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After a session on Critical Internet Resources (CIRs), I was blessed to have a 'corner' one-on-one session with Wim Degezelle from Council of European National Top Level Domain Registries (CENTR). During the workshop, I had generated a number of questions that needed attention about the implementation of the New generic Top Level Domains (ngTLDs). Wim was very willing to answer the questions.
Q: Usually scarcity is the mother of invention, was there scarcity in the prevailing TLDs so as to think of the new gTLDs?
A: There was need for some companies to protect their brand by having all their services on their own TLD and having all their customers clustered in one position.
Q: Wont the ngTLDs just sectionalise the Internet?
A: No, it only puts companies' services at one stop point where one can easily find them.
Q: If my company is say 'TOM' can't I have 'service1.tom.com' and 'service2.tom.com' sufficing instead of having 'service1.tom' and 'service2.tom'?
A: Human nature is lazy and will always go for the shorter form to remember.
Q: Won't ngTLDs make Internet censoring easier for the governments that enjoy censoring some content? Now that content from the same company or of similar nature will be located on one TLD and I only have to block the entire TLD.
A: Still blocking the TLD will not stop the content on that TLD from reaching the populations. Censoring and blocking of content has never been a solution. The content will always find it's way to the population and some times censoring content just makes it more popular. Although the governments will be able to censor a particular TLD, they cannot stop information from that TLD form reaching the people.
Q: People are accustomed to the prevailing TLD system of '.xxx' where someone only has three suffixes after the dot. What will happen when the space after the dot is opened up? Won't there be confusion? Are companies ready to invest in sensitisation?
A: Since it is a gradual process, people will get accustomed with time and some companies might have to invest in sensitisation but this is all in thinking we are not sure of what will happen.
Q: Does the Implementation of ngTLDs affect the stability and functionality of the Critical Internet resources (CIRs) and DNS in particular?
A: The top directory is still open to additions of other TLDs but this will be done in a phased process. Some TLDs will be added and critical analysis of what effects are there to the CIRs and more and more TLDs will be added but all this is in a gradual phased process. If there is any negative effect to the CIRs it will be easy to detect and plug.
Q: The cost of attaining a ngTLD is almost prohibiting for some companies and civil societies that are not in business, will companies buy them?
A: Right now, there are a good number of applications and it is assumed that more companies are getting ready to apply. Companies are willing to spend more than this for protection of their brand and image. However there might be special consideration for organisations that are not to profit.
Q: What plans are there in place to handle conflicts in case they arise. If company A applies for the same TLD name as company B what will be done?
A: There is an arbitration committee that is meant to handle such cases but the principle is first come, first serve. In case a company applies for a TLD that does not clearly connect to it's work say for malice purposes, considerations might be taken.