Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit public benefit corporation
incorporated under the laws of the State of California in the United States of America with its offices
at Los Angeles, CA, USA. By various arrangements, contracts and other instruments, it has responsibilities
for the coordination of the global resources of Internet Names (Domain Names) and Numbers (IP addresses
and other Number resources). Its bye-laws and other executed instruments, ICANN is committed to
a multi-stakeholder decision-making and governance model for making policy and taking decisions involving
the global stakeholders from Government, Business, Civil Society and International Organizations. Chief
among its many commitments is that it shall act in the Global Public Interest and to confirm to the certain
norms of Accountability and Transparency.
Prior to the year 2012, there were 21 Top Level Domain Names including .com, .net, .org, and out of these 21 names. A market share in the order of 90% was held by of the gTLD space by the top 5 domain names, with at least 75% held by domain companies based in the United States.
ICANN Board, after nearly 10 years of debates, announced the "new gTLD" program in 2012, and opened up opportunities for applicants from around the world to apply for new Top Level Strings such as .shop or .book (generic names), .nyc or .berlin (geographic names) and top-level strings in non-ascii scripts such as Chinese or Hindi (Internationalized Domain Names known (IDN).
Of the 1930 applications for new gTLD received, 902 applications came from 21 large enterprises who applied for between 10 and 307 applications each. Europe and America accounted for 1586 applications. Applications from Developing countries were so few as reflected by the fact that ICANN received a total of 3 requests for applicant support from Developing country applications from out of a total of 1930 applicants.Nameshop application is one of these three applications.
Nameshop originally applied for the string .IDN (abbreviation for "Internationalized Domain Names",
which actually are Domain Names in non-ASCII scripts for example, Domain Names in Hindi, Tamil or Chinese).
The new gTLD .IDN was applied for as an ASCII string with the english letters I D N.The idea is to offer
it the users who register an Internationalized Domain Name script such as Hindi or Chinese, as an
additional name in ASCII script (English) with the extension .IDN. Their domain name with the .IDN
extension would serve an English name (layer) of their Internationalized Domain Name, mapped to their
Internationalized Domain Name to the same webspace in their respective languages. This idea has the
potential to serve the purpose of contributing to the Internet Community's efforts to keep the Internet
as One Internet as a global space.
The "Applicant Guide book" is the book of rules for approving an application for a new gTLD. This rule book, under section 'Policy Requirements for Generic Top Level Domains' III 3.1 states that "Applied-for gTLD strings in ASCII must be composed of three or more visually distinct characters. Two- character ASCII strings are not permitted, to avoid conflicting with current and future country codes based on the ISO 3166-1 standard." In this section, III.3.1. on what is not permitted, there is no mention of alpha 3 country codes, while this section unambiguously reserves two character ISO standard country codes.
Under the section on 'Geographic Names Review', 188.8.131.52 the guide book states that strings that are country or territory names will not be approved. Here, what is stated as "will not be approved" includes 184.108.40.206.1.i alpha-3 code listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.
As an applicant applying for a generic ASCII string, that is not a Geographic String or Country Code for country level operations, the title "Geographic Names Review" appeared to be that of a section offering guidelines pertinent only to the applications for geographic names (strings), so the caution on alpha3 ISO codes was completely missed.
Nameshop as the applicant for .IDN had no intention of positioning this TLD in any manner as a country level TLD to cause any confusion whatsoever. Nameshop requested ICANN to take into account the fact that the string + idea + business model makes the application. Viewed together, .IDN is global, with a larger purpose and the idea as conceived to be implemented by a fair business model would indeed add enormous value to ICANN's new gTLD program in the area of IDN implementation.
The request to ICANN was:
1. To consider .IDN for delegation, if the above details would satisfy the ccNSO and the GAC.
2. If there are difficulties, to allow Nameshop to change the string to another string of three or more ASCII characters that is not reserved, not a country or territory name, uncontentious but represents the purpose of this TLD.
Nameshop assured GAC that the applied for string, .IDN is in the generic,
global TLD space, and not a geoTLD, and not intended for country level
operations. This is an ASCII TLD for the benefit of idn.idn registrants
worldwide. Though not filed as a Community TLD, it is a TLD with a
larger Community purpose, as the idea and purpose of .IDN is to offer a
bridge for the Internationalized Domain Name Registrants to connect to
users beyond their own language communities. While Internationalized Domain Names enable
users to connect within their language communities locally, the proposed
gTLD would connect users from different communities to connect
globally. This gTLD would be of help in furthering the Internet
Community's efforts to preserve the Internet as a unified, Global space.
It was assured that Nameshop has no intentions of positioning .IDN in any manner as a country level TLD to cause any confusion whatsoever. I hope ICANN would take into account the fact that the string + idea + business model makes the application. Viewed together, .IDN is global, with a larger purpose and the idea as conceived to be implemented by a fair business model would indeed add enormous value to ICANN's new gTLD program in the area of IDN implementation.
Governmental Advisory Committee was requested to kindly take note of the above facts.
