November, 2016

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ICANN to Participate in Upcoming Internet Governance Forum in Mexico

Next week, members of the ICANN community, Board and organization will participate in the 2016 Internet Governance Forum (IGF 2016). Board Chair Steve Crocker and President and CEO Göran Marby will be among the ICANN participants. The event will take place just outside Guadalajara, Mexico, from 6–9 December.

For the third time, and for the second consecutive year, the IGF is being held in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region. Hosting the IGF in Mexico gives the national and regional IGFs (e.g., LACIGF) the opportunity to show progress on their work and interact with stakeholders from this and other regions.

Why Is IGF 2016 Unique?

This is the first IGF since the U.N. General Assembly extended the mandate of the IGF for another 10 years. This extension came during the WSIS+10 Review in December 2015.

A major task at 2016 IGF will be to discuss and further codify the significant enhancements needed in information and communications technologies (e.g., new devices, systems, online information) for countries to meet the targets for the Sustainable Development Goals that the U.N. agreed to last year. These discussions will guide actions by national governments, regional and global agencies, and stakeholder groups. The IGF will also discuss pertinent Internet public policy issues such as cybersecurity and data privacy.

IGF 2016 and ICANN

For ICANN, IGF 2016 is a venue for introducing participants to ICANN's role in the Internet landscape. We'll be able to reach members of the global community who don't attend our meetings. We're particularly looking to attract new stakeholders from civil society, academia and business.

As part of the LAC Mitigation Plan, the ICANN organization is sponsoring the travel of LAC regional stakeholders so they have the opportunity to learn more about Internet governance and see how ICANN's activities fit into the global Internet governance landscape. Sponsored participants are from the Latin American Top-Level Domain Association (LACTLD), the Latin American and Caribbean Network Information Centre (LACNIC), the Latin American and Caribbean Islands Regional At-Large Organization (LACRALO) and the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO).

Working with the community, we've organized panels to explain how the post-transition ICANN will operate, with a focus on the crucial role of the new community-based accountability mechanisms. Another important topic will be the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) application process. Watch for our Open Forum and the Day 0 "Town Hall.

We hope to see you in Guadalajara.

New gTLDs – Competition, Consumer Trust & Consumer Choice Review Interim Findings & Next steps

The Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Review Team (CCT-RT) just concluded a week of meetings at ICANN57 in Hyderabad. The CCT-RT held two days of face-to-face meetings, an engagement session with the ICANN community, a meeting with the ICANN Board as well as several Chair updates to ICANN Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees (SO/ACs) to share its preliminary findings.

The Review Team is going through research findings and developing initial recommendations. Significant progress was made at ICANN57 to refine the team's findings and form the draft recommendations. These recommendations will be posted for public comment.

What were the Three Major Achievements of this Meeting?

The CCT Review Team:

  1. Developed consensus of findings within the Review Team subgroups in order to further its drafting sessions;
  2. Received community input during its engagement session;
  3. Updated SO/ACs and the ICANN Board on the progress of the CCT Review.

Key Findings Presented at ICANN57

At a high level, it appears that nothing dramatic has occurred from the standpoint of increased competition or cost. Overall, the sense is that the Program is moving in the right direction. This is based on the following key findings:

Consumer Competition and Consumer Choice Findings

  • The New gTLD Program is seeing an encouraging adoption rate by the marketplace. Current trends show that second-level new gTLD registrations are evenly split with second-level registrations in legacy gTLDs. In just the last two years, new gTLDs have grown to capture 9% of market share1. New gTLDs represent about half the overall growth in gTLD registrations since the end of 2013, and about one-third of the increase in total registrations (including ccTLDs).
  • There has been a decrease in concentration among registries as a result of new gTLD entry.
  • The structure of the TLD market, with more registry service providers providing backend services and registrars providing distribution services, has apparently lowered the overall minimum viable scale of registry operation. This may allow smaller registries to operate when they otherwise would not because of high capital and marketing costs.
  • As a measure of choice,18% of users prefer to register in new gTLDs even when the second-level domains (SLD) is available in .COM. This is particularly true in Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) TLDs. In some IDN TLDs, >60% of SLDs registered are available as exact matches in .COM.2 However, a majority of new gTLD registrations (65%) are parked or unused, although there is considerable per-TLD variation (e.g., .xin is 95% parked, .science 23% and .xyz 65%).
  • The amount of defensive registrations appears to be well below feared numbers, but the CCT-RT anticipates answers to an impact survey the International Trademark Association (INTA) plans to field in the next couple of months will provide more information on costs borne by trademark holders.

