After missing the Nairobi meeting due to ICANNs assessment of possible security issues, we were very eager to kick things off with the Welcome Ceremony Monday here in Brussels, Belgium. Unfortunately, we weren’t greeted with the same exciting cultural performances we were able to catch only brief glimpses of during our remote participation and live blogging during the Nairobi meeting.
The Welcome Ceremony featured some very distinguished guest speakers:
- Silvana Koch-Mehrin, European Parliament
- Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President, and European Commission for the Digital Agenda (Remote Participation)
- Marc Van Wesemael, CEO, EURid
- Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council
Each speaker provided his/her assessment of the Internet, its meaning and its future in society as well as the need for ICANN and IANA to function as a truly international body.
ICANN CEO, Rod Beckstrom opened the meeting by showcasing Europe’s leadership and innovation in the domain name space. Beckstrom pointed out that .UK, created in 1985, was the first ccTLD and currently maintains some 8.5 million domain names. Europe is home to six of the top ccTLD registries in the world:
Top ccTLD Registries in Europe
|TLD Extension||Registry Operator||Number of Registrations|
|.de (Germany)||DENIC||9.5 Million|
|.uk (United Kingdom)||Nominet||8.5 Million|
|.nl (Netherlands)||SIDN||3.9 Million|
|.eu (European Union)||EURid||3.5 Million||.ru (Russia)||RU Center||2.8 Million|
Beckstrom went on to say that the New gTLD program, which is nearing readiness for implementation, will bring about more consumer choice, non-English alternatives, and offer up greater competition for .com, .net, .eu, and other gTLDs.
Beckstrom stressed the importance that the global community understand that ICANN is not a body controlled by the U.S. and with the signing of the Affirmation of Commitments, ICANN is now, more than ever, “a multinational institution working for the common good, a stable, secure, and unified global internet.”
Beckstrom, as well as ICANN Chief Operating Officer, Doug Brent, emphasized the important work undertaken on Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) since the application filing was made possible last November. Since then, ICANN has received a total of 31 IDN ccTLD requests since beginning the application process. These 31 applications span 19 languages, and to date, four applications have been delegated. ICANN has scheduled more applications for board review later this week.
The New gTLD Draft Applicant Guide Book (DAG Version 4) was released a few weeks prior to the meeting and will be heavily discussed throughout the week. ICANN has made strides in the development of Trademark Protection Mechanisms and has more or less made a decision (default decision) on the Vertical Integration issues (which still leaves a very bitter taste in the mouths of many would-be New gTLD applicants.) Finally, much of the internet community is focused on potential outcome of .xxx. The ICANN Board made a decision during the ICANN 37 International meeting in Nairobi to defer the decision on the delegation of .xxx so we can expect ICANN to come to a resolution on this issue once and for all.
Overall, there are a lot of things to look forward to this week. We’ll be attending all New gTLD related meetings and discuss the hot topics with fellow attendees as we strive to bring .SiTE to internet users around the world.