MakingIDN gTLDs Attractive and Safe

AMGlobal’s response to the Circle ID article “Making IDN gTLDs Attractive and Safe” by Tina Dam

Tina,

There’s a lot to like in your proposal. There’s a lot of common sense and a lot that fits what we members of the Joint Applicant Support Working Group have been discussing.

As you know, our group is tasked with looking at how the community can support deserving applicants, especially applicants from emerging markets, so that they can participate in and benefit from the new gTLD process. And, while I’m not sure I’d go as far as to accept the $185k application fee as a given – after all, it’s hardly a “level playing field” if you are applying from Senegal or Sri Lanka – I agree with what I see as your broader premises: that the goal is to get people where they want to go on the web, and to represent groups in the way they see themselves.

You mention the tt-gTLD as an example, and your approach seems sound. In our Working Group we’ve also looked at the importance of working with communities, NGOs and others that have a multi-script identity, groups around the world who want to go about their day to day lives using more than one script. Some of these are in larger languages, such as Bengali and English in India, Arabic and French in Tunisia or in smaller cases, such as the Cree community in North America that uses both Latin and Cree script.

The key here is that to offer them the choice of only one script (or two scripts at the bargain price of $370k), well, this is an unacceptable choice for all but the wealthiest communities, NGOs and local companies. It’s like asking which one leg would you like to stand on?

Clearly more work needs to be done on this to get the balance right. That said, as you rightly note the “technical” cost of an additional tt-gTLD (or a “connected IDN” for that matter) is not an additional $185k. In fact, dual-script applications wouldn’t need a subsidy at all assuming the applicant would pay the incremental cost of evaluating a second string.

If we want to accommodate minority languages as you say in your point 6, I think we need to stop discriminating against these dual script communities and see them as they are – one application representing two parts of a applicant’s self expression.

I hope that the ICANN community will support our Working Group as we try to build the expertise and raise the funds that will be needed to provide support to needy groups. I believe we can get to what Peter Dengate Thrush discussed today in Brussels – a process that is predictable and not subject to gaming. Still, in our push for certainty, let’s not confuse users or penalize groups who, unlike most of here in the US, are capable of living and working in more than one script.


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