Ready, Fire, Aim, STOP! – Reconsidering the launch timetable for new gTLDs?

In a candid and brave set of statements, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade admitted his discomfort with the timing for the new gTLD (generic top-level domain) program.  Mr. Chehade explained his fears about the implementation of a program with a direct effect on billions of Internet users and the businesses that are dependent on this critical part of our shared global infrastructure.  His remarks are indicative of a program that is not ready for its full implementation and we ask that the community support him and take a cautious approach to the implementation of new gTLDs by slowing the process.

According to CircleID and TechDirt, citing original reporting from Domain Incite, Mr. Chehade remarked, “Honestly, if it was up to me, I would delay the whole release of new gTLDs by at least a year.”  He clarified his statement by expressing that he had concerns about the systems supporting the launch and explained that he’d prefer to see a one-year delay of the program, “I don't want to delay this program, but under all circumstances my mind would tell me: stop.”

Mr. Chehade has decades of operating experience running companies and managing the creation and release of standards and supporting technologies.  He’s worked for companies like IBM and driven cooperation between the likes of Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and others. Given his experience and success, the CEO of ICANN should be given the span of control to act on his assessment of the risk and stop us from making the mistake of rushing this program to market in the face of the risk to Internet users, consumers and global business.

As early as 2008. MarkMonitor and dozens of other organizations have been supportive of the idea of a staged release of new gTLDs, suggesting an initial rollout for low-risk gTLDs like IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names) and branded gTLDs Many other organizations have echoed this concern and suggested similar risk mitigation more recently.

And, Mr. Chehade’s instincts have been borne-out in previous technical gaffes, before his tenure at ICANN began, including technical failure and compromise of private applicant data by the gTLD application system.

We encourage the ICANN community, the GAC (government advisory committee), Internet users and the businesses that depend on the Internet to support Fadi Chehade and allow him to shepherd the responsible release of new gTLDs. The Internet community should honor the instincts of a tried and tested executive by slowing the implementation of new gTLDs, protecting our interests and mitigating risk.

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Alison Simpson
With more than 13 years’ experience in the domain industry, Alison has managed all aspects of Corporate Domain Managem... More