http://domainincite.com/2686-go-daddy-objects-to-numeric-tel-domainsGo Daddy objects to numeric .tel domains
Go Daddy has objected to Telnic’s plan to start selling numeric .tel domain names, saying that it, among other things, “smells a lot like gaming”.
Telnic applied to ICANN last month to revise its registry contract to enable it to start selling domains containing numbers and hyphens.
I speculated a month ago that the International Telecommunications Union might object to the proposal, for reasons I explained in some depth.
(Briefly, Telnic won the .tel sponsored TLD partly because it promised for years not to enable domains that could look like phone numbers.)
But the ITU had nothing to say, at least in terms of the ICANN public comment period.
Go Daddy’s Tim Ruiz did object last Saturday on related grounds, telling ICANN:In response to Ruiz’s letter, Telnic chief executive Khashayar Mahdavi wrote to ICANN:We believe that this request cannot be granted without requiring the rebidding of the .tel sTLD itself. It is unfair to other applicants and potential applicants to allow an sTLD to change its purpose after the fact.
Since community, purpose, and use were such important aspects of the sTLD allocation decisions it seems inappropriate, fundamentally unfair, and even smells a lot like gaming, to allow an sTLD to change those aspects without an opportunity for others to bid competitively.ENUM is a protocol for addressing voice services using the DNS. It uses dots between each individual digit of a phone number, which would be specifically disallowed under Telnic’s plans.The restriction on all-numeric strings has nothing to do with the nature of .tel and was instead a measure put in place to address initial concerns about potential conflicts with ENUM… We believe time and the growing understanding of the .tel technology have proven such a conflict does not exist.
Mahdavi also expressed confusion as to why Go Daddy bothered to object – it is not currently a registry, it does not carry .tel domains and it will presumably not be affected by the relaxation of the .tel rules.
Is it possible the registrar is taking a principled stance?
Ruiz also noted:He didn’t specify which sTLDs he was talking about. Without wishing to put words into his mouth, I can think of at least one that fits the description.We believe that certain other recent requests under the guise of the RSEP [Registry Services Evaluation Process] by sTLDs were also likely inappropriate for similar reasons
The Telnic proposal has already passed ICANN’s staff evaluation. I expect it could come before the board next month at its Cartagena meeting.
In separate news, Telnic’s less-controversial proposal to start selling one and two-character .tel domains has now passed its ICANN evaluation.
Will ITU object to phone number .tel domains?
Should Telnic be allowed to let people register their phone numbers as .tel domain names?
That’s the question ICANN is currently posing to the internet-using public, after it determined that allowing numeric-only .tel domains does not pose a security and stability threat.
If you can register a phone number in almost every other gTLD (except VeriSign’s .name), then why not in .tel? On the face of it, it’s a no-brainer.
But Telnic’s request represents a huge U-turn, reversing a position it has held for 10 years, that runs the risk of drawing the attention of the International Telecommunications Union.
Telnic originally applied for .tel during ICANN’s very first new gTLD round, back in 2000.
The third-party evaluator ICANN hired to review the new TLD applications clearly assumed that .tel domains would be mainly text-based, noting that Telnic, unlike other .tel bids:The report added, parenthetically: “It should be noted that Telnic’s application does not explicitly renounce the future use of numbers”.does not make use of phone numbers in the sub-domain name, but instead uses names to designate the intended destination of VoIP calls… the Telnic application appears to have the least impact on PSTN numbering.
That all changed after November 2000, when the ITU wrote to ICANN to express concerns about the four proposed telephony-related TLDs:E.164 is the international telephone numbering plan, which the ITU oversees. It also forms the basis of the ENUM protocol, which stores phone numbers in the DNS under e164.arpa.it is the view of ITU that it would be premature for ICANN to grant any E.164-related TLD application as this may jeopardize these cooperative activities or prejudice future DNS IP Telephony addressing requirements.
ICANN’s board of directors used the ITU letter to reject all four telephony TLDs, which irked Telnic. The would-be registry filed a Reconsideration Request in an attempt to get the decision reversed.
In it, Telnic attempted to persuade ICANN that the ITU had nothing to worry about with its “text-based” and strictly non-numeric TLD. The company wrote (my emphasis):ICANN’s reconsideration committee denied the request.* All-digit strings will be permanently embargoed.
* Broad terms and conditions and safeguards will be implemented covering any abuses that could possibly lead to any PSTN confusion, conflict or similarity.
* Measured use of numbers might be permissible where there is no direct, marginal, implied or similar confusions/conflicts with PSTN codes or numbers – and where digits form an incidental part of a text string (e.g. johnsmith11.tel).
In 2004, when ICANN’s sponsored TLD round opened up, Telnic applied for .tel again. This time, it was careful to avoid upsetting the ITU from the very outset.
Indeed, the second paragraph of its application stated clearly:The application referred to the namespace as “text-based” throughout, and even used the need for policies regulating the use of digits to justify the sponsoring organization it intended to create.Digits are to be restricted to maintain the integrity of a letters/words based top-level domain and to avoid interference with established or future national and international telephone numbering plans.
The application stated:It also said:The .Tel will not:
Allow numeric-only domains to be registered, and therefore will not conflict with any national or international telephone numbering plan.Despite these assurances, it was obvious that the ITU’s concerns about numeric .tel domains continued to bother ICANN right up until it finally approved .tel in 2006.Domain name strings containing only digits with or without a dash (e.g. 08001234567, 0-800-1234567) will be restricted and reserved to maintain the integrity as a letters/words based top-level domain
During the board meeting at which Telnic’s contract was approved, director Raimundo Beca pressed for the inclusion of language that addressed the constraints on numeric domains and chair Vint Cerf asked general counsel John Jeffrey to amend the resolution accordingly.
While that amendment appears to have never been made, it was clearly envisaged at the moment of the board vote that .tel was to steer clear of numeric-only domains.
Telnic’s contract now specifically excludes such registrations.
Given all this history, one might now argue that Telnic’s request to lift these restrictions is kind of a Big Deal.
A Telnic spokesperson tells me that, among other things, the current restrictions unfairly exclude companies that brand themselves with their phone numbers, such as 118-118 in the UK.
He added that Telnic request has been made now in part because VeriSign has requested the lifting of similar restrictions in .name, which ICANN has also concluded is not a stability problem.
However, as far as I can tell .name was not subject to the same kinds of ITU-related concerns as .tel when it was approved in 2000.
Telnic proposes one safeguard against conflict with E.164, in that it will not allow the registration of single-digit domains, reducing the potential for confusion with ENUM strings, which separate each digit with a dot.
If the ITU does rear its head in response to the current .tel public comment period, it will come at a awkward time, politically. Some ITU members have said recently they want the ITU to form a committee that would have veto power over ICANN’s decisions.
But Telnic says, in its proposal, that it does not know of anybody who is likely to object to its request.
Perhaps it is correct.