ICANN’s Commitment to Contract Compliance Questioned in gTLD Run-Up

.JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition Calls on ICANN to Live Up to its Contractual Compliance Commitments as ICANN’s Launch of New gTLD Initiative Draws Nearer

Hunt Valley, MD and Stamford, CT, April 21, 2011 – The .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition (the “Coalition”) strongly disapproves of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (“ICANN”) decision to further delay enforcement of its strongly worded breach notice to Employ Media regarding its improper expansion of the .JOBS Top-Level Domain (“TLD”).  Citing this as a test of ICANN’s credibility in the run-up to the launch of the new generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) initiative, the Coalition calls upon ICANN to compel Employ Media and its collaborators to cease their non-compliant conduct that breaches the .JOBS Charter.  Employ Media has already taken advantage of ICANN’s reluctance to take disciplinary action in response to what ICANN itself has identified as clear violations of the .JOBS Charter by maintaining – and expanding – the non-compliant “Dot Jobs Universe” program, which it operates with its alliance partner DirectEmployers Association at the universe.jobs website.

The unwillingness by ICANN to demand immediate compliance by Employ Media contradicts the recent authoritative statements made by ICANN President and Chief Executive Officer Rod Beckstrom regarding this matter.  When asked about the breach notice at the March 14, 2011 press conference from ICANN’s meeting in San Francisco, Beckstrom asserted that the notice “reflects [ICANN’s] serious commitment to contractual compliance with registries and registrars.”  Consistent with Mr. Beckstrom’s promise to demonstrate to the Internet community the seriousness of its compliance efforts, the Coalition calls on ICANN to order the shutdown of universe.jobs no later than May 6, 2011, therefore prohibiting Employ Media and its partners from profiting any further from their violations.

The breach notice issued by ICANN on February 27, 2011 was a direct rebuke to Employ Media, its alliance partner DirectEmployers Association, and the .JOBS sponsoring organization, the Society for Human Resource Management (“SHRM”), in response to their failure to operate and manage the .JOBS TLD in a manner that was compliant with the .JOBS Charter.  ICANN specifically identified the operation of the Dot Jobs Universe, a series of integrated employment domains created by Employ Media and DirectEmployers Association, as one of the most egregious Charter violations.  ICANN expressly stated in the breach notice that the operation of the Dot Jobs Universe is “inconsistent with the purpose stated in the .JOBS Charter and stated to the ICANN community” and “serve[s] the interests of [DirectEmployers Association], as well as Employ Media and SHRM rather than the interests of the human resource management professionals.”  ICANN also reprimanded Employ Media and SHRM for failing to establish meaningful registration restrictions for the .JOBS TLD, determining that Employ Media and SHRM were “exploiting” the Charter language “at the detriment of some participants of the human resources community.”  ICANN unequivocally stated this improper conduct appeared to “exclusively serve the financial interests of Employ Media and SHRM.”  ICANN originally gave Employ Media thirty (30) calendar days to cease its non-compliant use of the .JOBS TLD or otherwise risk termination of the .JOBS Registry Agreement.

Given ICANN’s unequivocal condemnation of Employ Media’s prohibited conduct and the ongoing detriment it is causing to members of the global Internet community, ICANN’s unwillingness to enforce even an incontrovertible case of contractual non-compliance raises significant questions about the wisdom of introducing hundreds of new gTLDs at this time. When Employ Media chose to respond by publicly accusing ICANN of duplicity and refusing to take any action to come into compliance during the initial – and ample – thirty day “cure period,” ICANN inexplicably rewarded the registry operator for its hostile response by granting it an extension until April 15, 2011.  See Employ Media Public Response to ICANN Notice on Employ Media’s website at http://www.goto.jobs/Employ%20Media%20Public%20Response%20to%20ICANN.pdf.

