Amazon beats ICANN on .Amazon gTLD following DCA Trust’s precedent setting case in .Africa IRP! has become the latest winner in the ICANN Independent Review Process IRP. Amazon was one of the largest applicants for new domain names, but its .brand strategy was slowed down when governments opposed its .amazon application.

Amazon’s applications had been rejected three years ago after ICANN accepted Governmental Advisory Committee consensus advice.  That advice, which lacked any rationale, had been implemented basically at the lobbying of Amazonian counties Brazil and Peru, two countries through which the Amazon river flows.

.Amazon is among a list of other new gTLD applications including .africa, .gcc that were largely affected by the ICANN Beijing GAC objection advice that asked the ICANN board to block them from proceeding to delegation due to what GAC erroneously concluded were concerns over geographic domains.

Not the first time writes Kieren McCarthy for the Register,

Unfortunately, this is just the latest example of ICANN’s notoriously poor accountability and its tendency to do what it thinks is in its own best interests, regardless of any rules, procedures and bylaws.

It is also the third time that ICANN has been called out on its propensity for doing whatever the world’s governments ask of it. In this case, it was the Brazilian and Peruvian governments that objected to the registration of the .amazon name, and the rest of the world’s governments decided not to get in the way.

The panel ruled that;

  1. Based upon the foregoing, we declare that Amazon has established that ICANN’s Board, acting through the NGPC, acted in a manner inconsistent with ICANN’s Bylaws, as more fully described above. Further, the GAC, as a constituent body of ICANN, failed to allow the applicant to submit any information to the GAC and thus deprived the applicant of the minimal degree of procedural fairness before issuance of its advice, as required by the Bylaws. The failure by the GAC to accord procedural fairness diminishes the presumption that would otherwise attach to its consensus advice.
  2. The Panel recommends that the Board of ICANN promptly re-evaluate Amazon’s applications in light of the Panel’s declarations above. In its re-evaluation of the applications, the Board should make an objective and independent judgment regarding whether there are, in fact, well-founded, merits-based public policy reasons for denying Amazon’s applications. Further, if the Board determines that the applications should not proceed, the Board should explain its reasons supporting that decision. The GAC consensus advice, standing alone, cannot supplant the Board’s independent and objective decision with a reasoned analysis.

ICANN was accordingly, pursuant to Article IV, Section 3(18) of the Bylaws, ordered to bear the administrative fees and expenses of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) totaling US$5,750  and the compensation and expenses of the Panelists totaling US$314,590.96.

In 9th July 2015, a 3 member panel declared in a 63 page final ruling that DotConnectAfrica Trust as the prevailing partly in case that has dragged for two years. The panel declared that both the actions and inactions of the Board with respect to the application of DCA Trust relating to the .AFRICA gTLD were inconsistent with the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws of ICANN. The GAC was specifically blamed for not providing rationale in their consesus decision, specifically Ms. Heather Dryden acknowledged during the hearing, the GAC did not act with transparency or in a manner designed to insure fairness.” saying; with GAC’s business: “we talk about creative ambiguity. We leave things unclear so we don’t have conflict.”

Other recent IRP winners include the DotRegistry where the panel slammed ICANN board saying “The BGC failed to address any of these assertions,” the judgment reads. Later: “The BGC admittedly did not examine whether the EIU or ICANN staff engaged in unjustified discrimination or failed to fulfill transparency obligations.”

In the DotRegistry case – concerning applications for .inc, .llp and .llc – ICANN’s staff added language about “research” to an independent evaluator’s report. That “research” concluded that the applications should not move forward, but when the IRP dug into the issue it found no indication that any such work had ever been carried out.

Full .Amazon IRP Decision [PDF]

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