[Gnso-newgtld-wg] Closed generics proposal

Dorrain, Kristine dorraink at amazon.com
Thu Feb 27 02:51:26 UTC 2020

All, I’d like to respectfully request that when we discuss the proposals, we work through the issues I presented below without any preconceived solutions like “all TLDs must be in the public interest.”  I’d like to try to understand folks’ objections to my ideas for how we can allow innovation and technological advancement and to see if my proposals can be modified to resolve those concerns (I suggest a few ideas below). I’ve approached this with an open mind and I would ask that you all do the same.  In Phil’s scenario below, I don’t understand why the members of the British Heart Foundation want a .heart domain? Presumably they have a domain.  Presumably they could get a .BRAND if they didn’t like their .com or .uk domain.  The radical idea that I’m asking you to consider is that ITS NOT ABOUT THE DOMAIN NAME – it’s about the technology and the ideas.

Marc is right.  The Board was hoping the last round would spark innovation, but we tied everyone’s hands before the round began.  Let’s figure out how to give the Board what they want here.


From: Gnso-newgtld-wg <gnso-newgtld-wg-bounces at icann.org> On Behalf Of Alexander Schubert
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 6:31 PM
To: gnso-newgtld-wg at icann.org
Subject: Re: [Gnso-newgtld-wg] Closed generics proposal


As long as the applicant for an exclusive access gTLD ‘.heart’ can prove that a closed operation of ‘.heart’ is in the interest of the public: we are fine. Your example of the BRITISH association – only allowing THEIR members to register: that’s a rather smallish subset of the global, English speaking population. Hard to imagine how the public interest is being served in such case.

If you want to restrict registrations to a profession: you don’t have to run it as an exclusive access gTLD: It can be a restricted gTLD – and you can still allow for free registrations through a white label. See .bank: very restricted – but open to all banks. Which is in the public interest.



From: Phil Buckingham [mailto:phil at dotadvice.co.uk]
Sent: Mittwoch, 26. Februar 2020 20:46
To: alexander at schubert.berlin<mailto:alexander at schubert.berlin>
Cc: gnso-newgtld-wg at icann.org<mailto:gnso-newgtld-wg at icann.org>
Subject: Re: [Gnso-newgtld-wg] Closed generics proposal

Hi Kristine, Alexander,
Some great ideas . Ultimately Round 2 is about applicants showing innovation in their TLD application to further enhance competition, consumer choice and consumer trust and ultimately breakdown the  Com monopoly.
At the end of the day , every application will either be open ( ie selling through an ICANN accredited registrar ) or closed.
Re . heart  Heart is clearly a genetic dictionary term.
However I can’t see what the problem  is and why the (say) British Heart Foundation can’t apply for .heart . They would administer , control the ( free)registration of a second level.heart ( through its one vertically integrated registrar) to all its members . Let call it Daas ( domains as a service) .
Mike, Marc, & all the lawyers - what is the problem here , if any ?
Phil Buckingham

Sent from my iPhone

On 26 Feb 2020, at 21:17, Alexander Schubert <alexander at schubert.berlin<mailto:alexander at schubert.berlin>> wrote:
In my mind:

If you need to take public land (category defining generic keyword based gTLDs); have a clear, defined plan that serves the public interest. Or open the gTLD up to the general public. Otherwise do your closed-gTLD trials in the third level of an established gTLD first; when you are ready to rumble: upgrade to top-level. In the third level you have all the “control” in the world.

I think it would be very hard to successfully prove why one heart monitor company needs to claim the entire .heart namespace. What is the public interest here?

But this brings up an interesting question:

·         It seems that exclusive access registry models for generic term based gTLDs would demand to prove a “public benefit claim”. “Generic keyword based term” meaning: dictionary terms.

·         It also seems that the operation of an exclusive access registry via Spec 13 designation places a lot of limits on such registry (Twitter or Snap wouldn’t be able to have their users completely controlling “their” domains as far as I understand the Spec 13 restrictions)

·         What about permitting the operation of “exclusive access” registries – if they do not use a generic dictionary term? In the example of the heart monitoring company: “.pulz”. It’s not a “generic keyword based term”.



From: Gnso-newgtld-wg [mailto:gnso-newgtld-wg-bounces at icann.org] On Behalf Of Dorrain, Kristine via Gnso-newgtld-wg
Sent: Mittwoch, 26. Februar 2020 15:14
To: gnso-newgtld-wg at icann.org<mailto:gnso-newgtld-wg at icann.org>
Subject: [Gnso-newgtld-wg] Closed generics proposal


As promised on last week’s call, I offer a proposal for what we’re calling “closed generics.”

