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1/17/06

Inviting ICANN to Respond to this Bakers Dozen of Issues.

This post has 13 issues I wish ICANN would respond to. They do not respond on mailing lists or other forums and are trying to maintain staus quo without regard to public sentiment. They are supposed to be open and transparent, are supposed to use a bottom up consensus method of decision-making, and are supposed to foster competition on the Internet.

I charge they are doing none of the above and invite those insiders and board members at ICANN to respond to the charges I make here.

1. Domain names were never meant to be representative of trademarks. However I agree trademarks do need to be protected.

2. Trademarks are category specific, not ownership of a string of letters. By creating tlds that match trademark categories, companies could protect their mark in the category it was filed in, leaving generic tlds open to first come first serve as intended.

3. Having a 3-4 word domain name does have restrictions and handicaps Vs having a one-word domain name. There are no short domain names to be had in com, net, biz, info, or even org that are worth having. This creates unfair competition because of the shortage which has been artificially created by ICANN.

4. By creating new tlds, you increase the chance that not only existing businesses and individuals will get a good, short domain name in some tld, but also think forward to future generations of users being able to do so. It's like cities who you know planned badly because they did not foresee the expansion of there city, therefore built too few highways and freeways, causing traffic congestion. Why make that same mistake on the Internet? They are about to introduce IPV6 so there will be more IP addresses available to meet the demand, yet still refuse to create more TLDs to make more short domain names available? Does that make any sense whatsoever?

5. If ICANN is going to continue deciding what tlds to allocate, then make them category specific causing less confusion and less arbitration over trademark rights.

6. ICANN has no right to see my business plan. I may have the greatest business plan ever thought of and that may revolutionize the domain name industry altogether. Why would I give ICANN $50,000 to review it, keep my fee, give my tld to someone else and let them use my own business plan to introduce it?

7. ICANN is a technical body, not a consumer protection agency. Bonds and insurance can cover the failure of a registry with technical assurances from a body like the IETF.

8. Running a tld and selling domain names is a business. How can I start that business if ICANN is trying to decide everything for me. They are not business experts who can decide whether one business plan is better than any other. Hewlett Packard was a computer company and failed to see any value in the pc market. So if they couldn't see the future what makes those at ICANN think they can do it? The business plan should not be part of any application since it's none of ICANN's business and they are not equipped to decide the value of the plan in the first place.

9. Technical ability to run a tld coupled with a time limit for introduction of that tld is all that matters. The time limit is so that people don't register tlds and squat on them. If they fail to open the tld registry within a certain period of time, then it goes back into the pool. This also keeps those that do not have the financing from registering a tld because they wouldn't be able to launch anyway. It also keeps the speculators out of the tld market and insures genuine interest in launching a new tld.

10. Let the market decide which tlds are viable and which or not. That is the essence of the free enterprise system.

11. ICANN does not have actual authority to tell me I cannot start a registry for a tld without their permission. They only have the authority to make sure I can meet the technical requirements of doing so. The restriction of namespace is restraint of free trade and free enterprise and as such, illegal. The fact that it has not been challenged properly yet does not mean it will not be.

12. They are still not an elected body. They still do not have any bottom up consensus. They still do not have transparency. They have eliminated the GA and DNSO so have no real individual participation. The current GNSO does not represent individual users. You have to have an organization in order to even apply as a member. These are weaknesses that a lawsuit could exploit. In ICANN's mou with the DoC it requires they do all of the above plus foster competition. The fact they have not done so will not help their legal status in any court of law.

13. The fact they are supposed to foster competition has been completely ignored by the ICANN BoD. Restricting namespace does not foster competition. The agreement with Verisign does not foster competition. The heavily weighed advantage given to IP interests does not foster competition. 2 seats on the board for IP interests and 2 seats for the business constituency is totally redundant. When is the last time these seats opposed each other on any issue? This does not foster competition either.

Will ICANN respond either here or on the GNSO mailing list or will they continue to ignore what the public wants until they are forced to do so in a court of law?

By Chris McElroy aka NameCritic
More Things That Just Piss Me Off

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