[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

on the issue of open/closed TLDs vs gTLDs/ccTLDs

The distinction being made between "open" and "closed" TLDs is quite
superficial.  The fact is that there is a very wide and continuous
variation in TLD policies.  For example, it is possible for a non-UK
citizen to get a domain in .uk.  On the other hand, .edu is
restricted, and .int is even more restricted. 

While ccTLDs differ widely in policy towards registrants, they all
have received their delegation through a relatively uniform process,
and the formal lines of authority for all the ccTLDs are essentially
the same.  Furthermore, to the extent that the authority lines
differ, they *should* be unified.  So it makes a great deal of sense
for ccTLDs to be considered as a single constituency, despite the
fact that their policies towards registrants may differ.  That is,
the important characteristic of ccTLDs from ICANN's point of view is
their relationship to authority.

On the other hand, given the normal definition of "gTLD", it is not 
clear that there is a meaningful gTLD constituency at this time.  
The TLDs that are *not* ccTLDs -- .com, .net, .org, .edu, .int, 
.mil, .gov, .arpa, and a few others -- are notable for their very 
different authority structures.  Clearly, .mil and .gov are under 
the control of the USG, and should be grandfathered as a special case, 
or considered an ersatz part of the .us ccTLD.  

Arguably, then, the ultimate policy authority for the rest should be

Therefore, in my view, the meaningful distinction between the two 
constituencies is this:

1) the "ccTLD" constituency is for TLDs that derive their ultimate 
policy authority from a sovereign entity.  This is presumably a very 
slow-growing set.

2) the "gTLD" constituency is for TLDs that derive their ultimate 
policy authority from the Internet community at large, through 
ICANN.  This set is currently small, but may be rather larger in a 
few years.

The names "ccTLD" and "gTLD" for the two constituencies are not
precise, but convey the general meaning adequately.

Note that this distinction is not perfect, but it is much better 
defined than the fuzzy distinction between "open" and "closed".

Kent Crispin                               "Do good, and you'll be
kent@songbird.com                           lonesome." -- Mark Twain