of the Internet.” ICANN does, however, have the promotion of competition as one of its core values (see Section 2, Core Values No. 5 and 6 in the ICANN Bylaws). Fundamentally, it is ICANN’s job to coordinate the unique technical parameters of Internet identifiers in a way that fosters the openness, diversity and competitiveness of the domain name registration market.
The best way to do this is to make ICANN’s selection criteria as simple, predictable and contentneutral as possible. Such a politics-free environment would make it much easier for innovators, from whatever locations, social origins or economic status, to propose and implement new ideas. NGOs, entrepreneurs and applicants from developing countries (and elsewhere) must be allowed to come up with their own ideas for new TLD names and business models. ICANN’s role could and should be simple: to provide a predictable, fair and efficient process by which those ideas can be accepted or rejected, coordinated and implemented. Doing otherwise will definitely prevent realization of “the true opportunity, promise and full participatory nature of the Internet”, particularly at the edges of the network.1
The NCUC further submits that ICANN’s only role in the acceptance process should be to determine whether a gTLD application meets the minimal technical and operational criteria that the GNSO and ICANN together should establish, thus ensuring that registry operations do not harm the global compatibility of the DNS.
b. [Examine whether preferential selection criteria (e.g. sponsored) could be developed which would encourage new and innovative ways of addressing the needs of Internet users.]
Sponsored Top Level Domains provided a valuable, and at the time controversial, point of discussion for our constituency. They definitively showed that the Internet and DNS survive and thrive with the introduction of new gTLDs. The NCUC submits that sponsored gTLDs are a beginning, and must not be an end.
The Noncommercial Users Constituency finds it unnecessary and overly restrictive to build sponsoredunsponsored concept into ICANN’s permanent framework of new registry contracts. We expressly support an open, transparent and neutral approach to new gTLDs that will encourage Internet users, organizations and companies worldwide to come forward to the ICANN community with their ideas.
The NCUC expressly does not support any attempt to declare sponsored domain names to be better than unsponsored domain names. It is for individual users to decide for themselves, by selecting when and where to register. ICANN’s role is not to tilt the Internet community’s preferences in one way or the other, especially not to favor sponsored TLDs over the unsponsored. ICANN’s clear role is to coordinate the introduction of all new gTLDs in a way that preserves global DNS compatibility, allows a broad and diverse range of innovations, and gives all a clear sense that a single root broadly serves Internet communities worldwide.