[Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5] City names: "non-objection from all the relevant governments or public authorities"

Marita Moll mmoll at ca.inter.net
Thu Aug 29 15:10:37 UTC 2019

This possibility of getting letters of non-objection from smaller 
entities, then turning it around for profit without any added value to 
another entity exists in the real estate world in North America -- it is 
called home flipping -- frowned upon but totally legal. There is every 
reason to expect this scenario to play out in the gTLD world if it is 
allowed. So, a clarification of these rules is really important.


On 8/28/2019 9:58 AM, Alexander Schubert wrote:
> In the wake of the risk of small city entities providing letters of 
> non-objection; could we please also clarify the geo-name string 
> contention rules? I quote from the 2012 AGB (page 73 of 338 in the PDF 
> document), Review Procedure for Geographic Names:
> */“If there is more than one application for a string/*
> */representing a certain geographic name as described in/*
> */this section, /**/and the applications have requisite/*
> */government approvals, the applications will be suspended/*
> */pending resolution by the applicants/**/. If the applicants/*
> */have not reached a resolution by either the date of the/*
> */end of the application round (as announced by ICANN), or/*
> */the date on which ICANN opens a subsequent application/*
> */round, whichever comes first, the applications will be/*
> */rejected and applicable refunds will be available to/*
> */applicants according to the conditions described in/*
> */section 1.5./*
> */However/**/, in the event that a contention set is composed of/*
> */multiple applications with documentation of /**/support from/*
> */the same government or public authority/**/, the applications/*
> */will /**/proceed /**/through the /**/contention resolution 
> procedures/**//*
> */described in Module 4 when requested by the government/*
> */or public authority providing the documentation.”/*
> So in other words:
> Somebody participates in a public tender of a multi-million people 
> city, gets the letter of non-objection, and applies. Some profiteer 
> also gets a letter of non-objection for that string – albeit from a 
> tiny 1,000 people “city”. If I do interpret this policy right then the 
> applicant for the tiny place can now lay back and demand ANY ransom he 
> wants: because the alternative is that BOTH applications will be 
> rejected AND REFUNDED? So we do invite tricksters to search for 
> “public tenders” of cities – then get support letters from tiny cities 
> – then lay back and RISK FREE wait for extortion moneys – or get a 
> full refund?
> Really? Or do I misunderstand the policy?
> Thanks,
> Alexander
> *From:*Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 
> [mailto:gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5-bounces at icann.org] *On Behalf Of 
> *Alexander Schubert
> *Sent:* Wednesday, August 28, 2019 4:31 PM
> *To:* 'Icann Gnso Newgtld Wg Wt5' <gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 at icann.org>
> *Subject:* Re: [Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5] City names: "non-objection from 
> all the relevant governments or public authorities"
> Dear Greg,
> You wrote:
> */“This seems to indicate that the whole geoTLD thing is a racket (or 
> at least, has the capacity to be one): that any geoTLD operator can 
> state their "intention" to use the string in connection with a 
> particular place in their application, and then turn around and do 
> whatever they want in connection with marketing that gTLD or the sale 
> of second level domains (and that each registrars may be able to "do 
> their own thing" as well).   Why would ICANN support this "land-grab" 
> when it's just a set-up for a "bait and switch"? “/*
> EXACTLY! That’s why I am trying to find out whether the geo-panel 
> applied the 2012 AGB correctly – and what ramifications the way they 
> apply the AGB has in the next round!
> The AGB clearly speaks about “STRING” – not “geo-entity” or 
> “application”. A “string” is just a number of characters – it does NOT 
> create any connotation or affiliation with an applicant, it’s 
> “intentions” or a SPECIFIC geo-entity! So I would say the geo-panel 
> did wrong. Here the wording again:
> The 2012 AGB  §4 (PDF page 69) states:
> */“In the event that there is /**/more than one relevant government or 
> public authority for the applied-for gTLD string/**/, /*
> */   the applicant must provide documentation of support or 
> non-objection from all the relevant governments or public authorities.”/*
> What I hear here is that folks assume (and the geo-panel acted 
> accordingly) that “string” would be associated with a specific 
> geo-entity (or “entities”). If we want THAT to be the case then we 
> would need to replace “string” with “application” or “geo-entity”. 
> Maybe others have an even better term.
> There are several city governments that are “relevant” for the 
> “string” MIAMI – e.g. City of Miami in Florida, and Miami in Oklahoma 
> (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami,_Oklahoma).
> So if you want that the geo-panel will only require a letter of 
> support from the geo-entity that has been explicitly targeted via 
> statements made in the respective application: SAY SO!
> But if we change  §4 and reduce the letter of non-objection 
> requirement to targeted geo-entity authorities we need to introduce a 
> rule that protects the bigger populations of bigger cities that bear 
> the identical name! Otherwise why participating in the public tender 
> for “Oakland” (California) – when an applicant can simply go and offer 
> a small revenue share to the city of Oakland in Iowa (1,500 people)?
> There aren’t too many cases with duplicate cities. Applicants will 
> generally  apply for BIG cities – as only big cities will create 
> enough registrations to sustain a gTLD. In those cases IF there are 
> duplicate cities – these are USUALLY tiny! Exceptions exist of course 
> – but in almost all cases that I researched (and “Berlin” or “Miami” 
> are good examples) the “other cities” are all TINY! Nobody in a 10,000 
> people nest would ever apply for “their gTLD” (and yes: “Aspen” would 
> be an exception, but there are ALWAYS exceptions). So the occasion 
> where somebody wanted to apply for a specific city – but there would 
> be a MUCH larger city with the same name: That would be VERY SELDOM! 
> Usually it is ALWAYS the other way around.
> Hence to avoid the “bait and switch” scenario (someone get’s the 
> support letter from a small city; then markets to the big city) why 
> not simply requiring that IF there was a bigger city – a letter of 
> non-objection from THAT city would be required as well! We could build 
> in a factor “X”, e.g.: Blue is the original language, and red the 
> addition, change!
> */“In the event that there is more than one relevant government or 
> public authority for the /**/geo-entity targeted by the gTLD 
> application/**/, /*
> */   the applicant must provide documentation of support or 
> non-objection from all the relevant governments or public authorities.
> /**/This includes governments or public authorities of other identical 
> name geo-entities with a population exceeding the targeted geo-entity 
> (by factor X)”/**//*
> The addition “by factor X” could be left away if factor X is 1! 
> Otherwise I think factor 5 would make sense. In reality you will NOT 
> find any city where a gTLD is of any substantial benefit for the 
> citizens – and there is ANOTHER identical name city with 500% 
> population. In the Toledo example: I am very hard pressed that ANYBODY 
> would ever try to apply for Toledo having in mind the city in Spain. 
> But IF SO – the U.S. based Toledo is only 2.9 times bigger! So the 
> U.S. Toledo would have to object – but no letter of support is needed 
> (and note: the current AGB wouldn’t protect them either!)! But the 
> suggested policy change would prevent cases where applicants go to the 
> SMALLISH twin cities (Miami, Oakland, most huge cities of a smallish 
> twin somewhere) to circumvent acquiring letters of non-objection from 
> the big city!
> Does this make sense? If we do NOT implement this (or similar) 
> language, then applicants for non-capital cities will flock to get 
> letters of non-objection from “small-city”!
> Thanks,
> Alexander
>     ling delivery altogether (e.g., for a vacation), and so on.
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