The .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition, a group of organizations and companies united by a common opposition against the .jobs vote, petitioned the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) last week to reconsider their recent approval green-lighting the sale of the .jobs top level domain name to non-company name registrations.
The 25-page petition was filed by an aggregation of employment industry representatives, including Monster, CareerBuilder, the International Association of Employment Web Sites, the Newspaper Association of America, Shaker Recruitment Advertising and Communications, the American Hospital Association, and the American Staffing Association.
In the petition, the Coalition asserts that the plan for the .jobs expansion set into motion by the domain-name holder, Employ Media LLC, violates the charter issued by ICANN. The charter describes the terms for issuing addresses with a .jobs extension.
The charter states that with the policing authority’s approval, in this case the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Employ Media can issue addresses to a third party meeting their application standards. But the Coalition says the RFP Employ Media submitted this week soliciting third party submissions is inconsistent with the charter rules and goes over the heads of the SHRM committee.
Because of this, the Coalition states, a reversal of the vote should be considered, because the charter “does not give Employ Media the authority to change the Charter, and even if it had, any such change should be the subject of careful consideration by the ICANN Board based on broad input from the ICANN community and affected parties.”
In addition, the Coalition asserts that while exploring the idea of the .jobs expansion, ICANN failed to consider material information, namely comments submitted during the public comment period ICANN instituted after the .jobs issue was raised.
“[ICANN] failed to adequately account for either the breadth or depth of comments and boils down complex argument to a form that loses most if not all of its meaning,” the Coalition writes. “It fails to investigate beyond the comments themselves the serious concerns of hundreds of professional organizations, including members of this Coalition.”
The Coalition goes on to posit that “while the coordinated responses against the proposal are not given adequate consideration, the opposite is true for responses made in favor of the proposal.”
The group places special emphasis on the comments process and urges ICANN to reevaluate how they weigh arguments for both sides of an issue.
As one independent reviewer observed, “There have been numerous calls over the past two years for the public comment process to be reviewed and reformed. The failure of the process in this case, which led to an immediate Board decision, is the clearest indication so far that ICANN needs to develop standard rules, procedures and guidelines for what is a crucial component of the organization’s decision-making process.”
Placing serious consideration on each side of the debate is a significant part of ICANN’s duties, the Coalition writes. The Affirmation of Commitments executed by ICANN and the Department of Commerce obligates ICANN to continually assess and improve “the processes by which ICANN receives public input (including adequate explanation of decisions taken and the rationale thereof). This Reconsideration Request provides a test of ICANN’s fidelity to that commitment.”
In addition to publicly displayed comments, the Coalition also points to a number of letter-writing campaigns as evidence of the ICANN’s bias towards those in favor of the .jobs expansion. Although many employment industry representatives wrote to ICANN about their concerns, the Coalition does not think ICANN carefully considered the opposition’s argument.
The petition states, “There were a number of coordinated letter-writing campaigns specifically for the comment process: two by those in favor of the proposal, and three against. Of 191 coordinated responses (representing 70 percent of all responses); nine were in favor of the proposal (5 percent) and 182 (95 percent) against.”
Based on the information compiled by the independent investigators, the Coalition is asking that ICANN review the process by which it came to approve Employ Media’s proposal and to reconsider their ruling in favor of selling the .jobs domain.
According to an article on ERE.net by John Zappe, Ray Fassett, EVP, Employ Media said it was aware of the reconsideration request, adding, “We believe the ICANN Board made the correct decision, and we trust ICANN’s Accountability and Review processes.”