RealTime IT News

ICANN Cool on .kids and .XXX

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ruffled feathers Friday morning by dismissing some domain suffix requests and questioning the effectiveness of some applicants with the release of its report on potential new top-level domain names.

Among the suffixes dismissed were .xxx and .kids from ICM Registry Inc. and scores of applications from Name.Space, including .agency and .commerce.

Jason Hendeles, president and chairman of ICM Registry (which saw .xxx and .kids rejected by ICANN), expressed concerned about the development.

"The main concern that we have right now is that there is a clear bias and unwillingness by ICANN to address the most significant concern on the Internet today which I think is the safeguarding of children against harmful content," Helendes.

"They've shown that they support the strengths of our application. They basically say that the application itself meets the criteria but because .xxx and .kids are controversial, they have concerns at this point. I don't know if that is a legitimate argument for the registry that we're proposing."

Paul Garrin, founder & CEO Name.Space, which submitted applications for 117 domain suffixes, said he thinks the decision-making was confusing because of the vague implications of .biz and .web domain suffixes, which were accepted.

"ICANN is coming at this from a totally opposite point of view from the way it should be determined," Garrin said. "They're coming at this from a bureaucratic, legalistic, top-down, authoritative structure. What we've done is actually listen to people and what they want and how is it logically organized. By arbitrarily limiting it, they're not solving the problem of artificial scarcity and they're not solving the problem of differentiation. So, widgets.com and widgets.biz or widgets.web is just more confusing. It's not enough of a distinction. If more domains that are more specific like .books or .cafe, it is much more

While those suffixes did not pass muster, ICANN agreed to pass along recommendations for three suitors courting the .web suffix -- Image Online Design Inc., which has used the denomination for four years, the Network Solutions-spearheaded Afilias LLC, and the smaller NeuStar Inc.

With more than 20,000 .web domain name holders, Image Online has unquestionably the most at stake in ICANN's voting process, which will kick off Sunday at the organization's annual meeting.

That company's Chief Technology Officer, Chris Ambler, told InternetNews.com Thursday that he was justifiably concerned that preliminary reports were not too favorable for his firm's plea to keep using .web.

ICANN's report Friday indicated he and Image Online had reason to be concerned: the organization passed Image Online's request for .web consideration by a whisker.

"Both the business/financial team and the technical team each independently concluded after the threshold review that the application from Image Online Design Inc. did not justify further evaluation," ICANN stated.

"However, because of the large number of favorable comments in the ICANN Public Comment Forum, the ICANN staff requested that the evaluation team examine Image Online Design's application more closely in the evaluation process."

The tone of the remainder of ICANN's statement about Image Online was not too encouraging, going so far as to question the group's competency in running .web as a registry:

"Image Online Design identified only three employees who would form the core competency team of the expanded company. Only one of the "core" employees has technical experience," ICANN stated. "The principal experience of the other two, the CEO and the COO, is in the operation of auto dealerships; their experience in technical management and operat