[ALAC] Proposed Amendments to Base New gTLD Registry Agreement Workspace

Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond ocl at gih.com
Mon Jun 27 10:56:58 UTC 2016

Dear ALAC members,

I am currently looking at the public consultation on "Proposed
Amendments to Base New gTLD Registry Agreement"

Reading through the material that was made available, it appears that
the issue of Dotless Domains is coming up again.

The ALAC went on record in 2012 which helped encourage the Board to
prohibit dotless domains. The ALAC Statement, which you can find on

In that Statement, the ALAC supported the SSAC advice in SAC053 which
recommended the prohibition of dotless domains. The Board agreed with
this and in the "current" round of new gTLDs, this prohibition took
place. I have checked with Julie Hammer, our SSAC Liaison, whether the
SSAC has changed its advice since SAC053. She has assured me that this
was NOT the case.

To summarize the concern, the proposed RA amendment creates a possible
path to approval of dotless domains using the RSEP process, which has
the potential to circumvent the existing prohibition.

In further details:

  * On May 31, ICANN posted proposed amendments to the New gTLD Registry
    Agreement for public comment
    These amendments have been under discussion between the Registries
    Stakeholder Group (RySG) and ICANN for 18 months. The public comment
    period closes on July 13 and there is a cross-community session
    scheduled at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday in Helsinki.


  * In 2012 and 2013, the SSAC
    <https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/sac-053-en.pdf>, IAB
    and the ICANN Board
    all recognized the risk posed by any  introduction of dotless
    domains in new gTLDs.


  * In August 2013, the ICANN Board’s New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC)
    to prohibit dotless domains.


  * The proposed New gTLD Registry Agreement (RA) amendments include a
    change in Exhibit A (Approved Services) related to dotless domains.
    While it states appropriately that dotless domains are not
    permitted, it intentionally or inadvertently introduces a new path
    for approval of dotless domains via the Registry Services Evaluation
    Process (RSEP).  The relevant language is below:


      o (Note:  The above language effectively does not allow, among
        other things, the inclusion of DNS resource records that would
        enable a dotless domain name (e.g., apex A, AAAA, MX records) in
        the TLD zone.) If Registry Operator wishes to place any DNS
        resource record type or class into its TLD DNS service (other
        than those listed in Sections 1.1 or 1.2 above), it must
        describe in detail its proposal and submit a Registry Services
        Evaluation Process (RSEP) request.  This will be evaluated per
        RSEP to determine whether the service would create a risk of a
        meaningful adverse impact on security or stability of the DNS. 
        Registry Operator recognizes and acknowledges that a service
        based on the use of less-common DNS resource records and/or
        classes in the TLD zone, even if approved, might not work as
        intended for all users due to lack of software support.


  * The explanatory notes accompanying the proposed amended RA do not
    explain why this change creating a path to approval of dotless
    domains has been included, and there has been no change in the
    position of the ICANN Board, IAB, SSAC, GAC or ALAC on this issue.
    Unlike the previously stated positions of those entities, ICANN’s
    explanatory notes are silent. How and why was this language included
    in the proposed amendment? It appears to be pointless to propose a
    path to try and circumvent such a clearly established prohibition.


  * Using the RSEP process in this manner risks demoting any future
    evaluation of registry proposals on dotless domains to ICANN staff
    without appropriate policy work and/or community consideration.


  * Introduction of this proposed use of RSEP is inappropriate and it
    should be removed. In light of the ICANN Board’s August 2013
    resolution and the significant security and stability concerns
    raised by the IAB and SSAC, dotless domains should instead receive
    the same treatment in the New gTLD RA as Wildcarding, which is
    explicitly prohibited in Section 2.2.

I look forward to your feedback and hope that the ALAC will make a
Statement about this issue in response to the Public Consultation on
Proposed Amendments to Base New gTLD Registry Agreement. Perhaps should
we include in our Statement a direct question to the SSAC asking whether
their advice has changed? This way, they would be able to respond to 
the public record accordingly.

Kindest regards,

Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond
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