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

Alexander Schubert alexander at schubert.berlin
Thu Aug 29 15:28:48 UTC 2019

Hi Marita,


Thanks for this real life real-estate analogy!

You are right: “Real Estate Flipping” is indeed frowned upon – and yes we have to expect it happening in the coming round.

But here it is even WORSE than just flipping:
As there would be no ICANN last resort auction the big-city applicant would have to accept ANY request for ransom payment; or both applications will be rejected – and they get a FULL REFUND! So it is even RISK FREE for the blocking entity! From a financial standpoint: the blocking entity gets all their cash back. No risk. Hilarious!

We are practically INVITING this kind of abuse with the current geo-name string contention rules. We need to change them.





From: Marita Moll [mailto:mmoll at ca.inter.net] 
Sent: Thursday, August 29, 2019 6:11 PM
To: alexander at schubert.berlin; '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"


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?





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'  <mailto:gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 at icann.org> <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”! 




ling delivery altogether (e.g., for a vacation), and so on.

Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 mailing list
Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 at icann.org <mailto:Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 at icann.org> 
By submitting your personal data, you consent to the processing of your personal data for purposes of subscribing to this mailing list accordance with the ICANN Privacy Policy (https://www.icann.org/privacy/policy) and the website Terms of Service (https://www.icann.org/privacy/tos). You can visit the Mailman link above to change your membership status or configuration, including unsubscribing, setting digest-style delivery or disabling delivery altogether (e.g., for a vacation), and so on.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5/attachments/20190829/0e865baf/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5 mailing list