A Change request was submitted by the available process on September 30, 2012 to change the string to .Internet, which is not a geographical string, not a reserved or prohibited string, not an applied for or contented string but a fair, permissible string highly relevant to the mission and purpose of the Nameshop new gTLD application.related Documents Sep 30, 2012
-Months ahead of the Public Interest Commitment process, Nameshop committed to:
1.Nameshop committed to establish a Board comprising at least three Internet Leaders to set directions for .Internet to be managed responsibly, as benevolently as possible.
2. Nameshop committed to set aside, year after year, one quarter of its Income for the good of the Internet. However if funds for Internet causes are sufficiently available, the Trustees will have the flexibility to allocate and utilize funds for inadequately funded humanitarian causes- withoutany geographic discrimination
The letter from new gTLD staff stated:
"Your request that the string “.IDN” not be considered a geographic name conflicts with the reservation of that three-letter string in ISO 3166-1 as a code representing “Indonesia” as you have also noted in your communication.
So as not to introduce a potential conflict withfuture ccTLDs, names and codes that may be eligible to be delegated as ccTLDs are not permitted to be applied foras gTLDs in this round. It is not possible to waive these restrictions during this round of new gTLD applications.
We would also like to acknowledge receipt of your request to change the applied-for TLD.
ICANN takes all change requests seriously and will review your request carefully against the criteria published at
http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/customer-service/change-requests.We will notify you once adetermination has been made.
On the .IDN decision, Nameshop replied the intention is to seek a solution that does not create
difficulties for this ICANN process. As there are complications with the request
(1) to allow the applied for string dotIDN, nameshop requests ICANN to favouably consider request
(2) to change the string [to .internet] as prepared and submitted as per published guidelines.
Nameshop assured ICANN once again that the string would be managed responsibly and in tune with ICANN's overall mission.
ICANN notifies Nameshop that there is an overpayment of US $ 5000 on its account. Nameshop had paid $ 5000 + $47000 instead of the required total of $47000.related Documents Dec 22, 2012
Nameshop Published Public interest commitments submitted after ICANN announced the Public Interest Commitment process. Nameshop reaffirmed its commitment to consult the Community for good practices, set aside one quarter of its profits for the good of the Internet, establish an independent Board to manage the founddation.related Documents Feb 18, 2013
Request to Change the appliled for string from .IDN to .INTERNET denied. No reasons are assigned. It is a letter that says that the change request has been rejected. Nameshop posted a quick response in the CRM to say that it would like to appeal against this decision.related Documents Feb 19 2013
Nameshop posted a message at the CRM notifying ICANN that it would file an appeal against the Change Request decision. Nameshop also stated that [in the evaluation process] Nameshop has not received any clarifying questions so far..related Documents Feb 20, 2013
The applied for string .INTERNET suits the mission of connecting Internationalized Domain Name users to
the Global Internet space and of contribution to the community's efforts to keep the Internet as One Internet.
The changed string is not reserved, not a country or territory name, not an already applied for string, so, uncontentious, and the string represents the purpose of this TLD. The Change Request was in conformity with all the criteria specified for allowing changes as explained in this letter to the Chair, CEO and the Chair of the Board new gTLD Program Committee.
Nameshop had instructed ICANN, in response to a notification from ICANN of an overpayment of $5000 on the Nameshop Application Account, to refund the same to the Nameshop Account on February 4, 2013. The instructions were clear and umabiguous. But ICANN, by a message posted in the CRM, notified Nameshop that the entire Application Fee is being refunded on the "withdrawn" application. A serious error, repeated at least twice again [by ICANN], causing the applicant to believe that there was [apparently] a certain degree of urgency on the part of ICANN to cause the applicant to withdraw the application.related Documents March 11, 2013
The Applicant Support Decision did not assign reasons for the decisions. The decision was arbitrary and coincided with the change request communication.related Documents March 11, 2013
The letter from ICANN on the Applicant Support Decision by the SARP panel said that the evaluation fee amount of $47000 will be refunded.related Documents March 12, 2013
Nameshop immediately posted its Initial response on Applicant support decision. Nameshop indicated that it would file an appeal, asked ICANN NOT TO initiate any process to close the applicationrelated Documents March 12, 2013
In response to Nameshop's message proposing an appeal against the SARP decision, ICANN responded to say that the Applicant Support Decision by the SARP panel is not subject to appeal.related Documents Mar 19, 2013
The reconsideration requests were presented with the request to the Board Governance
Committee to view this essentially as a request for reconsideration of Nameshop's Change
Request and Applicant Support request.
There are two matters presented here for reconsideration together, as both affect the new gTLD application from Nameshop in such a way that the entire application is blocked from making timely progress. One pertains to Staff AND Board Inaction on the Applicant's appeal against the unexplained decision on the Nameshop Change Request; another pertains to the Staff Action/Inaction leading to the SARP panel decision on Applicant Support, also unexplained and non-specific on the rationale for the ruling, but both are cases where both Staff Action/Inaction could be only a partial cause, with Board Inaction broadly resulting in the adversity suffered.
