On New TLDs and Frogs

Writes James Seng, on new gTLDs and the innovation argument often made: Innovation ideas are like frogs’ egg: a thousand hatched only one or two survive to maturity (quote Peter Drucker). Like many others, I love to have that one or two frogs but …

Writes James Seng, on new gTLDs and the innovation argument often made: Innovation ideas are like frogs’ egg: a thousand hatched only one or two survive to maturity (quote Peter Drucker). Like many others, I love to have that one or two frogs but we aren’t sure how to deal with the 999 other dead tadpoles.

Media_httplogdoesnote_wejgt

This argument is in line with the stability concerns one often hears at ICANN meetings: In order to keep gTLD registrations stable, just stick to the current gTLD registries, and block these “unstable” new firms from entering the market. After all, it’s likely that they might fail. The interesting assumption with this approach is that the current set of gTLD operators will remain stable. We don’t care whether frogs are extinct worldwide. Our weather frog is immortal, and that’s all we care about. Ooops, what’s this thing under my shoe?I’m worried by this approach — from a stability point of view: Any given business has a certain chance to fail. So, the question is not so much how can we keep the current registries stable?, but rather, how do we make sure someone else carries on when they fail?Instead of being scared of possible failure, ICANN should think about how to deal with it. ICANN should be thinking about escrow solutions. ICANN should be thinking about how it can contribute to establishing a healthy and sufficiently large pool of operational registry businesses. And it should be thinking about how to help make sure that the registrations in any given TLD remain an asset in case of bankrupcy of a registry business, and not become a liability: Make sure that, when a registry fails, someone else has a business interest in picking up the remains.