gTLD’s Applications for Regulated Industries Attacked by Some Countries

Recently, national governments and other organizations had the opportunity to file “early warnings” concerning applications to create new generic top-level domain names. These are essentially objections to be addressed in the application-vetting process. Those objections can be viewed here:

Among other things, objections were filed by various regulation-oriented countries (e.g., France) to gTLD applications in regulated industries, such as .attorney, .doctor, .dentist, .dental. and .health. Curiously, these governments did not object to other gTLD applications in the legal and medical fields.

The general complaint of the objecting countries is that these fields are highly regulated and, thus, it would be dangerous to allow open, unregulated registration of second-level domain names in these spaces. These countries claim to be interested in protecting the public from being scammed or served by unlicensed providers.

Even though objections were not filed against all gTLD’s relating to regulated or licensed industries, I expect this will be a hot topic in the gTLD review process. The question is whether, in any regulated industry, should we permit just about anyone to register a second-level domain name and rely on web-surfers being wary, or should those second-level domain name registrations be regulated tightly just as are the industries to which they relate?