In these instances affecting the Nameshop application (as possibly in another SARP decisionand possibly in some other new gTLD decisions/in decisions which are beyond the scope of the Nameshop request for reconsideration) there is an intricate interplay of Staff and Board Action / Inaction contributing to wrong decisions / delays.
Such an interplay occurs due to a certain excessive caution on the part of both the CEO / Senior Staff and the Chair and Members of the Board which causes them to be detached from the new gTLD process to the point of being so disconnected that the new gTLD process is neither run by the Board nor by Staff, nor fully reflecting the general will of the multi-stakeholder community of ICANN.
The Chair and some members of the ICANN Board have declared some form of conflict of interest, which in most cases is possibly indirect and/or narrow. While it indicates high standards on the part of those with a declared conflict of interest to recuse themselves, this also amounts to a 'generic' withdrawal from the entire process, grossly disproportionate to the narrow (small or insignificant) conflict of interest that might actually be.
While there is merit in staying away from deliberations and decisions with perceived legal implications, this also leads to a situation of insufficiently deliberated / unattended decisions, which causes greater harm to the process as in this instance of considerably significant substantial material harm to this applicant.
Nameshop has presented a purposeful and meaningful business concept, a TLD 'position' (a term from the Marketing terminology) of appeal to all International Domain Name registrants, with a memorable, appealing string with the good fortune of being uncontended .Internet – which is purposeful besides being commercially valuable.
The spirit of this request as a reconsideration request on inaction of Staff at the CEO level and on inaction of the Chair and Members of the Board arises from the belief that the CEO and the Board are accountable for any shortfall at any level in the process, whether or not the omission is caused by members internal to the organization or external, of the present time or in the distant past. The applicant believes that at the highest level of ICANN, such degrees of accountability is broadly assumed.
Absence of attention by the Chair and Members of the Board and CEO to the facts made available to them is therefore cited as the primary cause for this situation that affects the applicant.
Neither the facts available were fully considered, nor was there any indication of any effort to ask for more information/clarifying information where necessary.
During the Beijing meeting Nameshop met with the ICANN Ombudsmanrelated Documents Apr 6, 2013
At the Governmental Advisory Committee meeting, a GAC members sought clarification, "for example" on the Nameshop Application. Staff answer the GAC with a remark .IDN was not allowed, .Internet is not considered, the online information was to be so updated that they expect the Applicant to withdraw,
Letter to CEO asking him to make corrective statements, not to show a wrong status online, not to psychologically force the applicant to withdraw the application.
At the ICANN meeting in Beijing, Board Governance Committee Chair Bruce Tonkin talks
about BCG's limitation of the "Reconsideration" process and publicly hints and indirectly directs
the applicant to the Ombudsman's Office.
Ombudsman was approached by email
Bruce Tonkin, Chair of the Board new gTLD Program Committee, at the ICANN Board Meeting on 11th April at Beijing: " I just wanted to raise a topic that comes down to the accountability mechanisms that we have available. The Board Governance Committee is starting to see some reconsideration requests around the new gTLD program. And I just wanted to be clear because that term "reconsideration" sounds pretty good. It is like, great, I didn't get the outcome I wanted so I will ask another committee to come out with a second opinion. But it doesn't quite work that way. So we have three mechanisms in the bylaws. We have reconsideration. We have the independent review tribunal, and we have the ombudsman.Specifically as it relates to reconsideration, the test there in the bylaws with respect to staff actions, for example, the evaluation that they may have done on application is merely whether they followed the policy or not. It's not an actual in-depth reading the application and try to decide whether the board thinks an application is good or bad. So it is very limited really.
The other thing is the independent review tribunal is sort of the highest level of process that we have which is completely independent of ICANN. That's restricted to looking at where there's breaches of the articles of incorporation or the bylaws. So, again, it is quite limited into a specific area of our operation.That brings me onto the ombudsman. The ombudsman actually has far more capability than any of those two other methods. And the ombudsman basically has a charter that says that they can -- the primary function is to provide an independent internal evaluation of complaints that believe the staff, the board or a constituent body has treated them unfairly.
The ombudsman serves as an advocate for fairness and shall seek to evaluate and where possible resolve complaints about unfair or inappropriate treatment by the staff, the board or ICANN constituent bodies which could also be the GAC, by the way, clarifying the issues and using conflict resolution tools.So I would just encourage you to consider using the ombudsman as you start progressing through the new gTLD process, particularly where you might feel you are being unfairly treated". See pp 18-19 for Bruce Tonkin's above remarks during the ICANN Board Meeting 11th April 2013 Transcript
Meeting with the Ombudsman, does not progress beyond a point because the Ombudsman sees a limitation in the Reconsideration process - either the reconsideration is done by the BGC or by the Ombudsman. Ombudsman suggests that the Reconsideration Request be withdrawn first.related Documents Apr 12, 2013
The change request was in order, the string .internet was not an
already applied for string, not a geographical string, not a reserved string and it was a string relevant to the mission
and purpose of the gTLD application.
