David Goldstein - ICANN Nixes .CORP, .HOME and .MAIL New gTLD Applications... Forever


    ICANN has finally put to bed the applications for the .CORP, .HOME and .MAIL new gTLDs, 6 years after applications were lodged, due to fears of names collisions. The 3 “TLDs”, which are widely used on home and internal corporate networks, or intranets, had 20 applications between them and the applicants were becoming anxious to find out if they would ever see the light of day.

    Had the 3 strings been delegated it would likely have created havoc for many corporate network managers who use .corp and .mail, while for home networks there are many that use .home.

    In their resolution announcing they were nixing the applications, the ICANN Board noted the potential problems for name collisions, which the new gTLD program brought renewed attention to. But “a secure, stable, and resilient Internet is ICANN's number one priority. To support this, the ICANN Board has made a commitment to the Internet community to mitigate and manage name collision occurrence.” In their rationale, the Board went on to note “These strings were identified as ‘high-risk’.”

    ICANN have been examining the name collision problems since 2013 when they commissioned a study “on the use of TLDs that are not currently delegated at the root level of the public DNS in enterprises.” There followed several reports, studies and recommendations over the years until finally in February 2018 the ICANN Board decided the 3 gTLD strings were “high-risk, and that the delegations of such high-risk strings would be deferred indefinitely.”

    The Board then considered how to recompense applicants. Two issues were addressed – whether there should be a refund and whether applicants should get a priority in future application rounds. The Board noted that “applicants for .CORP, .HOME, and .MAIL were not aware of the forthcoming years of study on the issue of name collision and that they ultimately would be ineligible to proceed in the New gTLD Program.”

    In the end, the Board decided to refund the 20 applicants their $185,000 fee, a total of $3.7 million. This leaves $95.8 million in the new gTLD program pool from application fees, the $240 million received as a result of auctions to resolve contention where there was more than one application for the string and approximately $130 million that ICANN receives each year from the successful applicant registries. Regarding priority in future new gTLD application rounds, the Board decided due to complexities “associated with establishing procedures and rules for granting priority” among other reasons that there will be no priority in future rounds.

    Concluding their consideration of the issue, the Board said “taking this action will help support ICANN's mission and is in the public interest to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet's unique identifier systems. This action benefits the ICANN community as it provides transparency and predictability to the applicants for .CORP, .HOME, and .MAIL.”