I’ve written about Google and their “closed generic” applications several times over the last 18 months. I also had the pleasure of being on a discussion panel on the topic at the most recent ICANN meeting in Durban, South Africa.
So it’s pretty clear where I stand on the issue.
So the latest letter to ICANN’s board on the subject of Google’s proposed changes to their .cloud application caught my eye.
This time round the author of the letter is the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) and they are NOT impressed with Google and basically call shenanigans on their application. However the letter’s focus is not only on the original application, but also on the changes to it that Google requested.
What’s more, the CIF raise the issue of the change(s) in light of the objections process:
Not only does Google fail to meet ICANN’s proffered criteria for amending its .cloud application, but this amendment is an effort to frustrate interested third parties such as CIF from objecting to Google’s proposed implementation of the registry. Google’s amended application exacerbates, rather than ameliorates, the competition concerns resulting from Google’s application. Moreover, the amendment arrived after the ICC International Centre for Expertise’s received written objections to Google’s original .cloud application, thereby disrupting proceedings that were already underway.
In common with others who have commented on closed generics, such as ACT’s Jonathan Zuck, competition issues are to the fore:
Specifically, Google’s plan to allocate to cloud service providers third-level domain names for the .cloud gTLD imposes unnecessary, innovation-thwarting restrictions on the .cloud community, and reserves control over all second-level domains to Google itself.
In this way, Google plans to use the .cloud gTLD to dictate the terms of competition to an entire industry of cloud service providers. Indeed, Google proposes to operate the .cloud gTLD to “provide cloud service providers with the ability to offer services cto [sic] signal to the general population of Internet users and developers that services offered within the .cloud domain meet certain technical standards for compatibility and functionality” – albeit with Google alone defining those “certain technical standards.”4 CIF, by contrast, embraces a community approach to providing transparency for cloud service providers. That is why CIF’s members – individually and collectively – oppose Google’s amended .cloud application and have a significant interest in the application’s fate.
Here’s the full text of the letter:
Of course the application for .cloud is contested, so there’s zero guarantee that Google will even win the bid ..