The Change Request confirmed to the norms laid down. The Applicant Support request had its own merits. Both these requests were arbitrarily and unfairly denied without explanations, so the Reconsideration request was filed with the Board Governance Committee on Board Inaction ([the time lapse counted from the date of the letter] on Nameshop's appeal to Chair, CEO and Board Governance Committe within a week from the Change Request Decision was conveyed, Nameshop waited for a response for a month and after that filed the reconsideration request, which is well within 30 days from the date of the Nameshop letter to the CEO / Chair on which there was 'inaction'.) as well as Staff Action/Inaction that were prejudicial.)
The BGC argued that there is no process gaps in the Change Request decision or Applicant Support Decision that merit their attention.
Also, it said "The AGB does not setforth any “appeal” process, only that an “applicant may utilize any accountability mechanism set forth in ICANN’s Bylaws for purposes of challenging any final decision made by ICANN withrespect to the Application.” (AGB, Module 6 (Terms and Conditions).) In addition, no other letter “appeal” process exists within ICANN". Also, "That some members of the Board received communications from Nameshop regarding the “appeal” does not create Board action or inaction on an item"
BCG has decided not to look into this with the claim that the reconsideration request was not within 30 days from the DATE OF THE CHANGE REQUEST DECISION, conveniently not acknowledging it as a Reconsideration request on "inaction" on Nameshop's letter of appeal.
With the Change Request decision not reconsidered, it is easier for the BGC to say "given the recommended action on the Change Request (denial of reconsideration),there remains no question that the application for .IDN is not eligible for financial assistance because geographic strings (as defined in the AGB) are not eligible for financial assistance. Therefore, reconsideration of the SARP decision on Nameshop’s application is also moot." So, in effect, the Board Governance Committee has declined to take up the request to reconsider both the Change Request Decsion and the Applicant Support Decision, conveniently citing one decision in support of its decision not to reconsider the other decision.
Nameshop in its several susequent communications pointed out that such a position violated the principle of "severability" and that the Change Request and the Applicant Support request ought to have been evaluated severally according to their individual merits.
Ombudsman is approached again, a formal complaint is filed through the Ombudsman's web form, as also sent by email on the same day ( The email message is a more complete record of the complaint )related Documents May 15, 2013
On the BGC recommendation, sent to the Board new gTLD program committee, Nameshop wrote to the Board new gTLD Program Committee
with a request to return the Board Governance Committee (BGC) recommendations to the BCG.
Nameshop stated that the new gTLD program visibly and blatantly discriminates against the Nameshop application with its request for .INTERNET. Nameshop asked the new gTLD Program Committee pointedly if ICANN has unstated reasons and unwritten rules related to this generic string, which as stated in the Change request, is relevant to the purpose of this new gTLD application, not a reserved or prohibited string, not a geographic string, and not an already applied for or contented string.
Within the framework of the new gTLD program and within the stipulated guidelines, there are no provisions to discriminate this application for this string, which is duly applied for by the published Change Request process. While several other change requests have been approved, this request in place is treated unfairly, so a specific response is requested on ICANN's position on this specific string and a specific statement is requested reasons if any, to discriminate (if true) this applicant from being successful with the application for .INTERNET.
Nameshop asked for an assurance that ICANN is not going beyond the norms established nor creating new norms to suit its arbitrary decision on this string, which would be most unfair.
New gTLD Program Committee Action Adopting Recommendation of Board Governance Committee
BGC Recommendation on Reconsideration Request 13-2
Whereas, Reconsideration Request 13-2, sought reconsideration of: (1) Staff and Board inaction on the consideration of Nameshop's letter of "appeal" sent after denial of Nameshop's change request to change its applied-for string in the New gTLD Program from .IDN to .INTERNET (the "Change Request"); and (ii) the decision of the Support Applicant Review Panel ("SARP") that Nameshop did not meet the criteria to be eligible for financial assistance under ICANN's Applicant Support Program.
Whereas, the BGC recommended that Reconsideration Request 13-2 be denied because Nameshop has not stated proper grounds for reconsideration.
Whereas, the BGC concluded that the Reconsideration Request 13-2 challenges: (i) an "appeal" process that does not exist; and (i) the substantive decisions taken within the New gTLD Program on a specific application, not the processes by which those decisions were taken and that the reconsideration process is not, and has never been, a tool for requestors to seek the reevaluation of decisions.
Resolved (2013.05.18.NG04), the New gTLD Program Committee adopts the BGC's recommendation that Reconsideration Request 13-2 be denied on the basis that Nameshop has not stated proper ground for reconsideration.
