IANA Report on the Delegation of the .JOBS Top-Level Domain(Date: 31 August 2005)
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (the IANA), as part of the administrative functions associated with management of the domain-name system root, is responsible for receiving requests for delegation and redelegation of top-level domains, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and reporting on the requests. This report provides the findings and conclusions of the IANA on the delegation of the .JOBS Top Level Domain (TLD).
There are several types of TLDs within the DNS, including TLDs with three or more characters referred to as “generic” TLDs, or “gTLDs.” They can be subdivided into two types, “sponsored” TLDs (sTLDs) and “unsponsored” TLDs, as described in more detail below.
Generally speaking, an unsponsored TLD operates under policies established by the global Internet community directly through the ICANN process, while a sponsored TLD is a specialized TLD that has a sponsor representing the narrower community that is most affected by the TLD. The sponsor thus carries out delegated policy-formulation responsibilities over many matters concerning the TLD.
A Sponsor is an organization to which is delegated some defined ongoing policy- formulation authority regarding the manner in which a particular sponsored TLD is operated. The sponsored TLD has a Charter, which defines the purpose for which the sponsored TLD has been created and will be operated. The Sponsor is responsible for developing policies on the delegated topics so that the TLD is operated for the benefit of a defined group of stakeholders, known as the Sponsored TLD Community, that are most directly interested in the operation of the TLD. The Sponsor is also responsible for selecting the registry operator and, to varying degrees, establishing the roles played by registrars and their relationship with the registry operator. The Sponsor must exercise its delegated authority according to fairness standards and in a manner that is representative of the Sponsored TLD Community.
The extent to which policy-formulation responsibilities are appropriately delegated to a Sponsor depends upon the characteristics of the organization that may make such delegation appropriate. These characteristics may include the mechanisms the organization uses to formulate policies, its mission, its guarantees of independence from the registry operator and registrars, who will be permitted to participate in the Sponsor's policy-development efforts and in what way, and the Sponsor's degree and type of accountability to the Sponsored TLD Community.
On 26 June 2003, at the ICANN Board meeting in Montreal, the Board directed ICANN staff to invite public comment on a draft request for proposals for sTLDs posted on 24 June 2003, and in particular on the question whether the RFP should be limited to applicants that had proposed sponsored TLDs in November 2000. The public comments are available at ICANN’s website at http://forum.icann.org/mtg-cmts/stld-rfp- comments/general/index.html.
In parallel with the public comments, the ICANN Board discussed at length the topic of how, and within what timeframe, ICANN should proceed with the creation of new gTLDs, including sTLDs. On 29 October 2003, the GNSO called upon the Board to go forward with the process for an interim round of sTLDs.
Following various community discussions, including input by experts and interested parties through the GNSO, and from users both directly and through the ALAC, at its meeting in Carthage, Tunisia, on 31 October 2003, the ICANN Board directed the ICANN President to finalize and post no later than 15 December 2003 an open Request for Proposals, not restricted to prior applicants, for a limited number of new sTLDs. The final RFP was to be based on the points of agreement indicated above and the comments received concerning the posted draft.
In response to this direction, on 15 December 2003, ICANN announced and released the request for proposals (RFP) for sTLDs. The RFP was divided into six parts, see http://www.icann.org/tlds/new-stld-rfp/new-stld-application-parta-15dec03.htm. The first part provided applicants with explanatory notes on the process as well as an indication of the type of information requested by ICANN. The remaining parts constituted the application itself.
The RFP’s explanatory notes described the selection criteria, which were in brief:
ICANN received 10 applications for new sTLDs before close of the application period on 16 March 2004. Applications were received for the following 9 sTLD strings: ASIA, .CAT, .JOBS, MAIL, .MOBI, POST, TEL, TRAVEL, and XXX. (Two different applicants submitted applications for TEL.) The public parts of the ten applications were posted on the ICANN website at http://www.icann.org/tlds/stld-apps-19mar04/stld-public-comments.htm for public comment. The public comments were also posted.
