please find below the proposed agenda for the Work Track 5 call scheduled for Wednesday 5 September at 5:00 UTC for 90 minutes. 


1. Welcome/Agenda Review/SOI updates (5 mins)

2. Non-AGB Terms (65 mins)

3. Work Plan and Initial Report (15 mins)

4. AOB (5 mins)


If you need a dial out or would like an apology to be noted for this call, please send an email as far in advance as possible to gnso-secs at icann.org <mailto:gnso-secs at icann.org> . 


Kind regards,



Emily Barabas | Policy Manager

ICANN | Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

Email: emily.barabas at icann.org <mailto:emily.barabas at icann.org>  | Phone: +31 (0)6 84507976


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