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CONTACT: Amy Smorodin
November 18, 2009
(202) 289-8928
New gTLD Expressions of Interest: Proceed with Caution
Palage Offers Suggestions to Ensure Useful Insight is Gathered in Process

WASHINGTON D.C. - The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) should look to precedents if it chooses to move forward with soliciting Expressions of Interests for new Generic Top Level Domains, states Adjunct Fellow Michael Palage in "New gTLD Expressions of Interest: Proceed with Caution," released today by The Progress & Freedom Foundation.  Previous EOIs were successful in helping ICANN gather pertinent data to judge likely gTLD demand and make fact-based decisions.

In the paper, Palage, a former ICANN board member, states that the Expression of Interest, if well executed, could help to address a number of the remaining issues with implementation of new gTLDs. If executed improperly, however, the initiative will likely erode confidence in the new gTLD process and negatively impact ICANN's evaluation in the upcoming reviews under ICANN's new Affirmation of Commitments.

Palage warns against proposals to make participation in the EOI a condition for participating in the first new gTLD round.  He also warns against instituting substantial fees to file, stating that both proposals deviate from established precedent.  Palage explains that such actions would transform a fact-based gathering EOI into a "front-running scheme for insiders to reserve their space at the front of the new gTLD line." 

The proposal would fail to create a level playing field for potential applicants.  Moreover, this proposed front-running approach would likely only increase ICANN's litigation risks by appearing to grant a license or privilege in a process which may ultimately diverge from present expectations.

"The path forward for ICANN is a road that it has previously traveled - and one which has served it well," concludes Palage.  "There is little benefit to deviating from these established precedents to benefit the narrow interests of a small number of TLD applicants whose business plans have been jeopardized because of ICANN's decision to listen to the global community by slowing down and getting things right."

"New gTLD Expressions of Interest: Proceed with Caution" is available on the PFF website.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation