ICANN Board To Consider .Jobs Expansion; Staff Reports on Public Comments

Aug 4, 2010
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

UPDATE: The ICANN board meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. PT today and may take upwards of three hours.  Actions taken by the board are typically posted 48 hours after the meeting, which may mean no news about the .jobs expansion until Monday. A preliminary report on the meeting is posted within seven days and minutes become available only after the board approves them at a subsequent meeting.

In advance of tomorrow’s today’s scheduled discussion of the expansion of the .jobs addressing program, the staff of the Internet addressing authority has posted a summary of the contentious public discussion.

The report, posted Monday, quantifies the comments received by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and outlines the pros and cons of the arguments.

The three-page report takes no specific position, but does observe that many of the comments and letters opposing the expansion of .jobs to permit the use of occupational, geographic, and other names were the result of letter-writing campaigns.

“Many of the submissions were drafted with identical, or form language serving as the majority of or as the entire submission,” the staff report observes.

The substantive arguments against the expansion are summarized as coming largely from the job board industry and its trade association, the International Association of Employment Web Sites. ICANN staff notes the primary IAEWS objection is “the proposal modifies the sponsored community for the .JOBS sTLD.”

In simple terms, it means that the proposal by Employ Media — and supported by SHRM — will permit the launching of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of job boards. And job board operators were not part of the original community for which the .jobs domain was created.

Other objections cited in the staff report are the lack of transparency in the process by which the expansion plan was proposed and reviewed and that the expansion is a material change (not just a broadening) to the underlying agreement between ICANN and Employ Media.

Although the report doesn’t provide any arguments why the expansion should be approved, it does offer direct rebuttals from Employ Media’s position paper submitted on July 15.

Regarding the community issue, staff quotes Employ Media: “The definition and scope of the .JOBS community is not changed in any way by the RSEP request -– it is neither being broadened or restricted, and remains unchanged since the inception of .JOBS.”

The ICANN board agenda lists the expansion proposal as one of several items for the non-public, telephone conference. If a decision is made, it will be announced following the meeting. I asked an ICANN spokeswoman when and how exactly, but haven’t heard.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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