[Comments-new-gtld-auction-proceeds-initial-08oct18] .ART Comment in Support of TLD Awareness Program
kurt at kjpritz.com
Tue Dec 11 23:36:56 UTC 2018
The .ART Domain Registry joins other commenters and supports the .club proposal that ICANN should use a small but significant percentage of auction funds, say 15% of the total, to raise awareness about the utility, economy, reliability and safety of domain names as a way to establish a permanent, recognizable and technically competent internet presence.
ICANN’s core values call on us to, “[w}here feasible and appropriate, depend on market mechanisms to promote and sustain a competitive environment in the DNS market,” and “introduc[e] and promot[e] competition in the registration of domain names where practicable and beneficial to the public interest as identified through the bottom-up, multistakeholder policy development process.”
What are market mechanisms that promote competition? The first is to design the market place (e.g., the registrar accreditation program and the new gTLD program), then make your audience aware that the market exists. ICANN has spent 20 years developing the domain market place yet the extent and level of recognition is low. The new generation of internet users are not familiar with the utility of domains (as opposed to gmail addresses, apps and social media)? Even as the new gTLD program was launched, critics said, “why bother?” because domains were evidently passé. ICANN developed and launched a staggeringly complex program, 14 years in the making, to increase competition and choice for consumers and then, somewhat incomprehensively, acted in a way to bar its success by refusing to provide notice of its existence.
With regard to promoting competition in the registration of domain names, the community instructed the ICANN Board and the Board instructed ICANN to launch an awareness campaign in 2011: to provide global notice of the upcoming (at that time) new gTLD program. The effort failed due to lack of funding as ICANN had yet to receive over $370,000,000 in application fees and a similar amount in auction funds. ICANN now has the wherewithal to carry out the Board mandate of 2011. It is late, but not too late to provide for the planned-for support for the use of domains.
If not ICANN, then who is to take this up? What other organization has the reach, funding and core values to promote the awareness of domains? Are we not proud of what we do and our involvement to make “unique identifiers” a reliable, safe, useful tool for navigating the internet? Others promote social media platforms and apps as a way to participate on line. But don’t we (as part of ICANN) believe that domains have a unique value, where participants can safeguard their data, establish an air of technical competency, and create a permanent on-line space?
If we are not for domains, what are we doing here? It seems that one either wants to promote the uptake and use of domains or wants them to die. This community spends its energies in critical self-assessment in attempting to make the DNS the perfect online environment. One can rightfully believe that our multi-stakeholder model uniquely considers market issues from all viewpoints and has policy development tools and safeguards far superior to those in other online regimes such as apps and social media. It is ok for us to be proud of our work: the market we have developed and the value that domains provide. These achievements also give rise to a public interest duty to inform the global internet-using community of the space we have created because if there is not awareness, it will fade away.
Another ICANN core value is that it operates, “at a speed that is responsive to the needs of the global Internet community.” With the authority provided by its Bylaws and the actions of its community, ICANN should now finish this last task associated with its 20-year build of the domain marketplace and promote awareness of its existence and value.
.ART Domain Registry
Member, Strategic Planning
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