A statement on "Addressing the Consequences of Name Collisions" from TLD Registry's CEO, Arto Isokoski

On the 5th of August, 2013,  ICANN announced its “Addressing the Consequences of Name Collisions” report, and its recommendations. As a "New gTLD" registry with primarily Chinese top level domains, our view of the report’s substantial impact is nuanced with a different perspective than other New gTLD domain name registries, especially in light of the priority given by ICANN to Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) applicants.

The one factor seemingly not considered by ICANN is the Chinese New Year, which begins on January 30, 2014. Similar to the “silly season” of Christmas and western New Year, the Chinese Lunar New Year is a business blackout period in which no business, government or media activities can be transacted in the China region. Our own planning shows that if the report’s recommendations are implemented, no Chinese new gTLD can sensibly achieve general availability until May 2014.

This affects a wide range of applicants including us.

ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade has said on several occasions that it’s his hope that the Chinese new gTLDs will lead the overall program, in addition to Arabic and Cyrillic new gTLDS who have already signed registry agreements with ICANN.

We believe that if the report’s recommendation of a 120-day delay for name resolution after RA contracting is finalised, the overall new gTLD program will be needlessly delayed by some 5 or 6 months. This will result in damaged reputations for New gTLD applicants and, in the case of Chinese IDNs (which is our main concern), within key influencer segments.

The Chinese New Year falls soon after the Christmas and western New Year period, causing an effective business blackout period from December 13th, 2013 to at least February 17th, 2014. This is a crucial five weeks which falls exactly in the late landrush and general availability launch periods for our, and presumably many other, registries.

The knock-on effect of this interruption is that, if the recommendations are adopted by the ICANN Board, general availability will delayed until May 2014.

Our executive and go-live teams have crunched the dates since the report’s release on Tuesday. We offer for consideration several “before and after” [the report’s] scenarios.

A gTLD launch scenario, pre-ICANN “Collisions recommendations”:

  • September 23 -- Possible contracting date
  • Mid October -- Pre-Delegation Testing of an optimistic two weeks
  • Transition to IANA/delegation: two weeks
  • Sunrise notification period (30 days)
  • End October -- Sunrise (mandatory 30 days)
  • End November -- Landrush
  • End December -- General availability
Slide from ICANN New gTLD webinar June 5

Slide from ICANN New gTLD webinar June 5

Same gTLD launch scenario, post-”Collisions recommendations” (if effected):

  • September 23 -- Possible contracting date
  • January 23 -- Conclusion of “Collisions Avoidance” 120 day delay in name resolution, for 80% of new gTLDs (including those with zero collisions in the report’s data)
  • January 30 -- Chinese New Year’s eve, beginning of business blackout period
  • February 17th -- First day back at work for most middle-management level Chinese government and business people
  • February 24th -- Realistic first day back at work for most upper-level Chinese government and business people, as well as resumption of normal media reporting. Pre-Sunrise marketing and communications to begin.
  • March 10th -- Earliest sensible Sunrise period begins after two weeks of pre-Sunrise marketing and communications
  • April 10th -- Earliest possible Landrush period begins after sensible Sunrise dates
  • May -- General Availability

We fail to grasp how new gTLD strings with zero collisions recorded in the study should be required to submit to a mandatory and arbitrary 120 day delay before name resolution. Why should New gTLD strings which show zero collisions (such as our own Dot Chinese Online & Dot Chinese Website) be caused to delay their General Availability until May 2014?

We echo Antony Van Couvering’s very sensible view of the report’s recommendations, in particular that “[private namespace users will] presumably [be] happy to fix any errors in their network in double-quick time; it hardly warrants a long delay in delegation”.

In China and the Chinese-speaking areas around the world, anticipation for fully-Chinese URLs is extremely high. Previous delays have been been noted by the Chinese registrar, registrant and media communities, with some measure of cynicism directed towards ICANN’s management of the New gTLD process.

This latest potential delay will be yet another harm brought upon the overall new gTLD program, and will further compromise the reputation of Chinese IDNs in China.

TLD Registry recommends in the strongest possible terms that ICANN not implement the blanket 120-day delay in name resolution following RA contracting. To do so will only cause unnecessary damage to the objectives of the overall new gTLD program, to cause substantial additional costs to those with actual skin (and capital) in the game, cause a deepening of troubling cynicism about the new gTLD program in the minds of key influencers, and to negatively impact the benefits which sensible and well-prepared new gTLD registries are poised to bring to registrants and netizens across the world.

Arto Isokoski

CEO and Co-Founder