MarkMonitor supports brand holders’ efforts regarding .feedback registry

In the capacity that MarkMonitor has as an ICANN accredited registrar, we have observed numerous issues with registrations in the .feedback registry.  These issues date back to the initial launch of .feedback earlier this year. As a result of the harm our clients and other brand holders have faced, we have provided our support to the filing of a Public Interest Commitment Dispute Resolution Procedure (PICDRP) with ICANN. This is a review process, which ICANN established as part of its new gTLD program, designed to help parties arbitrate these kinds of issues with registries.

This is an unprecedented move for MarkMonitor and our clients and partners who we are filing with, but we believe that there have been sufficient unusual practices from the .feedback registry operator to warrant a review as to whether .feedback has been managed in accordance with its commitments to ICANN and the community.

.feedback was launched as a gTLD for the promotion of free speech and as the place to provide feedback on any topic at all. Most registrations seem to be focused on consumer brands and the registry even introduced its own feedback platform to facilitate the discussion. However, from the first launch date it has been operated in a different manner than all other gTLDs: for example, its pricing actually means trademark holders pay more for their domains than non-trademark holders, and the registry-designed platform was forced on domain owners to ensure each .feedback site was configured in a particular way; in effect, standardizing .feedback sites according to a template. This is an unusual restriction of the freedom of domain owners who normally have the ability to customize their sites.

In addition to the unconventional pricing model and new platform mentioned above, we observed a number of registration practices and activities, possibly associated with the registry (and set out in more detail in the action submitted to ICANN provided here) that we believe either directly violate or at the very least show disregard for many long-standing policies and industry standards which ICANN and the community have come to expect, and which the parties involved should be bound to uphold.

At MarkMonitor we believe in transparency and clarity. We believe this can be best achieved by ICANN performing a comprehensive review of the .feedback registry, which we hope will also guide the current reviews ICANN is undertaking of the new gTLD program in its entirety. Before the next round of gTLDs is introduced, it’s imperative to have clarity about what registry operators are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do.

We want our clients to understand why we have supported this action, so we are being transparent about our process and have attached the filing to ICANN and the supporting documentation. It’s our hope these issues are reviewed and the complaint given the consideration we believe it warrants.