I wanted to turn the attention away from the binary question of “closed generics” or “no closed generics” and think about why some ROs may have applied for closed generics.  If we can solve for these problems (e.g. create processes that solve for folks’ concerns AND allow applicants to innovate), my guess is, the fight will fade. The examples are not based on real stories but are illustrative; other use cases could be imagined if we move away from only thinking of domain names as the end product/commodity.  We should encourage next round applicants to innovate and explore ideas – we didn’t get the Tesla by forcing everyone to build a Model T, the Model T was a starting point to improve upon.

  1.  Applicant offers a product or service for which unique URLs are part of the product. Controlling the namespace is part of the critical safety and infrastructure.

     *   Example: .heart
     *   Use: applicant develops a new pacemaker that stays in contact with the doctor, the pacemaker, an app on the patient’s phone, and an online dashboard page that certain necessary folks have access to.
     *   Why should this TLD be single-user?
                                                                                       i.      The RO has to undergo extensive security and privacy testing – by controlling the entire space (including being its own Registrar), the applicant can guard against phishing, malware, hijacking, etc.
                                                                                     ii.      The domain name is not sold to the end-user.  It’s the way the devices and dashboards communicate.  It does not need a retail chain or any Rr markup or fees for the applicant to create the names it needs to run its product.  The domain is just an easy handle for mobile and desktop access to the dashboard. It performs a function and is not a consumer product or service itself.
Some of you will argue that ALL medical device manufacturers should then have access to .heart, but that’s unrealistic since the medical device company that controls .heart will own all of the security and no other medical device company would be willing to trust their competitors with their data and security.

Some of you will ask:
a.       “Why not just make it a .brand”?  For a registry that is working on a standard for communication and security in this space, they will want it to be more “open” versus branded.  That doesn’t mean just anyone can obtain. The registry may need flexibility to monitor across a number of entities.  Also, startups may not have a brand yet, or part of the new product/service may be creating a new brand.
b.       “But why not a community?  Because some startups may be trying to disrupt an entrenched industry and you may not be able to get the large industry trade associations to back you and instead try to prevent change or innovation, as we saw in the last round.  We want to encourage innovation and new models. We don’t want to be ourselves an entrenched industry that is unwilling to embrace change.

  1.  Applicant startup is considering a new service that, when combined with a domain name, offers a new and unique benefit to the customer (a private sandbox, a unique dashboard, a control center for a device, whatever).  It’s possible that when this idea comes to fruition, the end user will need/want to own or control the domain name, but since the end user is not using the domain name to put up a site, but instead to interact with the service, this is unlikely.  Having to own and manage a domain name will be clutter in the customer’s life—they want the service.

     *   Example: .dashboard
     *   Assume there is no need/desire for the customer to deal with “owning” the domain name.  The current ban  on closed generics means that we’re forcing the customer to register and manage a domain name that they don’t want in order to obtain the service or device.
                                                                                       i.      Suggestion: create an option for an RO to decide domains in its TLD will be part of a bigger product or service and so long as the domain is bundled, the TLD can be owned and operated by the RO.

     *   Assume the applicant may want to transfer ownership to the end user later.  RO needs to alpha- and beta-test this idea before it launches – it really doesn’t even know what the final registration policies will be because it hasn’t decided its model yet. It needs customers and feedback. RO only has 100 “free” domains to work with and once you use them they’re gone.  This is not enough for a good beta test.
                                                                                       i.      Suggestion: make it easier for an Approved Launch Program or a new (TBD) Beta Program to include a multi-year beta.
                                                                                     ii.      Suggestion: include some guardrails or “PIC” language to ensure that when the idea is launched to customers, Spec 9 will apply at that point.

  1.  Applicant has cool ideas but needs time to test (similar to 2(c), above, but in a more traditional model).  It wants to eventually offer names to customers for sale but needs to be able to break things and try things – pre-RSEP, pre-full registrant access.  How can a registry experiment and figure out what works for their customers – the registrant – if the rules say they have to just open up.  What happens if, upon opening, they realize the TLD rules need to be modified?  Allowing models to be “closed” and test for some time will lead to more experimentation and new models in the long-run.

     *   Suggestion: One set of guardrails could be a set number of test names that don’t count against the RO 100, or a specific “test phase.”

As we can see, there is little point in assuming why ROs applied for closed generics  - there were very likely business cases and innovative ideas behind the last round applications.  These scenarios demonstrate that it is not difficult to imagine business cases that could benefit from innovation – nor is it difficult to fashion solutions to address concerns that some may have about using TLDs in this way.  Instead of being stuck in the binary yes/no deliberations of 8 years ago and failing to meet the Board’s expectation that we will come back to them with a sensible policy recommendation, let’s instead build the guardrails that will allow innovation to proceed.


Kristine Dorrain

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