For those of you who have forgotten the story, DOC's request of bids this summer this summer raised a number of eyebrows, and was criticized as a "giveaway" of the .US name space. It indicated that the new registry would sell users SLDs directly under .US (in addition to maintaining the old locality-based space), and it mandated a UDRP, enhanced whois, and a sunrise procedure for trademark owners' benefit. Notwithstanding that all registrants will have to pass a "United States Nexus Requirement," it required the registry to follow all "ICANN policies pertaining to open ccTLDs."|
(As I noted at the time, that's just weird. It's odd enough that a registry that's limited to folks with a "United States nexis" should have to follow rules designed for TLDs that anybody in the world can register in. Beyond that, though, there aren't any ICANN policies pertaining to open ccTLDs -- not yet, anyway. The folks at ICANN would like to promulgate some sort of policies for open ccTLDs; those policies, presumably, will be binding on ccTLDs only to the extent that a given ccTLD adopts them voluntarily. Yet the Department of Commerce staked its place, first in line, to agree to be bound by a set of ICANN policies that haven't even been promulgated yet, without regard to what they say, and without regard to the fact that they're directed at a different set of registries entirely.)
Key House members, Senators, another key House member, public interest groups, and academics criticized the process and asked for delay and rethinking; the Commerce Department refused.
While contenders were preparing their bids for the potentially-lucrative registry, a coalition led by the Center for Democracy and Technology sought to work with them to get them to endorse a plan under which actual policy control of the registry would be shifted to a nonprofit ".us Policy Development Corporation" to be formed by the coalition. The nonprofit's governing structure, the coalition explained, would reflect a balance among legacy users (local governments, schools and libraries); nonprofit public interest groups; business and individual users; and technical operators (registrars and ISPs). Some of the applicants (Register.com, Tucows, and eNic) signed with CDT; others (including Sarnoff, Neustar, Verisign and US-Register.com) didn't.
DOC decision coming this month; stay tuned.