Last week, ICANN gave Employ Media yet another extension to May 6, 2011 on the conditions that Employ Media (1) provide ICANN with proposed amendments to the .JOBS Charter and (2) temporarily suspend only new registrations of .JOBS domain names until May 6, 2011.  This brief and temporary suspension, however, fails to prohibit Employ Media from operating the non-compliant Dot Jobs Universe – including thousands of names and websites it registered and/or launched after the breach notice.  Indeed, the impotence of this temporary suspension is underscored by Employ Media’s clearly signaled intention to resume its improper domain name registration scheme immediately after the May 6 deadline passes.  The correspondence relating to this extension is posted on ICANN’s website at http://www.icann.org/en/correspondence/enson-to-johnson-14apr11-en.pdf and http://www.icann.org/en/correspondence/ali-to-enson-18apr11-en.pdf.

While ICANN claims that its contractual compliance program “aims to ensure all ICANN-accredited registrars and registries comply with the terms of the agreements they have with ICANN,” its apparent reluctance to compel compliance by Employ Media suggests otherwise.  See ICANN website at http://www.icann.org/en/compliance/.

Since the issuance of the breach notice, Employ Media and its alliance partner DirectEmployers have publicly defied the authority of ICANN by registering thousands of domain names and launching thousands of websites under their non-compliant scheme.  Throughout this period, while Employ Media was ordered to cease its non-compliant conduct, its alliance partner DirectEmployers actively marketed the Charter-breaching Dot Jobs Universe to governmental entities, including the U.S. Department of Labor.  By granting Employ Media these undeserved extensions, ICANN is falling prey to Employ Media’s strategy of delaying – and eventually refusing – compliance with the .JOBS Charter.  Accordingly, the Coalition calls on ICANN to refuse to grant Employ Media any further extensions and to order the shutdown of the Dot Jobs Universe no later than May 6, 2011.

John Bell, Chairman of the Coalition, stated, “The Coalition previously stated it was confident that ICANN would demonstrate its commitment to enforce its rules and take all necessary and appropriate actions to terminate the non-compliant Dot Jobs Universe as soon as possible.  ICANN’s reluctance to enforce Charter compliance despite the clear language of its own breach notice is reason for grave concern in light of the anticipated launch of the gTLD initiative.  ICANN’s delay gives the impression to the Internet community that ICANN is unable or unwilling to enforce its rules despite overwhelming evidence of a conscious disregard for those rules. Employ Media has clearly demonstrated its willingness and ability to use half-truths and empty promises to lull the ICANN staff into a false sense of security about its intentions, and this latest extension suggests the registry operator is employing this tactic once again.  The only way for ICANN to re-establish its credibility is to compel the immediate shutdown of the Dot Jobs Universe and order Employ Media to initiate the unbiased, thoughtful and transparent process required to permit the ICANN community’s informed consideration of any proposal to re-write the rules for .JOBS.”


John Bell, Chairman, .Jobs Charter Compliance Coalition,

Chairman & CEO, Boxwood Technology, Inc., (410) 584-2986, jbell@boxwoodtech.com

Peter Weddle, Executive Director, International Association of Employment Web Sites,

(203) 964-1888, director@EmploymentWebSites.org

About the .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition

The .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition was formed in May 2010 to address concerns that Employ Media LLC’s planned Phased Allocation Program would violate the terms of the .JOBS Charter.  The members of the Coalition include:  1) AHA Solutions (American Hospital Association); 2) the American Society of Association Executives; 3) the American Society of Civil Engineers; 4) the American Staffing Association; 5) Boxwood Technology, Inc.; 6) CareerBuilder, LLC; 7) the International Association of Employment Web Sites; 8) twenty-three individual members of the International Association of Employment Web Sites, including CollegeRecruiter.com, Dice, HigherEdJobs, Indeed, JobG8, Jobing, VetJobs, and WorkinSports.com; 9) Monster Worldwide, Inc.; 10) the Newspaper Association of America; and 11) Shaker Recruitment Advertising & Communications.

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