An independent panel of internationally diverse experts with substantial knowledge of relevant technical, business/financial and policy areas was established to review and evaluate the applications. The panel was separated into three teams, each one focused on technical, business/financial or policy areas. The teams began their work in May 2004 and completed their reports in July 2004. The independent review procedures ensured that all communications involving the evaluations were made through the Project Manager and as such, the review was blind between the teams and ICANN staff and between the teams and the applicants.
Each of the three review teams met six to eight times by teleconference. Each team posed a series of questions to applicants, seeking clarification of points relevant to evaluation of the applications against the RFP criteria. Each team provided a separate report, assessing the information in the applications against the criteria – technical, business/financial and sponsorship/community value that they had been asked to evaluate.
In the case where the applicant passed all three sets of criteria and there were no other issues associated with the application, it proceeded to technical and commercial negotiations designed to establish a new sTLD.
In cases where an evaluation team indicated that a set of criteria was not met, or other issues had to be addressed, ICANN gave each applicant an opportunity to submit clarifying or additional documentation.
The applicant and registry operator for the .JOBS application is Employ Media LLC, a Delaware limited liability company (“Employ Media”). The Sponsoring Organization (SO) for the application is The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a human resource management association. The registry operator selected VeriSign Naming and Directory Services (VNDS) to provide back-end registry services.
Each of the three evaluation teams described above reviewed the .JOBS application. Their recommendations were transmitted to ICANN on 12 July 2004.
The technical evaluation team found that the application met the criteria of demonstrating an ability to ensure stable registry operation, consistent with best practice technical standards for registry operations. With respect to evidence of a full range of registry services, the team was “concerned about the validation criteria for registrants from outside North America, and whether the applicant understood the complexities of creating a reserved list for job categories that span many languages.” The team concluded that .JOBS did not at that time meet the technical selection criteria set forth in the RFP.
The business/financial evaluation team reviewed the .JOBS applicant’s business and financial plans. It concluded that the relevant selection criteria had been met.
The sponsorship/community value evaluation team found that “employment is a very broad category that has substantial overlap with other existing classes of content and services . . . the global jobs and careers market was well served by existing search capabilities and that the application as presented would not add significant new value to the name space.” It questioned “how appropriate the [Sponsoring Organization (SO) is to the proposed policy formulation environment,” and whether “there was sufficient evidence for support from the SO to meet the selection criteria.” It concluded that the .JOBS application “did not, on balance, meet the selection criteria.”
On 22 September 2004, .JOBS responded to the reports of the technical and sponsorship evaluation teams. In response to the technical team’s concerns, .JOBS explained its system to validate whether an employer was bona fide in greater detail. In response to the sponsorship/community value team’s concerns, it provided more information about the .JOBS “community” and the international presence of the SO, among other issues.
On 14 October 2004, ICANN, the technical team and .JOBS held a teleconference to discuss the concerns raised about validation and other technical issues. The applicant agreed to specify in writing how it will address the question of validation of employers on a global basis, including, for example, small and medium enterprises from the developing world. It also agreed to clarify in writing precisely how it will communicate with applicants, and specify the level of security for all such channels, and the “hard timers” that it will use to deter abuse of the validation system. It also agreed to provide more information about how it would reach out to the global community to determine how best to develop a list of reserved names to propose to ICANN.
On 10 November 2004, the applicant provided the follow-up information requested by the technical team.
On 26 November, the technical team indicated its view that the .JOBS application was now complete and sufficient from a technical standpoint. It recommended that the remaining technical issue –requiring the external validator to use bi-directional EPP to communicate with the registry – could be handled during contract negotiations. VeriSign is currently implementing bi-directional EPP.
On 13 December 2004, after review of the above-mentioned information and materials, ICANN’s Board of Directors authorized the entry of commercial and technical negotiations with the .JOBS applicant (http://www.icann.org/minutes/resolutions-13dec04.htm).
