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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    New gTLDs Can TLDs Be Sold?
    posted by Mueller on Friday October 08 2004, @07:05PM

    sforrest writes "The .coop sponsored top-level domain has been sold , including both the .coop domain name registrar business and the domain registry itself. Co-operative News reports that a company called OSG, or Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-op, has purchased .coop from Poptel Ltd, which in 2000 submitted a successful bid to ICANN (in association with the USA's National Cooperative Business Association), to create .coop as one of seven new top-level domains.

    Who is OSG? According to their website , OSG is a co-operative business venture based in the UK that "has five trading divisions. Food (the largest), followed by motor, funeral, travel and property. We also have a business futures division which includes a new childcare service." The sale - while it impacts a TLD that has just 8,000 registered domain names - raises some serious questions for ICANN:

    Does ICANN has a mechanism for dealing with this sort of transfer? Apparently not. Does that mean the owner of any TLD can just sell it at will, bypassing the competitive process by which ICANN approves new TLDs?

    What about the original criteria under which ICANN approved .coop? Does that matter now? Will ICANN evalaute the new registry operator in order to ensure that the original selection criteria are still satsified? If they do, and determine the new operator doesn't meet the qualifications, do they have the power to nix the sale? Should they?

    I've seen nothing that suggests ICANN did such an evaluation when .pro changed hands earlier this year. It appears they either don't have a policy regulating the sale of TLDs, or they aren't enforcing it.

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    · Also by Mueller
    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    Can TLDs Be Sold? | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 6 comments | Search Discussion
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    Be careful what you ask for
    by Mueller (muellerNO@SPAMsyr.edu) on Friday October 08 2004, @07:11PM (#14311)
    User #2901 Info | http://istweb.syr.edu/~mueller/
    Many of us criticize ICANN for overreaching and expanding beyond its mission. Most of the requirements it imposes on new TLD registries are unnecessary and needlessly restrictive. You seem to be asking it to become even more restrictive - a global Federal Trade Commission that scrutinizes every transaction. Is there any reason why ICANN should be doing this, given the fact that we aleady have a FTC, the antitrust division of the Justice Department, the FCC, etc.?
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