.green pioneer quits the ICANN gtld process as .africa pioneer hangs in there

The contrast between that two applicants goes more than Pioneer-ship of their Campaigns for their respective TLDs.  They are also amongst very few women applicants at ICANN which also adds to the parallel.

Despite, as the new gTLD process progresses, more and more applicants are facing diverse tangents and directions as regards their applications. New gTLD statistics are being updated regularly and so are the fault lines of the new gTLD program.

A few days ago,  the ‘.green’ applicant announced their withdrawal from the new gTLD programe. The reasons stated are as follows,

Despite these efforts, it is not possible for us to move forward at this time without an auction scenario that would award .green to the highest bidder.

We believe an auction is counterproductive to the collaborative nature of the green movement. Awarding .green management to the highest bidder, disregarding community support, collaborative partnerships, and business practices subverts the meaning and interests of the green movement, the Internet user public, and the ICANN multi-stakeholder model. This auction procedure undermines DotGreen’s long history in the green community, and it negates the authenticity of DotGreen’s application. A single string applicant such as DotGreen may also find financial and timeline requirements more challenging compared to portfolio application peers.

The applicant has quit as a result of an impossible auction, the ICANN new gTLD program put in the Auction mechanisms to have contending new gTLD strings go to the highest bidder when there cannot be agreement. Is the auction the best way to decide who best runs the registry?, this means that monetary value is put more on the registry rather than the passion behind the strings.

Dotgreen boasts of along time of campaign it was Founded in 2007. According to their website,

“DotGreen was the first organization to propose an environmental Top-Level Domain initiative among Internet industry and international environmental groups.  .green signifies a Global Response to Environmental and Economic Necessities (.GREEN), which will soon be the online representation of the green movement and the world’s focus on environmental solutions and humanitarian good at this significant time”

Reactions by the community to the withdrawal show disappointment at the halt of a very passionate pioneer applicant.

“Dot green in my mind is only associated to Annalisa Roger and his team who have been very active these past years creating a true community of green enthusiasts.

It’s a shame, I cannot believe finally it’s only the one who can put the more cash who will manage this gTLD”

says one comment on the Domainincite report.  Another commenter says:

Money can buy the dotgreen gtld, but there is nobody who can buy the impeccable reputation, the passion and decorum of Annalisa Roger, not to mention the respect of the ICANN community for Annalisa and her team.

It´s a very sad day.

And another

“This is a sad news for the industry community and a worse one for Internet users. Annalisa and her team were 100% focused on making the green community thrive through a TLD, which is how any applicant should make their own TLD thrive.

I wish these guys all the best for their future.”

Another applicant who stands out in the new gTLD process, despite facing several hurdles is the applicant for .africa. DotConnectAfrica shares the same history with dotgreen, the organization has more than 6 years of constant passionate global campaign under a ‘Yes2dotAfrica’ for the ‘.africa’ TLD and the Pioneer Ms. Sophia Bekele was recently recognized by an influential UK Magazine the New African, as Top 50 African Trailblazers.

Despite the similarities in Pioneer-ship of the resepective campaigns, what is distinctly different and what I believe is the undoing of the DotGreen history is the unfortunate circumstance it found itself, as their campaign identity for green was based on a ” dotgreen community”, whilst the applied for gTLD was rather  “standard”,  similar to the history of  DotConnectAfrica’s competing application Uniforum, which filed for standard, while their campaign theme and endorsement was obtained on behalf of the African “Community”.

It would be my humble opinion that if dotgreen would have applied as a “community, there could have been a fighting chance perhaps via  a community priority evaluation,  if the justification was a purported community of dotgreen.

As far as DCA is concerned, most recently the organization’s application was given a GAC consensus objection that was regarded erroneous, however the organization has refused to withdraw and rather chosen to pursue the existing channels of reinstating its application.  DotConnectAfrica refuses to withdraw before Accountability Hearing reads a report that details that

“It’s not clear, but it’s visible like a very open secret that UniForum’s application, though rated to have had many challenging issues got through a “pass”. Even so, what many thought would have resulted in a negotiated outcome between two applicants, as per the guidelines, this has raised a key question if ICANN is shoving competition away in directly selecting Uniforum by eliminating the “Contention set” hurdle, a guidebook process which allows bidders who are running for the same string to compete.  Despite, “pass” score does not mean automatic award, rather it opens the Uniforum application into further public scrutiny, given it has so many complexities,

These TLDs above can set good examples for second-term applicants to understand the key requirements of the guidebook before applying.   While I believe that Dotgreen applicant fought an honest fight through the process while following the ICANN rules, this is nowhere to be said for the opponents of DotConnectAfrica, who demonstrated that they have scant regards for the rules in and outside of ICANN, and try and get away with their application status through a mass orchestrated disinformation campaign against its opponent DotConnectAfrica who has remained true to its campaign theme.

It remains unclear the direction that .africa will take but what is evident is that DotConnectAfrica is not giving up any time soon, without setting the record straight.

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