On 24 March 2005, ICANN announced the completion of those negotiations and posted the proposed .JOBS Sponsored TLD Registry Agreement (http://www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-24mar05.htm) prior to Board consideration. The agreement was discussed briefly at the ICANN Public Forum in Mar del Plata, Argentina, on 7 April 2005. ICANN did not receive other comments on the agreement.
The agreement was then submitted to the ICANN Board for review at its meeting in Mar del Plata on 8 April 2005. The Board noted that the “applicant has provided satisfactory details as to the broad-based mechanism for policy-making for the sponsored community, and how this sTLD would be differentiated in the name space,” and that “delegation of a .JOBS sponsored top-level domain to Employ Media would be beneficial for ICANN and the Internet community.” The Board approved the agreement, subject to the taking of appropriate steps to address the registration of “names of countries and distinct economies,” and directed the President of ICANN to implement its decision.
The .JOBS agreement establishes technical operational requirements for the new sTLD. It delegates to the registry operator of .JOBS, Employ Media, the authority to develop policies governing such topics as eligibility for registration within the .JOBS TLD, consistent with the terms of the agreement and the Sponsoring Organization that it has engaged, The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). It also requires the registry to conduct its policy-development activities in a manner that allows members of the .JOBS community to discuss and participate in the development of these policies. The sponsored TLD model promotes stable technical operation by requiring adherence to the standard specifications on such topics as name service, data escrow, and use of valid host names, while providing a substantial degree of autonomy for development of community- specific policies.
On 5 May 2005, ICANN and Employ Media signed the Registry Agreement.
On 10 June 2005, Employ Media submitted a delegation template to IANA, which lists itself as the requested Sponsoring Organization. Mr. Ray Fassett is listed as the designated Administrative Contact and VeriSign Global Registry Services is listed as the designated Technical Contact. Completion of the template was delayed until recently while VeriSign and Employ Media worked out several technical issues associated with launch.
This report is being provided under the contract for performance of the IANA function (http://www.icann.org/general/iana-contract-17mar03.htm) between the United States Government and ICANN. Under that contract, ICANN performs the IANA function, which includes receiving delegation and delegation requests concerning TLDs (http://www.icann.org/general/iana-contract-17mar03.htm#C.188.8.131.52), investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, making its recommendations, and reporting actions undertaken in connection with processing such requests.
In acting on delegation requests, the IANA currently follows the practices summarized in “Internet Domain Name System Structure and Delegation.” (ICP-1, http://www.icann.org/icp/icp-1.htm) ICP-1 represents an update of the portions of RFC 1591 (http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc1591.txt) dealing with TLDs, which was issued in March 1994, and reflects subsequent documents and evolution of the policies followed by the IANA through May 1999.
As discussed above, the application for .JOBS was approved by ICANN after an open request for proposals involving several opportunities for public review and comment, evaluation by an independent panel of experts, and review by the ICANN Board. As described above, three teams of experts reviewed the .JOBS application against the specified technical, business/financial and sponsorship/community criteria, respectively, laid out in the RFP. These reports are included in Appendices B and E. The teams’ recommendations were then reviewed by the ICANN Board. The Board decided to accept the recommendations of the technical team and the business/financial team that the RFP criteria were met. After review of the recommendation of the sponsorship/community value team and the response materials submitted by the applicant, the Board decided that the applicant should proceed to technical and commercial negotiations designed to lead to approval of a new sTLD. Subsequent to successful conclusion of these negotiations, the Board approved a Sponsored TLD Registry Agreement for .JOBS. This Board resolution is located at http://www.icann.org/minutes/minutes-08apr05.htm.
ICANN has now completed contractual arrangements for the introduction of a new sponsored TLD, with Employ Media for .JOBS.
Based on the foregoing evaluation, ICANN concludes that the proposed delegation will promote service to the Internet community and will help assure the continued Internet interoperability through the global technical coordination that ICANN was created to provide. ICANN concludes that the .JOBS TLD should be established and delegated to Employ Media LLC.