[GTLD-WG] [CPWG] Subsequent Procedures Update: Applicant Support Program, updated snapshot as at 31 Jul 2019

Justine Chew justine.chew at gmail.com
Wed Jul 31 02:09:13 UTC 2019

Dear all,

Here is an updated snapshot of where the Subsequent Procedures PDP WG is at
in its deliberations on the Applicant Support Program as at 31 Jul 2019
I understand that this is on the agenda for the CPWG call later today at
21:00 UTC.


On Tue, 30 Jul 2019 at 05:55, Justine Chew <justine.chew at gmail.com> wrote:

> Evan,
> I am guided by the inputs the At-Large/ALAC have submitted up to the ALAC
> statement in response to the SubPro PDP WG's Initial Report of Sep 2018.
> From what I can observe within At-Large and beyond, there is no support to
> abolish the Applicant Support Program altogether. What is evident, however,
> is the dissatisfaction of how the Program was handled in the 2012 round, as
> admitted by the SubPro PDP WG Co-Chair in his email which was attached to
> mine.
> So At-Large may choose, if it wishes, to let other groups in the community
> drive the Program forward with or without At-Large/ALAC's further
> intervention. I haven't heard anyone else say At-Large chooses not to be
> involved hereon.
> Regards,
> Justine
> -----
> On Tue, 30 Jul 2019 at 00:40, Evan Leibovitch <evan at telly.org> wrote:
>> I was one of the two co-chairs of the original Applicant Support program
>> WG in 2010 and believed strongly in it, Strong enough that we created a
>> joint ALAC-NCSG-GAC group that convinced the Board to introduce the concept
>> over the objection of the domain industry.
>> But things have changed, dramatically, since then. Based on that
>> experience I challenge the ongoing relevance of Applicant Support as an
>> end-user issue worthy of attention from At-Large.
>> We have the following lessons learned from the past experience and the
>> aftermath of the last round:
>>    - The intended beneficiaries of the AS program are *only* TLD
>>    registry applicants -- not registrars or registrants, and certainly not
>>    end-users;
>>    - Given the existence of ccTLDs for every country and continental
>>    TLDs for Africa, Asia and Europe, the market need to create additional new
>>    registries to serve developing economies has not been demonstrated;
>>    - We now have a number of gTLDs targeting registrants for whom cost
>>    of domains is a barrier. Creating these low-cost-model registries did not
>>    require Applicant Support;
>>    - The last WG agonized over making regulations tough enough to
>>    prevent exploitation by applicants that didn't need subsidy, while still
>>    making it accessible to those that did. We utterly failed at this to the
>>    extent that NOT ONE registration for applicant support was delegated and
>>    less than five even made an attempt. Coming up with a new magic formula is
>>    simply not worth the massive effort to both develop and defend from the
>>    inevitable attack. (I vividly remember an early meeting we had on this at
>>    ATLAS 1 in Mexico, during which one registry applicant observer in the back
>>    of the room calmly said, "no matter what you come up with we'll find a way
>>    to game it." In hindsight he was absolutely correct, the only regulations
>>    that could prevent gaming were so tough that NOBODY could meet them. This
>>    situation has not changed since the last round; in the new discussion
>>    document the anti-gaming component remains contentious and unresolved (and
>>    IMO unresolvable);
>>    - Applicant Support was intended to reduce the cost of the initial
>>    ICANN fees but not the ongoing maintenance costs or ICANN per-domain fees.
>>    Even the new proposals that suggest extra support for application writing
>>    etc do not include ongoing support beyond application. Given the emergence
>>    of unstable TLDs from the last round, any applicant viable for the long
>>    term will need to demonstrate financial stability based on the total cost
>>    of running a domain, of which the fee reduction of Applicant Support is a
>>    fairly small proportion. There are serious and valid concerns about the
>>    stability of any TLD applicant who would not be able to apply without the
>>    Applicant Support fee reduction;
>>    - The registrant projections for new-TLD registrations have proven to
>>    be wildly overblown, and the sustainability promises of new applicants need
>>    to be evaluated with that in mind.
>> Some of these realities were learned during the Applicant Support WG's
>> tenure, others were revealed later as the application round unfolded.
>> Regardless of source, we now have observable realities that did not exist
>> before the last round and would be ill-advised to ignore them.
>> I find the conclusion fairly clear. There is no market-based
>> justification for the Applicant Support program, indeed it threatens
>> stability by introducing registries on financially shaky ground. As a
>> result. any ongoing support for Applicant Support -- by ALAC or anyone else
>> -- is solely for emotional reasons such as community pride. These may be
>> strong incentives but at least let's go in with open eyes.
>> - Evan
>> On Sun, 28 Jul 2019 at 23:56, Justine Chew <justine.chew at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Dear all,
>>> Reference is made to an earlier email with subject "Draft Issues List
>>> for Subsequent Procedures".
>>> I have attempted to generate a *snapshot of where the Subsequent
>>> Procedures PDP WG is at in its deliberations on the Applicant Support
>>> Program as at 26 Jul 2019
>>> <https://community.icann.org/download/attachments/111390697/01.%20SubPro%20Applicant%20Support%20as%20at%2026.07.2019%20for%20CPWG.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1564311734000&api=v2>*,
>>> post its last WG call on 25 Jul 15:00 UTC.  Please note that that this
>>> snapshot is not intended to reflect a complete picture as deliberations on
>>> the same topic will continue on the next SubPro PDP WG Call of 29 Jul 20:00
>>> UTC.
>>> At-Large members on the SubPro PDP WG are encouraged to attend the
>>> SubPro PDP WG call of 29 Jul 20:00 UTC, to help support the ALAC/At-Large
>>> inputs on the Applicant Support Program and/or help flesh out more concrete
>>> recommendations for the Program, seeing that this is one of the topics for
>>> which At-Large has helped to drive in respect of the new gTLD application
>>> round of 2012 and has continued to provide substantial input.
>>> After the said SubPro PDP WG call, I will attempt to present an updated
>>> snapshot at the next CPWG call.
>>> Thank you,
>>> Justine Chew
>>> -----
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