Safeguards & Consumer Trust Findings

  • Due to the newness of the safeguards and the lack of specific data regarding DNS abuse before and after the New gTLD Program, and the impact of the safeguards on DNS abuse, it is difficult to draw conclusions at this time about the effectiveness of safeguards. As such, the CCT-RT examined the implementation and enforceability of the safeguards and found them generally to be both implementable and enforceable. These findings indicate that ICANN is taking positive steps toward creating a more trustworthy DNS while mitigating the risks associated with its expansion.
  • Examining rights protection mechanisms introduced with the Program, the CCT-RT sees a drop in Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) proceedings without a corresponding increase in Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) proceedings, leading to an overall drop of 7% (Total complaints filed: UDRP + URS). This might speak to the effectiveness of the Trademark Clearinghouse.
  • The global consumer and registrant surveys, published in two phases a year apart, begin to shine a light on consumer preferences and the tie between familiarity and perceived awareness. While it's difficult to make assessments about trust in the absolute, it seems clear there has been no degradation of trust in the DNS overall, and that users have a preference for gTLDs that have meanings. They also have an interest in restricted TLDs and enforcement of those restrictions.

Application & Evaluation Process Findings

  • One of the studies most recently commissioned by the CCT-RT is of potential applicant cohorts in the global south. In an attempt to ascertain why there weren't more applications from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia, the study conducted a set of interviews of entities that did not apply for new gTLDs but might have if there had been better outreach, access to better information/help and a better understanding of costs. It's clear that improvements can be made to the outreach process, especially with more information and potential templates and case studies for new entrants to explore.
  • Results from a partially completed survey of applicants revealed significant frustration with the application process but respondents said that overall they would apply again, even with the same system. Most process improvements would aim at increasing the clarity and efficiency of the process.

More Data

One thing that has become clear to the CCT-RT is the need for additional data to be collected and curated by ICANN on a more regular basis. A large part of the recommendations will involve the need for robust and complete datasets for future review teams, outside analysts and policy development teams.

What are next steps for the Review Team?

The CCT-RT will take research findings and community recommendations and spend the next 6 weeks building a draft report. The report will be posted for public comment in December 2016. While the Review Team already has data from studies and surveys that serve to inform its work, it is hoping to factor additional reports into its final report, as outlined in the graphic below.

CCT-RT research findings community recommendations

What is the next opportunity for Community members to observe/participate?

The CCT-RT will be seeking public comment on its draft recommendations in December 2016. In the meantime, it welcomes any feedback you may have and invites you to share your view via (publicly archived mailing-list).

1 Registration data for gTLDs from ICANN monthly transaction reports for October 2013 and March 2016

2 Data is based on BRDA registration data from April 2016

Presidents Corner: Increased Reporting to the Community

Ahead of each Board workshop, the ICANN Organization Executive Team compiles a brief report for the Board that summarizes each department’s highlights, milestones and provides an overview of recent activity. In our continued commitment to increased transparency, we will begin making these reports public. You can expect to see updates in the following areas of the organization’s activities:  

  • Communications
  • Contractual Compliance & Safeguards
  • Development and Public Responsibility Department
  • Finance
  • Global Domains Division
  • Global Stakeholder Engagement
  • Government and IGO Engagement
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Legal
  • Multistakeholder Strategy and Strategic Initiatives
  • Office of the Chief Technology Officer
  • Operations
  • Policy Development Support

The Board Reports will be posted here, in the President’s Corner, approximately five to six times a year, around each Board workshop, including those that occur during the ICANN Meetings.

Details on the Board meetings and activities can be found here.

The report we provided the Board for their Hyderabad workshop is here.

This is not intended to be a list of all of the activities of the organization, but an overview of many of the things that the organization is working on. Do not hesitate to reach out to me and my team with any questions you may have.