DAGv4 – First Glance

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The New gTLD Applicant Guidebook, Version 4.0 was released to the public today. Upon first glance, it appears to contain quite a bit of additional material to help guide perspective New gTLD applicants through the application process.

As I was skimming the text I came to a dead halt at section 1.2.1 on eligibility (also see the Draft New gTLD Agreement page 5: Use of Registrars) when I realized that what we had expected had arrived. The section of interest reads as follows:

“Applications will not be considered for any of the following:

1. ICANN Accredited Registrars or their Affiliates;
2. Entities controlling or Beneficially Owning more than 2% of any class of securities of an ICANN Accredited Registrar or any of its Affiliates; or
3. Entities where 2% or more of voting securities are beneficially owned by an ICANN Accredited registrar or any of its Affiliates.

Further, applications where the applicant has engaged an ICANN-accredited registrar, reseller, or any other form of distributor or any of their Affiliates (or any person or entity acting on their behalf) to provide any registry services for the TLD will not be approved.”

We had expected as much seeing that the ICANN Board voted in favor of a resolution for strict vertical separation and no cross-ownership back in March.

There is still a lot of work to be done on this issue, and at this very moment there or dozens of specialists and industry leaders actively participating on the Vertical Integration Policy Development Process Working Group to find a viable solution that maximizes consumer welfare.

The Draft New gTLD agreement specifically states that the text above is “possible implementation language.” Nonetheless, this information is very important for applicants to know and understand. Please feel free to weigh in on this topic or any other items related to the New gTLD process. Comments are most welcome.