Last year, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), who more or less run the Internet*, approved a new top-level domain: .jobs.
.Jobs (or “dot-jobs”) was supposed to be a special domain where only companies could buy domains: so Microsoft could purchase Microsoft.jobs or Google could purchase Google.jobs or Joe’s Coffee Shop could presumably purchase JoesCoffeeShop.jobs but unless you had a company named Steve Inc you would not be able to buy the gimmick domain Steve.jobs. The idea was that this would be less confusing for jobseekers.
Dot-jobs was going to be run by a company called Employ Media that would ensure that only approved companies would get their domain. But all was not well, even from the beginning.
It turns out that Employ Media was allowing people to register “generic” dot-jobs domains, which it had promised not to do. When called on it, Employ Media and the Society for Human Resources Management created an amendment to the charter allowing this behavior and put it up for public comment.
Only, nobody told the public. In fact, not even SHRM knew about it until two days before the public comment ended.
Earlier this year, ICANN finally announced to Employ that it was in breach of contract and gave it 30 days to address these issues. That 30-day deadline has since been extended twice, from the original March 27 to April 15 and now to May 6.
Now, Employ Media has announced it’s requesting formal arbitration from ICANN because (and we paraphrase), “you guys told us it was cool.”
In a statement issued today, Employ Media says:
“This filing was necessary to ward off ICANN’s unwarranted and unprecedented threat of contract termination. That action created immediate uncertainty about the .JOBS TLD on the Internet and caused significant duress on our business.” Employ Media’s sole business is that of being the licensed operator with ICANN for the .JOBS TLD on the Internet.
The Notice of Arbitration contains a detailed history of the lengthy and thorough process that ICANN utilized in approving Employ Media’s plans – not once, but twice – to expand the initial .JOBS platform from companyname.jobs to include combinations of geographic and occupational domain names (like in the universe.jobs platform), such as newyork.jobs or marketing.jobs. The record shows that the company’s plans were fully disclosed and debated during that process and were approved overwhelmingly by the ICANN Board of Directors.
To which we say: ARRRGGHHHH.
*ICANN controls domain names on the Internet, assigns IP addresses to internet registries, and decides what top-level domains (like .com or .org or .us) are allowed