It’s a little déjà vu this time of year awaiting another response from ICANN’s Board Governance Committee (BGC) on the latest reconsideration request filed by dotgay. After receiving another failing score from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on the all-important Community Priority Evaluation in October 2015, dotgay has once again caught the EIU not following their self-scripted ICANN approved processes to ensure consistency among all evaluations. ICANN is expected to make a ruling on the reconsideration request in early January 2016.
In what will likely be an easy task for the BGC to call out the EIU on their violations, hides the solution that they might offer to the gay community. Considering the EIU has mishandled the .GAY application twice now and not followed ICANN’s direct instructions to provide new panelists during the second evaluation, dotgay has called for ICANN to overturn the EIU decision and award a passing grade to the .GAY community application. If ICANN chooses to force a third evaluation then dotgay has requested that the EIU have no role in the proceedings.
In ICANN’s own words, they adamantly deny having any information on who at the EIU evaluated the dotgay application on the second attempt when asked.
“With respect to Item No. 3, seeking detailed information on the CPE Panels, to help assure independence of the process and evaluation of CPEs, ICANN does not maintain any information on the identity of the CPE Panelists. ICANN (either Board or staff) is not involved with the selection of a CPE panel’s individual evaluators who perform the scoring in each CPE process, nor is ICANN provided with information about who the evaluators on any individual panel may be.” – DIDP Request 20151022-1 (page 7)
Contained in dotgay’s reconsideration request is evidence that if the EIU was properly following their own ICANN approved processes for conducting evaluations then at least one of the panelists for the first evaluation also participated in the second evaluation. This is not only a slap in the face to the gay community for disadvantaging the community application in such a crucial evaluation, but it is a big middle finger to ICANN and the Board Governance Committee who have provided very clear instructions on how to proceed following the EIU’s original mishandling of .GAY.
In the end it’s the gay community and the contributing efforts of the 250+ LGBTQIA organizations around the world that get the short end of the stick because of the EIU’s actions. Passing the community evaluation would avoid the extortionist-like price tag expected of the community to claim .GAY at auction. The EIU’s actions contradict all common sense and can only be understood as the outcome of a hostile environment or the product of sheer incompetence by ICANN or the EIU.
The BGC not only has the opportunity right now to right the EIU’s wrongs and maintain integrity in their new gTLD program, but they also have the opportunity to properly serve the public interest by resetting the path of .GAY in the direction of community status. Community operation is the only option that truly ensures community benefit and protection.