ICANN Logo Business & Commercial Constituency Comments on Proposals for New Top Level Domains
(5 November 2000)

The Business and Commercial Constituency of the DNSO notes that:

  • Given that assignment of generic and country code Top Level Domains has been passed to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and
  • Given that the responsibility for ensuring a stable framework for the existing and future primary domains is paramount.

and recommends that ICANN should:

  • ensure that extensions of the current framework should take place in a well-controlled manner and be subject to assessment;
  • establish a clear policy on dealing with any pre-emption, requested extensions from private domains to the Root Server system or reservations that seek to avoid the procedures created for this purpose;
  • consider carefully the benefit arising from each proposal, for and the effects upon, users of the Internet and not the volume of support which a proposal has engendered;
  • create new Internet domain names in a way which simultaneously meets the global desire for more names and reduces the potential for consumer fraud and confusion.

We would like to endorse to ICANN the following minimum standards and recommendations.

1. Establish a Classification Framework for existing and future Top Level Domains

ICANN should seek to enhance the public benefit by ensuring improved ease of access through an appropriate semantic framework for new Top Level Domains as recommended by this constituency of the DNSO, in the excerpt from our earlier paper below:

The BC believes that a possible long-term solution is to extend the classification role of gTLDs to their logical conclusion. One option is to create a large set of gTLDs to reflect the needs of the consumer. Thus, for example, the following three commercial and one non-commercial options could all co-exist: Lotus.software, Lotus.cars, Lotus.paper, Lotus.flowers

Such a system has wide-ranging benefits:

  • A browser search would be more likely to turn up relevant options.
  • There would be little purpose in defensive ownership of unwanted sites.
  • Each new gTLD would have uniqueness and its added value would enhance competition.

A process to identify possible new names should be evaluated by a gTLD panel established by the ICANN Board under the auspices of the DNSO Names Council'

The Business & Commercial constituency also strongly recommend the ICANN Board to require new TLDs to provide for a structured semantic sub-domain structure that enables ease of access to specific content areas. Without such an approach any new domain will sustain the risks of exhaustion and also encourage a high volume of protective registrations that has been quoted as limiting further registrations in the .com domain.

2. Limit Assignments and Reservations

  • Proposers submitting multiple applications or single applications with multiple proposals should identify which single proposal they wish to be considered.
  • New domains should be assigned to new TLD operators with the positive aim of re-balancing the current geographical distribution of registry locations.
  • Operators of unauthorised TLDs or those pre-selling registrations before assignment should not receive preferential consideration.
  • Each successful proposer should be assigned no more than one domain at this time.

3. Defining the Scope of the Assignment

There should be a clear statement from ICANN of the scope of the TLD assignment to avoid confusion between domains, such as .air being used for air transport or radio communications industries.

4. Differentiation Between Top Level Domains

ICANN should ensure that new domains do not merely duplicate existing assignments under a synonymous generic label (eg .bus = .com), which would merely confuse Internet users, but add value by differentiating its scope and target registrants. Registry operations should be unique not-for-profit services within each domain, competition being established at the registrar level.

5. Require the inclusion of the following Registry Policies in all TLD assignments:

5.1 On Rights to Domain Names:

ICANN should require the operators of all new and existing Top Level Domains:

  • to accept the legal principles covering the intellectual property, trade marks and brand names for registrations within their domain(s) in all jurisdictions in which they take registrations;
  • to adopt the policies recommended by ICANN based on the WIPO report;
  • to verify that applications for domain names do not infringe the rights of holders of intellectual property, trade marks or brand names of existing entities, whether commercial, non-commercial or individual;
  • to reject bulk registrations and pre-emptive registrations which seek to create an opportunity for speculative resale of domain names;
  • to proscribe the reselling or auction of domain names through the assignment policies;
  • to provide, in advance, protective registrations for domain names that are the intellectual property, trade marks or brand names of existing businesses, at cost;
  • to proscribe the use of any domain for abusive or denigratory purposes subject to immediate suspension and withdrawal of the assignment;
  • to resolve any infringement of trademark, cyber-squatting and warehousing through the recommended UDRP;


5.2 On access to WHOIS information:

In addition the Registry operators should be required to:

  • provide free access to WHOIS facilities as part of the service for registrants seeking to confirm the availability or registration of given domain names;
  • provide registrars with facilities to discourage potential infringement of existing Domain Name holders, including providing information when the same second-level domain name is already in use in another TLD;
  • flag applications when there is a risk of homonyms arising which may create confusion with other registrants' names.

