ALLOCATION MECHANISMS FOR GENERIC TLDS
The decision on whether new sponsored and unsponsored gTLDs will be introduced is a matter for
ICANN. This decision will be taken following an evaluation of the costs and benefits of the introduction of
ICANN's first round of additional gTLDs as well as the criteria ICANN has set for making this decision.
For its part, ICANN has committed itself to define and implement a predictable strategy for selecting new
gTLDs using straightforward, transparent, and objective procedures that preserve the stability of the
More broadly ICANN's consideration of the introduction of new gTLDs includes the following:
The potential impact of new gTLDs on the Internet root server system and Internet stability.
The creation and implementation of selection criteria for new and existing TLD registries,
including public explanation of the process, selection criteria, and the rationale for selection
Potential consumer benefits/costs associated with establishing a competitive environment for
Recommendations from expert advisory panels, bodies, agencies, or organisations regarding
economic, competition, trademark, and intellectual property issues.
It is important to note that not all the issues before ICANN necessarily bear on the choice of
allocation mechanisms for any new domain names. ICANN, for example, looks to the Internet Architecture
Board and its own Security and Advisory Committee for advice on issues such as what to do in the event
that a registry failures. Here the issue is to ensure continuity of service for a domain name holder in the
event of market exit by a registry. At the same time, ICANN looks to WIPO as an authoritative source of
advice on intellectual property issues. Issues such as continuity of service and intellectual property,
however, need to be considered irrespective of which allocation mechanism is adopted. They may, of
course, have implications for procedures (
contractual safeguards bearing on these issues) but they are
not considerations for the choice of allocation mechanisms.
By way of contrast, how some technical questions are resolved does impact on the choice of
allocation procedures. For example, if ICANN hypothetically decided there were few or no technical
barriers to introducing a very large number of new gTLDs, then allocation mechanisms, as opposed to any
other procedural requirements or safeguards, would be unnecessary to the extent that new gTLDs could be
given out on demand to qualified candidates.
The question to be dealt with here is whether the different allocation mechanisms available meet
ICANN's requirements for `straightforward, transparent, and objective procedures'. The key point made by
ICANN, which is relevant to a consideration of allocation mechanisms, as opposed to broader issues in an
overall assessment of new gTLDs, the need for an evaluation of selection criteria (
public explanation of
the process, selection criteria, and the rationale for selection decisions). Accordingly, in discussing
allocation mechanisms, this paper does not take a view on issues such as the number of new gTLDs which