The resolution was adopted without taking into consideration the rationale presented in the nameshop letter to the Program Committee presenting the rationale to reject the BGC recommendation
Nameshop conveyed that it wishes to go through all available processes, and that the issue is with the Ombudsman, so [ICANN] is not to [regard] the options exhausted.related Documents May 22, 2013
After the BCG recommendation was adopted, staff not to rush to close the application. Nameshop is to follow all available processes for review.related Documents May 22, 2013
Midway in the process, after saying that the "draft decision" was sent to "enable the issues to be discussed" and after promising to consider the issues in detail, the Ombudsman responds a more detailed argument by the applicant by talking about limitations over his Jurisdiction.related Documents May 23, 2103
Nameshop responded to the Ombudsman's mail to say that the Ombudsman's investigation is midway in the process, he has already sent his 'draft' decision and that it was actually the BGC which directed the applicant to the Ombudsman's Office.related Documents May 23, 2013 22:30
Email to the Ombudsman with this update and more elaborate arguments. Ombudsman talks about another limitation from the Bylaws - he can not reconsider something ALREADY reconsidered by the Board Governance Committee.related Documents May 23, 2013
Nameshop called the Ombudsman to follow up, Ombudsman again talked uncertainly about Jurisdiction limitations, but he could look into the issues if it was the BGC which directed the issue, went on to say that he may not change his draft decision, required the June 23 messages sent againJun 10, 2013
Two days later, the Ombudsman says that he has reviewed the report and that he has not changed his decision.related Documents June 12, 2013
Warren News's Washinton Internet Daily article by Dugie Standeford is published with the tile "Applicant for .internet brands ICANN denial arbitrary. Others say the decision was correct". This factual report includes views from some Domain Industry participants, some prejudicial.related Documents July 15, 2013
During the new gTLD session of the ICANN Public Forum at Durban, South Africa, Nameshop raised the following comment and questions:
It is not known if ICANN had unwritten rules related to the generic string, .INTERNET, and not finding any reasons within the published guidelines or the available process [to deny the string Change Request], the new gTLD process attempts to suppress this application vaguely citing “multiple criteria” and “absence of public interest” even when the Application revolves around the Global Public Interest of connecting IDN communities to contribute to the community's efforts of keeping the Internet as One Internet.
1. Under what criteria did you deny the the Change Request? What is the specific reason?
2. Under what criteria did you deny the applicant support request? What is the specific reason?
3. Are you now prohibiting the string .Internet or reserving it for someone? Is that fair?
The Program President's response to the Nameshop question at the ICANN Durban Public Forum followed by a written reply dated August 13,2013 together claim that the change request of the Nameshop new gTLD application to the string to “INTERNET” was denied “due to the nature of the proposed change, not the string 'INTERNET' itself”. This response attempts to justify ICANN's unfair and prejudicial decision on the Change Request with the after-thought that “Requests to change applied-for strings generally are not acceptable. The only exceptions have been in the cases of typographical or otherwise minor errors.”
These new explanations contradict what was stated in the Change Request Decision signed by Christine Willet that the Change request was “carefully evaluated”. If requests to change applied for strings are “generally not acceptable”, why would new gTLD operations claim that the Change request was “carefully evaluated” ? ICANN’s new reply signed by Akram Atallah on August 13, 2013 amounts to an after-thought and a contradiction as it assigns a new reason which completely negates the facts on record.
This new explanation that string 'INTERNET' was denied 'due to the nature of the proposed change' is not in order because it is an after-thought and it is unfair, because the seven criteria listed on this page do not prohibit requests for change of strings.
This development suggests that ICANN has adopted ex post facto rule making as part of the gTLD operations.
Nameshop non-confrontationally sought ICANN to reconsider and view the change request for .Internet not as exceptional but well within the framework of rules laid down for the new gTLD program, accord due process for fair and equal evaluation of its gTLD application in general and of the Change Request in particular.Nov 21,2013
Nameshop stated this: The Change Request process did not restrict the scope of change that can be requested
by the process; existing rules neither prohibit or exact any process regarding the request for change of strings;
all applicants may apply for a change of string, so long as the original submission was in error and the request
for change of string confirmed to the seven criteria laid down.
The string chosen in the change request - .internet - is not previously requested and thusly not in contention, not in conflict with any that is applied for; the request for .internet is not hampered by any existing reservation or rule; it is not a two or three character country code, nor geographic in any manner, is neither reserved by ICANN, nor reserved by the Internet Engineering Task Force.
the string is also not [even] reserved at the second level since existing Registries have allotted Internet.tld to applicants without restraint.
Nameshop's new gTLD applicant with a qualified string change request to .Internet, also with a qualified applicant support request. [By then] ICANN had delegated over 170 strings, but the Nameshop application still delayed. The requested string, dot Internet, is not a reserved string, not a prohibited string. In fact, internet.org has been bought by a very large U.S. social network. This goes on to further confirm that it is not a reserved string, not even on the second level. My change request is not considered coinciding with applicant support initial decision, which was adverse. [Nameshop requested to] separate the two requests on the legal principles of severability and take up the change request and hoped that ICANN will be fair and pay timely attention. The Nameshop application has a significant purpose, and has made meaningful public interest commitments for the good of the Internet.related Documents March 27, 2014
Under what criteria did you deny the applicant support request? What is the specific reason?
