A few of the notable strings added to the root this month (that is, newly-added TLDs) provide a glimpse into some of the factors that ICANN considers when it decides to approve or not approve new gTLD applications.
.tunes — February 25
Amazon’s application for .tunes prevailed against a Community Objection from the American Association of Independent Music. The Community Objection process allows “communities” to file a formal objection with ICANN against a certain application.
In this case, AAIM filed an objection because it felt that it was anti-competitive for Amazon to manage the .tunes TLD.
ICANN’s experts, though, didn’t buy it. To begin with, ICANN found that AAIM couldn’t legitimately claim to represent the entire “tunes” community. In fact, they took issue with the idea that “tunes” is specific enough to qualify as a community.
They also dismissed AAIM’s claims that Amazon would abuse its market power or support pirate networks as “purely speculative.”
.passagens and .vuelos — March 2
Passagens is Portuguese for fare or ticket and vuelos is Spanish and Portuguese for flights. In both cases, the application for these TLDs came from Despegar Online SRL, which describes itself as “a branch of the largest online travel agency in Latin America.”
Altogether, Despegar applied for five new TLDs. In addition to these two, they also applied for .hoteles (Spanish for hotels), .hoteis (Portuguese for hotels) and .hotel. All of their applications were met with a GAC objection. Of these, .hoteles was added last June.
Not only can industry groups and other “communities” file objections but so can ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), which is how world governments provide input into the process.
The objection claimed Despegar’s application was anti-competitive. When a TLD applicant gets a GAC objection, the GAC recommends certain actions to mitigate that. For both .passagens and .vuelos, Despegar was required to “specify transparent criteria for third party access to the TLD.”
.gmbh — March 9
For those who are not familiar, GmbH is a German abbreviation for Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, which is more or less the German equivalent of an LLC. ICANN received numerous applications for this TLD but in the end, Donuts prevailed.
Interestingly, a community TLD application was received for this TLD from TLDDOT GmbH. A Community TLD is a type of TLD ICANN created to allow certain “closely related” communities to opt to manage their own TLDs.
In this case, TLDDOT was created specifically to represent the business community in German-speaking countries. Ultimately, the community TLD application was withdrawn.
However, in the end Donuts was required to add a PIC to their application. A PIC is a Public Interest Commitment. These are ways for ICANN to amend an application to make sure that a registry uses a TLD the way it thinks it should. In this case, the PIC was primarily to make sure that Donuts had a process for limiting registrants to companies who are in fact GmbHs.
.stream — March 18
There were two competing applications for this TLD. Last year Famous Four Media beat out Hughes Satellite System Corporation for this TLD when it was put up for auction. Because .stream is obviously oriented towards video streaming services, ICANN required a PIC for this application as well.
This time it wasn’t to ensure registrants were part of a community, as was the case with .gmbh, but to address concerns that .stream would become a hotbed for illegal streaming.
The PIC for .stream includes provisions for an Acceptable Use Policy allowing the registry to quickly lock down and revoke registration of any abusers. It also includes a “Rights Protection Mechanism,” which commits Famous Four Media to make abuse prevention one of it’s “core objectives.”
You can keep track of future developments on this page from ICANN.
Remember: these are new TLDs on the cutting edge of having been added by ICANN. As such, any discussion of one of these TLDs should not be interpreted as meaning any of these extensions will be imminently available on Gandi (though we, of course, try to offer all the extensions we possibly can).