The ICANN new gTLDs program brings a lot of challenges

I would like to underline some of them. First, a point about the way we organized the debate here in Singapore. Stakeholders should have been able to interact on an equal footing. « Equal footing » means to listen also to the non GAC part of the community about the new gTLDs program before it’s final adoption. In line with ICANN’s values, it would have been better if all the parties had had an opportunity to express their views. Limiting the debate to GAC-Board increased the potential for misunderstandings. Another point I wish to make is about the principle of « cost recovery ». Despite the pleasant sound of the word, it is not always a good idea. It is just as if we asked the new telcos that enter a monopoly market to pay for the cost of introducing competition. Cost recovery can mean discrimination against newcomers and favoring incumbents. The proposed timeline is too long. But I hope it will help new projects to emerge. I believe it allows the ICANN community to prepare a satisfactory solution to help needy applicants. Some people fear that new gTLDs will cause confusion. To decrease the risk we need to be able to adapt the program without letting the timeline slip. Most importantly we need to announce when a second round will be open. That will decrease the pressure on the upcoming round. Many potential applicants will prefer a later round. But they can only do so if they have a reliable timeline. Concerning the fear of confusion: for any reform, there will be a phase of stress until people get used to the change. The longer we defer a reform, the more there will be stress when we finally act. In the case of new gTLDs, I trust that we have the tools to ensure that the phase of stress will be brief. It means, of course, that we need to be able to apply remedies once problems appear. Taking GAC advice, and other stakeholder input, are key mechanisms for this. The only way to complete the preparations of the new gTLD program is to place it into real life. This is why I will vote for the new gTLDs program.