Under what criteria did you refuse the Change request? What is the specific reason?
Is the string .internet a reserved string under existing rules? Or is it reserved for anyone?
a) Will you affirm, the string “INTERNET,” applied for by Nameshop is not a reserved string and does not form part of the list of reserved strings entered in the Applicant Guidebook, Section 2.2.1.
b) Will you confirm if there were any other applicants, or any unrecorded indication of interest for the .internet string?
The letter also stated this:
Nameshop Public Interest Commitments were conveyed as part of the paper submitted for the Change Request. (By not paying attention to the Change Request, the Public Interest Commitments are also unacknowledged.)
The Program President, during this informal meeting, did not provide clear and direct responses to the pointed questions raised in most recent communication. Nameshop was to follow up with a written response to express disagreement with the evasive manner with which new gTLD overlooks the gaps in the process of evaluation of our application, in complete disregard of the facts we pointed out over and over again.related Documents June 25, 2014
Following the Nameshop meeting with ICANN new gTLD Program President during ICANN London in June 2014, Nameshop wrote to the new gTLD Program President to draw his attention to hurdles in initial evaluation that obstruct Executive/Board attention and that of the ICANN Community to the valuable benefits of the applicationrelated Documents Sep 12,2014
ICANN agreed for a meeting during ICANN 51 meeting but ICANN CEO and the new gTLD Program President were not present for follow up on the unanswered questions.related Documents Oct 17, 2014
New gTLD staff during the Los Angeles meeting with Nameshop advised that it would be inappropriate for the CEO to inquire further in the Nameshop evaluation and review issues but that Nameshop might petition the Ombudsman or to the IRP. This directive was opaque enough for clarification. If the position of ICANN was that ICANN's internal processes would not address the gaps outlined in the evaluation review processes, Nameshop sought clear and certain pointers as to what processes are availablerelated Documents Oct 24, 2014
In answer to the request for pointers, the new gTLD Program President points Nameshop to the Ombudsman, Board Reconsideration and IRP processes while raising doubts about Nameshop's eligibility to be evaluated according to the procedures and unfairly states that it can not advance to the subsequent phases of the Program, such as execution of a Registry Agreement with ICANN and delegation.related Documents Feb 6, 2015
With several unanswered questions that are still pending, ICANN
has directed Nameshop to the reconsideration processes. Of the
processes, the external processes such as the IRP processes are
prohibitively expensive for Nameshop as a developing country applicant
based in India.
...it is not fair on the part of ICANN to first act in a manner that is discriminatory and then expect the applicant to go through a process that is difficult and time consuming. Even with the priority of 150, the application is not moving forward for the last two years.
The reconsideration and Ombudsman
process only provide for review of process errors, and not even
errors in evaluation or other substantive problems that might
occur in the new gTLD review. ... the mechanism
that does not address anything other than process
Second, processes like the IRP are prohibitively expensive for developing countries.
The effect of these incomplete and inadequate limitations lead to a situation where the applicant does not have any recourse, and ICANN makes decisions with relative immunity...these are some of the limitations that the staff executive community and Board may have to look into and correct
The applicant had followed up on this issue by various communication to the President and Staff of the new gTLD program, to the CEO and Board, sent updates to the At-Large Advisory Committee, wrote to the Accountability Review Committees, met with the new gTLD Staff during every ICANN meeting, mostly informal, on applicant's request. It appeared perceptible that ICANN is reluctant to allow the string change that Nameshop merited as per criteria for the Change Request process, possibly because it would open up demands from other quarters to an extent that the process would not handle; ICANN wouldn’t speak of the unspoken reasons for delaying the string .Internet despite it being unreserved, despite it being used extensively on the second level; Compromises such as taking the application to the next round are unfair in view of the fact that the valuable string .Internet has been revealed as applied for by the Change process and in view of the business advantages and the time already lost; ICANN’s response has been mixed and inconsistent, characterized by a typical “Business” corporation’s supercilious legal posture of organizational might on issues raised by relatively powerless customers. ICANN has refused to admit error or wrongdoing, however blatant and glaring they are. The posture adopted would suit a commercial corporation’s legal posture towards a helpless customer rather than a global public interest non-profit Organization's posture towards an applicant with a purposeful application from a developing country. The applicant, primarily a Community participant in the ICANN process above his role an Applicant, who believes that ICANN serves the Internet well, is unwilling to escalate this issue beyond internal avenues but reiterates his promise that the string .Internet would serve not only the applicant, but also ICANN and the Internet well, and hopes that ICANN would recognize the public interest, resolve the issue internally and process the application for .Internet without further delay.related Documents July 15, 2015
Change Request to .Internet did not give ICANN a reason to stonewall the evaluation of the whole application and focus solely on the sub-process for the said change request.
At about the same time, the SARP panel’s arbitrary, unexplained, and adverse decision was given, after which ICANN remained unfairly resistant to consider the application as a whole.
