The TLD space was originally designed to be taxonomized, either by content (.com, .edu, .int) or geopolitical entity (.us, .ie, .cc). Veri$ign broke the former, and .tv et al broke the latter, in the name of profit. One cannot put Humpty Dumpty together again, but if we're going to have more new gTLD's, and I support the 50 per year idea, there has to be some sanity employed or the vast majority of end-users (who weren't there to speak or be represented) will shun most all of them due to confusion. I know a number of reasonably tech savvy people who are still surprised to learn that there is now an .info TLD.|
If there is no taxonomy one might as well hand out random strings (eg: .0d7z) for all the good it will do. We still do have a taxonomy of sorts, .name or .museum or .biz at least make some sort of semi-intuitive sense, as will .health or .travel. The issue to me is whether this should be left to ICANN or some committee appointed by them, or whether it should be left to the magical forces of the free market. Much as I appreciate the benefits of the latter, what if there is an applicant for .book and an applicant for .books and an applicant for .lit? That decision will still come down to an ICANN call and they're unlikely to allow competitors in a similar namespace due to a fear that both will fail, so there is no true free market anyway. In addition, at what level does one differentiate? Should it be at the level of .food or at the level of .chips or at the level of .fritos? If that is left entirely to the free market to sort out then we will have entries at all levels, leaving a further counter-intuitive mess for years.
I'd personally like to see someone like the ITU handling this as they have a wealth of experience and resources in similar areas. I fail to see what is so hard to understand about using the telephone book model as a reasonable starting point for a taxonomy. I've been told over the years by many who pay attention to such things that the DNS is not intended as a directory system, I always ask why not? and have never received an answer, even a poor one. Paul Mockapetris has said he intended it as a directory system and that's good enough for me. Some wisdom, even some sanity, is sorely needed.
With regards to Ken Fockler's rumored involvement, I really think ICANN needs something in its bylaws saying that former BoD members (to say nothing of sitting ones for that matter, eg: Rob Blokzijl) cannot become ICANN lobbyists for a set period of time as is common with some elected/appointed/employed government positions, as well as in some private enterprises with non-disclosure/non-competition agreements. I would like to see a similar proviso for ICANN staff. Of course I rarely see what I'd like to see from ICANN, but perhaps some successor body could... -g