6. In accordance with the Joint Submission on Minimum Safeguards from the Business and Intellectual Property constituencies:

The Business and Commercial constituency also reaffirm the joint statement of principle and in particular that:

6.1 On Registrants' Information:

All registrants in new TLDs should be required to --

  • pre-pay all registration fees;
  • provide accurate contact information and keep it current;
  • fully complete electronic registration forms; and
  • certify that statements made in the registration application are true.

In addition, the Business & Commercial and Intellectual Property constituencies consider that applications for restricted or chartered TLDs should have clear and specific rules about:

  • who is permitted to register second-level domain names in that space;
  • what activities are and are not appropriate or acceptable on the corresponding sites, and
  • for what purposes.

All applicants for restricted or chartered TLDs should provide speedy and efficient mechanisms, which can be invoked by interested third parties, to implement and enforce these rules, and the capability to revoke rapidly domains that do not comply with defined purposes and conditions.

6.2 On Dispute Resolution:

ICANN statistics show that the UDRP provides a valuable tool, for cases where domain names in .com, .net and .org have been registered in bad faith, for the quick resolution of legitimate rights to the domain name, in a fair, efficient, and cost-effective manner. Given the success of the UDRP in existing open TLDs, there will be benefit in expanding the UDRP to new TLDs, including chartered or restricted TLDs.

Registries in new chartered or restricted TLDs should supplement their unilateral capacity to revoke a fraudulent registration by adhering to an expanded UDRP, under which the registration or use of a domain name in a chartered or restricted TLD in violation of the TLDs charter or other pertinent rules would demonstrate bad faith. This would give an interested member of the consuming public the ability to ensure that a bad faith actor will not be permitted to use the name in the chartered or restricted TLD.

Any Registrant found to have provided false information on its entitlement to register in that TLD, or to have registered or used a domain name registration in a chartered or restricted TLD in violation of its established purpose, should have the offending domain name removed from the TLD. As the above requirements already apply to all registrants in the established TLDs. In all TLDs, knowing submission of false contact data, or use of a domain for illegal purposes, should be grounds for revocation of the registration.

6.3 On Support for WHOIS facilities:

It is essential that all applicants for new TLDs, as a condition of their assignment and as a material element in their continued accreditation, agree to participate in the operation of a cross-registry WHOIS database, which will provide searching capabilities and access to all information concerning domain name registrations regardless of which TLD the domain name is registered in or which registrar processed the domain name application. Such agreement shall further require all applicants to keep the cross-registry WHOIS database current and comprehensive.

ICANN should require operators of the new TLDs to disclose sufficient information on the registrants that contending applicants can contact those registrants to resolve domain name ownership issues. All new TLDs operators should provide the means by which the registry administrator will work with accredited participating registrars to provide the public with unfettered access to complete and up-to-date data for each registered domain name record.

The minimum information provided must contain the following:

  • the TLD and second-level domain name in which the name is registered;
  • status of the domain name, e.g., "on hold" or "deleted";
  • registrant's name and postal address;
  • administrative/technical contacts' name, postal address, e-mail address, telephone number and (if any) facsimile number;
  • NIC handles and IP address;
  • original registration date, expiration date and date on which the database was last updated;
  • Internet Protocol addresses and corresponding names of primary and secondary name-servers for the SLD; and
  • registrar's name and web site address or hyperlink thereto.

Additionally, members of the public need to be able to search for all domain names registered to a particular registrant, at a particular postal address, or involving a particular contact, without an arbitrary limit. This ability is important under the UDRP, for example, to demonstrate a "pattern" of bad faith conduct.

The Business & Commercial constituency acknowledges that disclosure is subject to various national laws affecting data privacy, but applicable conditions should not permit registrants to opt-out of identification and avoid resolution of Domain Name ownership.

7. Support for Proposals:

ICANN should assign the new TLDs to proposers whose applications provide the greatest scope for the rapid extension of the Internet to the public at large. For example, by enabling access through proposals including existing addressing systems such as telephony numbering. This will also meet the requirements for expanding competition, as there are multiple service providers in such industries.

ICANN should also assign new TLDs to proposals that offer the capability of improved access for users through a directory-based TLD. This will enhance and accelerate usage of the Internet by many who seek greater selectivity in searching for contacts providing products and services, enabling greater adoption of e-commerce solutions.

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