The largest online retailer Amazon has prevailed after appealing against a decision by ICANN to deny applications for the .amazon generic top-level domain (gTLD).The domain had been halted in 2014 after the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) asked the New gTLD Program Committee to reject the domains based on objections from Brazil and Peru, which share the Amazon region.
In May 2014, ICANN had stopped off the gTLD and its Chinese and Japanese equivalents, ten months after its government committee urged that the applications should be rejected.
An arbitration panel has however given Amazon.com Inc. another fighting chance to secure the .amazon internet domain. The independent review panel in a July 10 declaration (PDF), rendered a ruling ordering the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ICANN board “promptly re-evaluate” Amazon.com’s domain application.
The declaration calls into question the level of deference that the board must give to advice from its Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC).
“The GAC consensus advice, standing alone, cannot supplant the Board’s independent and objective decision with a reasoned analysis,” the panel said.
This ruling is similar to a precedential July 2015 ruling that declared the applicant for .Africa, DotConnectAfrica Trust prevailing over ICANN.
The 63 page ruling also exposed the systematic failures throughout the process of handling the .Africa case and the GAC especially emerged as the ICANN’s weakest link after it was identified to have given the ICANN New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC)and Board Governance Committee (BCG) un-ratified objection proposal to stop DCA Trusts application from proceeding.
The NGPC also failed to apply the necessary due diligence and seek the reasons behind the GAC Objection which was not a consensus. A portion of the IRP hearing transcript details the former GAC Chair Heather Dryden stating that the GAC practices the business of “creative ambiguity” where “ We leave things unclear so we don’t have conflict.”she added “I’m telling you the GAC did not provide a rationale. And that was not a requirement for issuing a GAC”
ICANN board has been severally slammed for lackluster review of the advice from GAC and this latest ruling is likely to trigger more applicants to come for a review of their failed applications.