Sunday, January 23, 2005

No More Unsponsored TLDs?

In another blow to the aspirations of Chris Ambler to finally launch .web, three of ICANN's GNSO constituencies (the BC/ISP/IP triumvirate) have declared: "All future names should be sponsored". The release of their White Paper on limited Internet domain name expansion follows Vint Cerf's highly publicized remark:
I want to go on record as saying, because I said it in another session a couple of days ago, that I am no longer sure that I have a strong understanding of why I would be motivated to create a new TLD. I'm just suggesting that having a solid philosophical basis that doesn't lead to a serious problem later will make me a lot more comfortable than I am right now, which is why the gTLD process, this whole discussion about criteria and everything else, is so important. That's why the white papers will be very helpful.

Where Vint leads, the minions apparently follow. But what can we say about this White Paper? It seems to be no more than a reprise of the much earlier BC paper "A Differentiated Expansion of the Names Space" (with a fresh update to attack the auction model proposed by both the OECD and Mueller/McKnight). For those interested in a much more reasoned approach to the issue, consider reading the March 2003 Manheim/Solum paper: "The Inefficiencies of Differentiated Expansion: an analysis and critique of the Business Constituency position paper on expansion of the top level namespace".


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