Sunset in Cartagena, Colombia

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We attended the 39th ICANN public meeting recently in Cartagena, Colombia. It was a very busy week, but what actually happened?

The two big “issues” that people have been keeping an eye on are “new TLDs” and “XXX”.

We’ve mentioned both in the past here, but to refresh your memory ..

A TLD is a “top level domain” ie. the bit on the right of the dot (“.”) in a domain name. So, for example, the TLD is .com.

For the last few years there has been much heated discussion and debate on how best to introduce new domain name extensions.

While ICANN and the community have been working hard on making everyone happy, or at least addressing their concerns, it’s going to be almost impossible to satisfy every single interest group.

So what happened last week? In short the GAC, which is made up of government representatives (though Ireland isn’t there!), told the ICANN board that they weren’t convinced that everything had been done properly, so they’re now meant to be meeting to “thrash out the details” early in the New Year.

The other relatively big issue was the ongoing saga involving .xxx

This is becoming more than a little farcical at this stage and I suspect someone is probably already working on a book!

Back in June the board said they’d go ahead with .xxx as long as the GAC were happy. (Anyone notice a common theme emerging?)

Several months later the board stated that they wanted to enter into a contract with ICM Registry for .XXX, but they still need to make the GAC happy. (Or words to that effect).

A couple of things to take away from all this.

First off, change chez ICANN is slow. Very very slow. Even when they commit to doing something they often can’t, as they’re trying to appease so many different stakeholder groups.

Another thing is that governments are taking a much more active role in internet governance and if organisations like ICANN don’t “play ball” then they’re going to have the ball taken away from them (metaphorically speaking).

More coverage on the meeting:

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