[NA-Discuss] Request to have a Fast Track PDP initiated

Bob Bruen naralo at coldrain.net
Tue Nov 30 16:48:28 UTC 2010

In my opinion, there is an inherent tension between any business and the 
public interest. While the actual tension is not necessarily a problem, 
distortion of the relationship is a problem. The tension is simply a 
business trying to make as money as possible and the public interest is 
trying to protect the public in a unfair fight. The distortion appears 
when ever one side gains leverage reaching the magnitude such that the 
other party can no longer fight back.

Insider trading of stocks is pretty much illegal in most places, because 
it gives the insiders an advantage that takes the risk out of stock 
purchase for them, while everyone else is trying to figure out what will 
happen next.

In the case that Danny pointed out, the registrar has an unfair advantage, 
because they are the registrar. In a normal business situation, a business 
sells a good or service based on market pressures, which determines 
pricing. In a monopoly, the price is determined by the monopoly holder, 
clearly an unfair advantage and the reason why monopolies are controlled 
by governments.

IMHO, registrars should not be allowed to create an artificial scarcity to 
drive up prices on the commodities they control. If a user wants to buy 
them up in a speculation venture, that is a different situation entirely. 
In the old days, one could not acquire a domain name without an actual 
networked machine to put it on. That changed when it all became a 
business, to the detriment of the Internet as whole, as is evidenced by 
this discussion.

I have said it many times before, if the registrars, registries and ICANN 
do not police themselves for the public good, some US Federal agency will 
step in and do it for them, with the usual results. One possibility would 
be to label them as a "public utility," like telephone service (FCC), or 
something like the stock market (SEC), with a large amount of regulation.

And yes, this is US based analysis, but it has global implications. 
Imagine for a moment that all countries would be restricted to using their 
own ccTLD, with no access to .com, for example.

While we discuss details of what matters or how we should view a 
particular policy, keep in mind that more governments are becoming 
interested in ICANN and the Internet, as was demonstrated at ICANN in 
Brussels, by the several representatives of the EU. China has shown great 
interest in controlling the Internet, as well.

Rather than arguing for one's own position, we really ought to figure out 
what is best for all parties.


On Mon, 29 Nov 2010, Danny Younger wrote:

> Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2010 19:09:37 -0800 (PST)
> From: Danny Younger <dannyyounger at yahoo.com>
> To: na-discuss at atlarge-lists.icann.org
> Cc: discuss at lists.isoc-ny.org
> Subject: [NA-Discuss] Request to have a Fast Track PDP initiated
> Dear all,

Events that have transpired in the last few days attendant to the launch of .рф have made it clear to me that although we can't deal with the troubling issues that may arise with TLD launches in the ccTLD world, we do have the ability to act to protect the public interest within the gTLD sphere by way of a policy that would govern speculation in domain names by registrars.

By way of background, in the recent .рф ccTLD launch an ICANN accredited registrar, RU-Center, decided to register domain names in its own name on a priority basis and only then did it register other domain names.  Approximately 24,500 premium domains registered to RU-Center were then put up for auction. The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) then stepped in, shut down the auctions and accused a number of registrars of collusion.

What can we learn from this?  Simply put... greed in the new TLD launch process can lead to abuse of the public trust, and measures need to be in place to ensure that the public is protected from the ICANN-accredited registrar community.

In our gTLD world, there is at the moment no ICANN policy whatsoever governing speculation in, or warehousing of, domains by registrars.  Registrars are able to game the system to their own ends however they see fit; this has to change.

The current RAA (section 3.7.9) states:  "Registrar shall abide by any ICANN adopted specifications or policies prohibiting or restricting warehousing of or speculation in domain names by registrars".

As there is no such policy or specification, I suggest that we initiate a PDP to have such a policy created, namely a policy that would state:

"No registrar, registrar affiliate, or reseller of registrar services shall engage in warehousing of or speculation in domain names."

While I understand that the GNSO soon will broadly be looking at proposed amendments for the RAA, we all know that the GNSO process (if spread over the entirety of the RAA proposed amendments) can take years to arrive at a recommendation... yet with the imminent roll-out of hundreds of new gTLDs, we just don't have the luxury of waiting that long.

In my view, what is called for is a Fast Track PDP approach that would focus on a single policy recommendation that could be put in place before any new gTLD is launched.

I would ask the NARALO to bring this matter to the immediate attention of the ALAC.

Thanks for your consideration of this issue.

Danny Younger

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