Louis Touton's letter to Edward Hasbrouck states in part:|
(2) [...] The openness and
transparency requirements of Article III, Section 1, however, apply to the activities of ICANN, not to
those of other entities. Entities that operate TLDs under delegations from ICANN are not required to
follow the same procedures as ICANN. There you have it, boyz 'n' grrls. ICANN in future will likely only allow restricted gTLDs. Those gTLDs will be required to put in the usual ICANN restrictions (and more of them all the time). In addition, the new gTLDs will be able to put in any further restrictions that they so desire without even the ICANN sham of stakeholder participation (and how much do you want to bet that ICANN will give new TLD applicants additional necessary restrictions, on the sly, if they want to get in the root?). If ICANN stakeholders complain about restrictions, ICANN has plausible deniability: Sorry, it's not our problem, take it up with the sponsoring entity. If you take it up with the sponsoring entity, they in turn redirect you back to ICANN. And so it goes...
In a truly free market any overly restrictive gTLD would fail as consumers would choose an alternative. With ICANN holding a monopoly on the root servers and IP blocks, there is no alternative. Therefore big biz and big gov wind up with a throttlehold on the namespace. That was something they didn't have and they've regretted it ever since. ICANN was created to get it for them and is doing a masterful job of that, if nothing else, to date.
If you're thinking: well there's still some ccTLDs and com/net/org that aren't restricted, there are alternatives; true enough, for now. Wait for the newer, more restricted, gTLDs to then claim unfair competition, forcing ICANN (who will claim they really don't want to do it) to then retroactively throttle existing open TLDs. If they can attempt to resell your domain while you're still using it (the WLS may be dead, but some variation will be accepted in its place), they can certainly hit new registrants and re-registrants of sLDs with modified clickwrap agreements. And one of these days we'll wake up and it will be no easier to get an unrestricted domain than it is to get broadcast rights for a section of the AM radio band, never mind that the former space, unlike the latter, is to all practical purposes infinite. That is, there are no technical reasons for such restrictions of the namespace.
Kudos to the Practical Nomad, who singlehandedly gave ICANN a real run for its money. If each TLD had an equivalent dissenter we'd be in far better shape. -g