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Cast Your .vote for the Most Interesting New gTLD Development in Q4

2020 has been extremely eventful, so it follows that the domain industry has continued to experience perpetual change, progress and uncertainty in the last three months of the year. In our Q4 New gTLD Quarterly Report, MarkMonitor experts analyze topical registration activity, launch information, .brand growth and DNS abuse, and share a list of upcoming industry meetings for 2021. more

ICANN Should Keep Content Regulation and Other Arbitrary Rules Out of Registry Contracts

The domain name system is not the place to police speech. ICANN is legally bound not to act as the Internet's speech police, but its legal commitments are riddled with exceptions, and aspiring censors have already used those exceptions in harmful ways. This was one factor that made the failed takeover of the .ORG registry such a dangerous situation. But now, ICANN has an opportunity to curb this abuse and recommit to its narrow mission of keeping the DNS running... more

ICANN Doubles Down on Technical Internet Governance Label: What Are the Implications?

Back in September of 2020, ICANN CEO Göran Marby wrote a blog post discussing the implementation of "a common strategy for Internet governance (IG) and technical Internet governance (TIG)", raising the question of whether the ICANN org. intended to pursue this distinction moving forward, as debated in a previous article. This was proven to be the case during the 2020 IGF's Open Forum #44: "ICANN Open Forum - Technical Internet Governance", organized by ICANN itself... more

Another ICANN Meeting Concluded With No Action on DNS Abuse or Privacy/Proxy Policy

The ICANN 69 meeting has come to a close, with no progress on DNS abuse or implementation of the Privacy/Proxy Services Accreditation policy (PPSAI). While ICANN is uniquely positioned to do so, it refuses to do anything proactive about DNS abuse, with its executives overtly attempting to limit its role to data collection. Moreover, its refusal to implement community-driven initiatives such as the PPSAI points to a growing trend where ICANN is backing away from its public interest responsibilities, to the detriment of the Internet and its users. more

2020 Hindsight After 20 Years at ICANN

After two decades of involvement with ICANN, I am stepping down from the Board of Directors, where I served for nine years. I have spent considerable time of late reflecting on the past 20 years, and I have isolated some memories that help frame my time with ICANN. ... November 2000, ICANN07 in Marina del Rey, California - With only a scant idea of what ICANN is all about, I am warmly welcomed by the flag-wearing country code top-level domain (ccTLD) community, who come to ICANN to ensure that nothing happens to affect the independence of ccTLDs... more

The Whois Wars Go On

There is a lot of discussion about the Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) Phase 2 report on evaluating a System for Standardized Access/Disclosure (SSAD) to non-public gTLD registration data after the decisions taken by the GNSO Council on September 24th. Notably, the Business Constituency (BC) and the Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC) have voted against the adoption of the Final Report of the EPDP team. more

Innovation, Launches and Email: New gTLDs Deliver in Q3 2020

As the third quarter of 2020 winds down, the domain industry continues to show development and progression amid uncertain global economic conditions. From improvements in products and additional TLD launches to growth in .brand email usage and upcoming virtual meetings, the Q3 2020: New gTLD Quarterly Report from our MarkMonitor team has a little something for everyone. more

The Pay-To-Play Reality of ICANN’s Inclusion Illusion

ICANN's chairman says meetings offer special "circumstantial opportunity"; recent estimates peg average annual expense for attending at $30,000 per person. Oops - he's done it again. The latest blog update from ICANN's current board chair needs - no, it demands - a spotlight on what is revealed in plain and unashamed language. Indeed, this communique - along with another recent blog post that I've previously commented on - captures in exquisite relief what has gone terribly, horribly wrong at ICANN. more

A Failed Whois Policy

ICANN's two-year effort to purportedly preserve the Whois public directory to the greatest extent possible while complying with GDPR has failed. Under the latest proposal, the Whois database, once a contractually-required directory of domain name registrants, will be gutted to the point of virtual worthlessness, as registrars, registries, academics, and hand-wringing others ignored the public interest and imposed ever-higher barriers to legitimate, GDPR-compliant access to registration data. more

Only Bad Actors Should Worry About the URS

With DNS abuse a topic of increased concern throughout the community, any controversy over adopting the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) for all generic top-level domains (gTLDs) seems misplaced. The URS was designed as a narrow supplement to the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), applicable only in certain tightly defined circumstances of clear-cut and incontrovertible trademark infringement involving the registration and use of a domain name. more

Uniform Rapid Suspension Not Appropriate for .com Domain Names

The Internet Commerce Association has been actively involved for the last four years on the ICANN Working Group reviewing the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) policy and the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). The Working Group is currently wrapping up its review of the URS. The UDRP will be reviewed in an upcoming second phase. more

Is There Such a Thing as Technical Internet Governance?

In ICANN's "President & CEO Goals for Fiscal Year 2021", Göran Marby went out to make a curious distinction in the document's second stated goal, according to which he intends to "Implement a common strategy for Internet governance (IG) and technical Internet governance (TIG)". Proceeding to state that "we will begin by identifying the most important issues we need to address, followed by an assessment of where and how we can intervene, the venues we should use, and the resources required to be effective". more

Too Little, Too Late? Why ICANN’s Proposed WHOIS Access System Isn’t Worth It

After two years of grueling, complex and contentious debate, the ICANN EPDP team delivered its Phase 2 Final Report on July 31st, 2020. Unfortunately, and disappointingly, the policy recommended for the so-called "System for Standardized Access/Disclosure" (SSAD) fails to meet the needs of the users it supposedly is designed to benefit. more

The Geo-Politics of ICANN vs ITU

Over the past couple of years I have had the opportunity to talk to US policy makers and have seen how ITU and ICANN have emerged as proxies for a much wider diplomatic dispute over who is going to control cyberspace. The Internet is now the engine of the new global economy. It is a communication infrastructure. Both have been correctly regarded as national security interests of the very highest level of priority. Some of the participants in the ICANN/ITU world are former participants in arms limitation circles. Their mode of thinking is illustrated by the frequent use of phrases such as 'why would we give up...'. more

Internet Governance Outlook 2020: The Next Generation of Players and Problems Is Coming

The beginning of a new decade is always an invitation to have a broader look into the future. What, in the next ten years, will happen in the Internet Governance Ecosystem? Will the 2020s see the usual swinging pendulum between more liberal and more restrictive Internet policies in an interconnected world? Or will we move towards a watershed? more