As per established legal principles, ICANN should have proceeded to examine the contents of the application independent of these sub processes. These sub processes weren't meant to be preliminary or pre-conditional stages for ICANN to take up the whole gTLD application for evaluation of its merits.
ICANN should have evaluated the gTLD application in total. However, ICANN failed to do so; specifically, the new gTLD application was not even taken up for due evaluation.
There was predetermination to preclude the whole application from evaluation by convenient interpretation of the sub processes to be unspecified "preliminary conditions" for taking the application under evaluation.
This course of action by ICANN is evident from the fact that nameshop did not even receive "clarifying questions" as other applicants received
1. The string change requested by Nameshop confirmed to the original Change Request Criteria published by ICANN.
2. The change from .IDN to .Internet is the most logical change connected to the TLD concept of connecting Internatioanlized Domain Names across all language spaces, thereby preserving the Internet as a unified space. The requested string (.Internet) is not prohibited, nor reserved, nor was it applied for prior to the Change Request.
3. The Applicant support request, like the Change Request, was denied and remained mute as to the reason[s] for the denial.
4. Not only did the processes were violated, but severe limitations were experienced in the the review processes to the detriment of fair redressal.
5. The various contradictory statements by ICANN at public meetings, as well as during private meetings, points to an inclination to make ex-post facto rules beyond the rules concerning change requests.
6. ICANN's actions and inactions remain unexplained and pointed questions remain unanswered till date.
While the ICANN Board's actions on any of these items are not transparent, the Board's continued inaction on Nameshop’s several and continued communications related to the unfair and arbitrary decisions contravene various provisions of the, Bylaws including the sections as mentioned above.
Nameshop expressed hope that the Cooperative Engagement Process will bring attention to our application for .Internet to a speedy, just evaluation and delegation without any further delay
.Internet is not a reserved string, not contented and not a geographical or otherwise prohibited string. The request was accepted, published and the string was revealed.
Several weeks later, the the string change request denied, without any rationale, and to strengthen this position declined the Applicant Support Request.
These actions were challenged through the Office of the Ombudsman and the Board Reconsideration process, both of which are limited by design limitations and process flaws. Further discussions by Nameshop with ICANN are dealt with by ICANN without addressing the actual reasonssurrounding the unfair treatment of the Nameshop application
Nameshop elaborated on its commitments including:
Nameshop would manage the string by employing and engaging globally responsible individuals, each of whom would be respected for their known commitment to the Internet.
Nameshop reaffirms and steadfastly adheres to its Public Interest Commitments, ahead of ICANN’s own call for PICs and insists on rendering its voluntary Public Interest Commitments legally binding
If the new gTLD process requires Nameshop to name the people to be employed and engaged in the management of the commercial operation and also indicate nominees for the foundation to manage the 25% given away, the firm would be happy to do so.
Without detriment to general business conventions, Nameshop would institute satisfactory policies concerning the allocation of prohibited/prohibitable Domain Names, Reserved Domain Names and premium domain names, with Commercial and Community advice, largely in the interest of the Internet.
With a view for fairness without regard to the firm’s country of origin, Nameshop would legally commit to adopt a policy of geographical fairness in the registration of Domain Names as well as in all its Registry policies. Nameshop insisted on rendering its voluntary Public Interest Commitments legally binding: Nameshop commits to operate the string in such a manner that its Registry Operations would be of of certain and significant value to ICANN and the Internet.
This was to thank ICANN for the meeting and for officially recognizing the beginning of the Cooperative Engagement Process, for forwarding the Nameshop letter to the Board and CEO.
Nameshop expressed concerns that ICANN has not yet looked at the issues raised by Nameshop on the evaluation and reconsideration of the Nameshop new gTLD application, in particular, the issues surrounding its change request for the string .Internet in good faith. The Program President had left open Nameshop's request for a specific time to sit down with you and examine the issues one-by-one with due attention and regard
ICANN during the Marrakesh CEP during the preceeding week received the Nameshop letter to the Board; it was hoped that Cooperative Engagement process has actually begun in earnest at the Marrakesh meeting, but the communication of March 16 was ahead of any response from the Board and CEO to the Nameshop letter; it was contrary to what was agreed during the meeting at Marrakesh with Akram Atallah -the broad agreement was to examine the issues in good faith.
The actual issues have not been addressed during any of the Redressal processes nor during CEP as pointed out on several occasions; the letter from ICANN stated that " the issues have been discussed numerous times". This is not true. ICANN has consistently avoided responses on several points raised by Nameshop concerning evaluation and redressal gaps.
Cooperative" process is characterized by preset notions of several barriers and revolves around unilateral terms that limit the process, even dictating the date and time of engagement, or how it starts and ends, which are basics that ought to be mutually agreed upon.
