ICANN runners-up want a recount

One backer of a losing top level domain is threatening to sue, another is trying to resurrect a losing application by managing world-wide consensus for its need.

Some of the runners-up in the biggest dash yet for new Web territory started by the Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers aren't done yet with their failed proposals.

One is threatening to sue. Another threatens global communion. A third is trying to sort out just exactly how it feels.

While they all have different approaches, all three believe that "it's not over," ICANN's mantra two weeks ago after selected seven new Web suffixes, the top level domains that will expand address possibilities seven-fold.

The seven TLDs -- .info, .biz, .aero, .coop, .museum, .pro, .name -- were chosen out of 47 applications, all of which were backed up by non-refundable $50,000 entrance fees. The companies behind the winning proposals expect to begin registering new Web addresses in the second quarter of 2001.

One of the runners-up was the Group One Registry, which backed a TLD of .one to end Web addresses comprised completely of digits.

"It is envisioned that names in this TLD will be used primarily to provide a globally unique identity for any device connected to the Internet (not just Web servers)," the group told ICANN.

But the TLD was turned down. The proposal was bunched in with several other TLDs that had to do with telephony. ICANN staffers suggested the board not adopt any in the group.

Now the legal letters, and the threats of litigation, have started.

Group One Registry Attorney Peter Schalestock said that ICANN made a number or errors, including grouping the proposal into the "telephony group." He's also alleging that ICANN Vice President Louis Touton misled the board during its deliberations.

The criticisms don't stop there. Schalestock said that ICANN doesn't seem to even have a way to appeal their decisions, leaving him no choice but to explore a lawsuit.

"To my knowledge, there is no process for review of the decision," he said. "They consider themselves to be the final say. There doesn't seem to be any other remedy," he said.

On the completely opposite end is Thomson Financial Media, the Canadian media conglomerate that is trying to resurrect the failed proposed TLD of .fin, which would be used for financial institutions.

The same Web address suffix was proposed by a group of bankers in Europe. But it was a lack of consensus among the financial community that ultimately sunk the proposal, ICANN directors said.

Even though ICANN hasn't put out a call for new TLD applications, and there is a good chance that might not happen, Thomson is already trying to build the consensus for .fin, when and if, ICANN reopens the application process.

It scheduled a summit among leading financial professionals to build a set of standards for the TLD, plus create a committee of "key global financial institution industry representatives."

One of the stranger reactions was that of the World Health Organization (WHO), which wanted to create a TLD of .health. It was rejected, although the proposal was lauded by some ICANN members.

A day after the rejection, the WHO in Geneva issued a saber-rattling statement promising an exploration of future actions against ICANN.

A day later, they were trying to make up. Some in the WHO in the United States said their European counterparts had jumped the gun.

"We recognize this is an ongoing process," said a WHO spokesman.


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