[ALAC] Closed generic statement

Alan Greenberg alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca
Thu Feb 28 14:04:32 UTC 2013

Carlton, Evan and I worked very hard to craft a statement that we 
hoped a majority of the ALAC could support. Do you have any specific 
wording recommendations to change it to make it clearer or 
more  self-consistent?

In response to your comments, I would suggest that the opening 
sentence read "On the whole, the ALAC does not believe that unlimited 
closed generics provide public benefit."


At 28/02/2013 07:50 AM, Carlton Samuels wrote:
>The fundamental cannot be successfully refuted.  So let's look at 
>the other claim: the public interest is subverted.  The statement 
>itself does a good enough job to undermine that claim and shows up 
>the internal inconsistency of the logic utilised.
>I am asserting the evidence that supports this declaration that 
>closed generics are inimical to the public interest is well, weak, 
>at best.  All we can say for sure is that it tends to subvert the 
>existing business model.  And the evidence is right there in the statement!
>The first paragraph goes "On the whole, the ALAC does not believe 
>that closed generics provide public benefit".
>Then that is undermined by Paragraph 2: "We can foresee innovative 
>business models that might allow a closed TLD to be in the public 
>interest. An example might be a registry that makes 2nd level names 
>available at no cost to anyone, but retains legal control over them. 
>This is similar to the model used by Facebook and many blog hosting sites."
>This is the problem with the statement......"We can forseee". 
>"Forsee"!  It is projecting - projecting - an outcome with evidence 
>now available, slim as that is that mortally wounds the declaration 
>of the fist paragraph.
>Carlton A Samuels
>Mobile: 876-818-1799
>Strategy, Planning, Governance, Assessment & Turnaround
>On Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 1:00 AM, Alan Greenberg 
><<mailto:alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca>alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca> wrote:
>At Tuesday's ALAC meeting, Evan presented a statement on closed
>generic word domains that gave the two opposing positions that had
>been expressed by various ALAC and At-Large people. I suggested that
>the ALAC not vote for or against that statement, but each member say
>with side they supported. As the discussion evolved, there was some
>discomfort about simply giving a tally of the two sides, and
>moreover, that it ignored a third option that allowed some parts of
>both sides to be supported. I volunteered to work with Evan to create
>a new version.
>I did create such a 3rd "in between" option. As we were reviewing it,
>and partially guided by a message from Roberto Gaetano, Evan
>suggested that this in-between option, with some enhancements, could
>be a single statement that most or all of the ALAC could support.
>What you see here is an evolution of that statement. Thanks to
>Olivier and Rinalia who identified a number of problems with earlier versions.
>The comment period closes on March 7th, so a vote will need to be
>completed by March 6th. I believe that Olivier would like to start a
>vote relatively quickly, so if you have any problems with what you
>see here, please speak up quickly.
>This new statement is also posted on the wiki -
>On the whole, the ALAC does not believe that closed generics provide
>public benefit and would prefer that TLDs -- especially for strings
>representing categories -- were not allocated in a way that would
>lock out broad access to sub-domains. Some members of At-Large
>believe, on principle, that all closed generics are harmful to the
>public good. Others believe that, while not necessarily being
>beneficial to end users, closed gTLDs should be allowed as simply
>being consistent with existing practise for lower-level domains.
>However, in developing this response to the Board's request, the ALAC
>found the issue to be far more nuanced than the above hard positions
>would suggest. We can foresee innovative business models that might
>allow a closed TLD to be in the public interest. An example might be
>a registry that makes 2nd level names available at no cost to anyone,
>but retains legal control over them. This is similar to the model
>used by Facebook and many blog hosting sites. Allowance should be
>made for applicants interested in widespread sub-domain distribution
>that do not require domain-name sales as a source of revenue, or for
>other forms of sub-domain allocation.
>Whether a generic-word string is used with its generic meaning or in
>some other context may also be relevant. The fictitious but famous
>computer manufacturer, Orange Computers Inc. using the TLD ".orange"
>might be acceptable, while the same string used as a closed TLD by a
>California Orange Growers Cooperative (and not allowing access to
>orange producers from Florida or Mediterranean and South American
>countries) might well be considered unacceptable.
>Allowing this nuanced approach would likely involve a case by case
>review of how a TLD will be used and how its sub-domains will be
>allocated. Moreover, it would require a contractual commitment to not
>change that model once the TLD is delegated.
>In summary, the ALAC believes that completely uncontrolled use of
>generic words as TLDs is not something that ICANN should be
>supporting. However, some instances of generic word TLDs could be
>both reasonable and have very strong benefits of just the sort that
>ICANN was seeking when the TLD space was opened. Such uses should not
>be excluded.
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