On May 19, 2016, ICANN sent an email message, without addressing our concerns as expressed in various communication which are further documented in the attached PDF file, conveying ICANN’s intent to close the CEP hastily and unilaterally the following day, with a 24 hour notice, on May 20, 2016, the very next day. This action was unilateral, high-handed and arbitrary and added to the long line-up of gross and persistent violations of the evaluation processes, repeated in the reconsideration process and now repeated again in the Cooperative Engagement process. There were further exchanges with ICANN on this
It has been pointed out that this is not in good faith and that all these actions amount to an attempt to resolve the issue to ICANN’s advantage by causing Nameshop undue duress.Furthermore, the CEP disregarded that Nameshop is awaiting a response to a letter sent March 9, 2016 to the Board and CEO formally through the CEP and has sought a meeting with ICANN during June 25-30 at Helsinki.
Ombudman was requested to
Direct ICANN to set aside its message of June 4, 2016 and to proceed to examine the issues in good faith.
Direct ICANN to set up a meeting during ICANN Helsinki as requested with due attention by the ICANN Board and Executive, primarily to determine why ICANN refuses to cooperate and engage in a mutual discussions and thereafter to proceed in good faith, without further delays.
Examine the issues surrounding the evaluation and reconsideration of the Nameshop new gTLD application for .Internet and issue fair directives to ICANN to proceed in good faith and in a manner that reflects high standards in ICANN governance.
The Nameshop New gTLD application remains obstructed in the New gTLD process after several evaluation hurdles in its path, especially by ICANN's convenient ex post facto rulemaking on its evaluation of the Nameshop Change Request for the string .Internet, as well as in the evaluation of its applicant support request.
Most of the Board Members recused themselves from New gTLD issues to cause Board decisions on new gTLD matters possibly decided without a due quorum. Such action by the responsible members of the ICANN Board denied their valuable expertise on new gTLD matters. On various communications sent by Nameshop, the Board and CEO were unresponsive and have been noticeably silent on significant questions and on the several points raised.
The Board Reconsideration Committee perpetuated the unfairness by refusing to look into the substance of the issues and by refusing to reexamine the various points in good faith.
In the Cooperative Engagement Process (CEP), during the very few occasions when there was any interaction, ICANN's pre-determined 'legal' postures proved to be far removed from justice.
Nameshop once again approached the Office of the Ombudsmen for a neutral and independent intervention, but the Ombudsmen rashly dismissed the case brought before them without due examination and with the remark, “The underlying problem is that you are never going to have any prospect at all of getting this string. It doesn't matter what accountability processes you use … ” This statement conveys a predetermination on the part of the ICANN Board and Staff to unfairly deny Nameshop the string .Internet. As a result, the Ombudsmen's rulings reflect internal communications and collusion between ICANN and the Ombudsmen. There wass a visible injustice in the manner in which ICANN treated the Nameshop New gTLD application during the evaluation and reconsideration processes, which can be seen from the records of all communication already available with you, copies of which can be furnished by Nameshop if required.
Nameshop formally sent a letter to the CEO and the Board over four months ago through the Cooperative Engagement Process. Neither the CEO nor the Board has responded to the letter (attached), which addresses ICANN's concerns in delegating the string .Internet to Nameshop based in India.
Both the CEO and the Chair have refrained from paying due and adequate attention to the issues surrounding the Nameshop application. Nameshop formally requested a meeting with you, as the CEO of ICANN, to review the history, address the unfairness and lack of due process that has occurred up to this point, and discuss the delegation of .Internet to Nameshop.
The CEO and board have not responded in a manner satisfactory in form and content to several Nameshop communications; Nameshop appealed to ICANN to pay attention to the gaps and hurdles in evaluation and reconsideration of the string .INTERNETrelated Documents November 08, 2016
The focus of the letter to the Board was to reiterate and expand on Nameshop's Public Interest Commitments made ahead of the PIC process:
Nameshop would operate the string responsibly with Community advice; and give away atleast one-quarter of its profits year after year for the good of the Internet
The Domain Name System (DNS) has evolved with its own policies, conventions and business practices over the past 30 years, which has contributed to the evolution of the Internet. Nevertheless, where there are opportunities to innovatively establish independent policies to be of a greater service to the Internet users and to the DNS, Nameshop would seek to establish such practices for its own TLD operations. The letter (attached) ennumerated the proposed good work.
during the Copenhagen meeting, one of the Community Members pointed out that new gTLD program objective to, “expand and globalize the gTLD operations,” remains short of achievement, especially in terms of TLD delegations to applicants from the developing countries.
It was also pointed out that the SARP program has also fallen short of achieving its objective, as there were only three applicants and only one awarded Applicant Support.
Even though Nameshop’s Change Request hasn’t yet been allowed by ICANN, other string changes, necessitated by a certain type of problem were allowed. Nameshop’s string change request was necessitated by a different kind of problem As one participant in our meeting indicated, since ICANN approved one type of string change problem, Nameshop’s string change request also merited approval. It seems that if ICANN can allow string changes from a relatively undesirable name to a more desireable name based on misspelling, then ICANN should allow a change from a desireable name in three characters(IDN) to longer name in eight characters (Internet).
The contents of the letter was not on what has already happened, but to move forward positively with commitments to operate the string .Internet responsibly and according to the published commitments.related Documents Nov 1, 2017