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    NewTLDs : The Long and Winding Road | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 51 comments | Search Discussion
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    Quantitative Methods of TLD Evaluation
    by BenEdelman on Friday October 24 2003, @09:16PM (#12521)
    User #3219 Info | http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/edelman
    Without attempting to speak to the important and serious concerns Richard offers, I want to mention three additional areas of possible evaluation, namely quantitative evaluation for which the Internet itself provides all necessary data, that I would think the evaluation process would want to consider:
    1. Usage of the new TLDs. All else equal, I think most folks would agree that a TLD is of greater value to the world -- and we want more of this sort in the future -- if it includes more domain names that actually are put to active use, e.g. to provide web content (though, to be sure, there are other ways to use a domain name!).
    2. Enforcement of registration restrictions. All else equal, I think most folks would agree that it's better for a TLD to enforce the rules it has drafted than to let those rules lie fallow, unenforced. (Of course, all might not be equal; if enforcement were particularly difficult or costly, it might not make sense after all. But then we'd want to consider possible efforts at enforcement that are easier or cheaper)
    3. Sunrise policies' effect on protecting key domain names. All else equal, a sunrise policy that successfully assigns key famous names to the registrants of the corresponding trademarks is probably preferable to one that fails to do so. With a sensible sample of domains (say, the .COMs used by Fortune 1000 companies), it's easy enough to check who got the corresponding .BIZs and .INFOs -- whether these companies got them, or cybersquatters got them, or consumer groups, or something else.

    In the past, I've tried to answer some of these questions, e.g. with Survey of Usage of the .BIZ TLD [harvard.edu] and similar research as to .NAME [harvard.edu]. Making the connections to the specific areas of research suggested above -- 1) I've prepared an analysis of usage rates of .BIZ domains [harvard.edu], 2) a listing of noncomplying .NAME domains [harvard.edu], 3) a framework for tracking disposition of famous names [harvard.edu] (to be sure, so far applied to open ccTLDs rather than new gTLDs).

    I haven't thought much recently about extending these projects -- to do a comprehensive comparison of web usage rates across the new gTLDs, for example -- though the methodology is clear and the analysis tools already in place. Anyone interested in the results?

    Ben Edelman [harvard.edu]
    Berkman Center for Internet & Society [harvard.edu]
    Harvard Law School [harvard.edu]

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    Re:Quantitative Methods of TLD Evaluation
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Saturday October 25 2003, @01:26PM (#12526)
    User #2810 Info
    Yes Ben, I'd be most interested in the results as I imagine many others would be, as your previous work has provided objective, independent, quantitative data that is nowhere else available. One would be hard pressed to use such data to make any other case than that the first ICANN rollout of new TLDs has been anything other than an unmitigated disaster.

    It is also quite telling that one individual (or two, with Jonathan Zittrain [harvard.edu]) can provide such analyses whilst all the King's horses and all the King's men [icann.org] cannot, nor am I aware of ICANN taking any interest in your research, please correct me if I am wrong. -g

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Go Away Ben, Quit Glomming
    by Richard_Henderson on Saturday October 25 2003, @09:08AM (#12524)
    User #3269 Info | http://www.atlarge.org/
    I have no problem with Ben exercising his right of free speech in response to my article. What I'd prefer, however, is for a designated ICANN representative to respond to my article.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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    Re:Quantitative Methods of TLD Evaluation
    by ldg on Saturday October 25 2003, @11:28PM (#12529)
    User #2935 Info | http://example.com/
    Bingo! Thank you for pointing out that defensive registrations are a prime example of why DNS should not be used as a TM index. It was not designed for that purpose and allowing it negates the very reason for having more TLDs available in the name space.

    Ben has already pointed out that domains are not used for just the WWW and we all know that the WWW is not the internet, but one of many protocols.

    Let the landrush happen. Special intersts have always had recourse for an abused trademark. Because of the IP defensive craze, there has been landslide of ridiculous global decisions pitting individuals from many countries against one another. Trademarks have no business in the DNS and TLDs have no business policing them.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Defensive Registrations
    by BenEdelman on Monday October 27 2003, @07:14PM (#12554)
    User #3219 Info | http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/edelman
    Certainly a new .INFO, for example, is of little use if every existing .COM registrant claims the corresponding .INFO. Then .INFO is merely a tax on existing .COMs -- making .COM registrants worse off, .INFO registrars/registry better off (revenue earned), consumers probably slightly worse off (someone has to pay for the registrations in the long run). So excessive defensive registrations, and the TLDs that encourage them, are a negative.

    But what of a TLD with little or no defensive registrations? If two TLDs were truly the same in every other way, and if the TLD string itself were relatively generic ("INFO" or "WEB" makes the point just fine), wouldn't we feel better about a system that allocated microsoft.info to Microsoft, not a warehouser who also has 500 other names? Surely we don't think it's good for Microsoft to have to pay lawyers some thousands of dollars, and WIPO as much again, to retake the disputed domain later on. Again, I truly mean to run this analysis all else equal -- putting aside the other effects that such policies might have. And of course I choose Microsoft for a particular reason -- Apple (being a dictionary word), Ford (being a person's last name), etc. are clearly somewhat different.
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