Earlier this year, Employ Media, the company that was awarded the .jobs Sponsored TLD in 2005, filed a claim against ICANN stating that ICANN didn’t have a right to enforce their registry contract in the way they were doing. On July 22nd, 2011, ICANN published its answer to Employ Media’s claim. Although this is going to go under arbitration, it demonstrates that ICANN is serious about enforcing registry agreements.
According to ICANN, .jobs charter was to serve Human Resources professionals within companies. Employ Media, however, eventually chose to issue 40,000 generic .jobs domain names to one company, apparently close to the registry, and open a universe of job boards and advertising portals on these domains. They call the network Universe.jobs.
I don’t know who is going to win this arbitration battle, but I think there are lessons in it for new TLD applicants.
1. Be very thoughtful about whether you are going to apply for a Community TLD or a Standard Application. It appears that, unless you have really good backing from a community, it will be difficult to qualify.
2. Make sure to either leave things open for change or be clear that your plans are to actually do what you say you will do in your application. If Employ Media’s case is any indication of the future, ICANN will enforce your registry contract.