[At-Large] FW: Our choice for the ICANN Board

Sivasubramanian M isolatedn at gmail.com
Sat Nov 27 17:37:45 UTC 2010

Dear Evan,

On Sat, Nov 27, 2010 at 9:46 PM, Evan Leibovitch <evan at telly.org> wrote:

> hi Sivas,
> On 27 November 2010 09:44, Sivasubramanian M <isolatedn at gmail.com> wrote:
> *As more and more at Large leadership positions are filled by people from
> > > the business constituency, It is becoming very important for ALAC and
> at
> > > Large to preserve at Large as a user's constituency to TRULY balance
> the
> > > business stakeholder group. Any leadership position within ALAC and at
> > Large
> > > should be occupied by persons with ample concern for the end user.*
> >
> I must say that I'm perplexed by the nature of this question, and I take it
> personally even though I am not a candidate for Director.

Please don't.

> My own record within At-Large is now fairly well known. I don't think that
> I
> have ever promoted an agenda that goes against user interests.
> Yet I am also a 50% partner in "Webwrote", a startup company making ebooks
> and related services. That is a business and I am most certainly intending
> to operate it on a for-profit basis. And since 1985 I have owned and
> operated my own IT consultancy.
> Do these activities make me a "business interest"? How has my involvement
> in
> multiple for-profit companies adversely affected my approach to ICANN
> policy, such as my extensive involvement in the Morality and Public Order
> issue, the WG creating policy on support for applicants in developing
> economies, etc.?
> I must strongly object to the inference that "business", in and of itself,
> is a dirty word

Did I say anywhere that business is a dirty word?

> and I take offense that merely being in business taints
> one's approach to ICANN's effect on end-users of the Internet.

My message is not about the candidate's background in business, if any, and
there is none that I know of.
All that I have said is that Alan is soft on the Domain Industry and that he
did not represent the end user

> The fact is
> that far more adult Internet end-users run and/or work for businesses than
> non-profits. If At-Large did not have participants actively involved in
> businesses we would not reflect the reality of the end-user public for whom
> we claim to speak.

(This is not about Alan) There is no harm in At-Large participants being
engaged in business in general. But there is a problem if someone from the
Registry constituency taking a RALO / ALAC position when he or she has a
Registry / Registrar agenda to pursue.

> The core business interest within ICANN that we need to confront and
> address
> is that of companies that have (and want to have) contractual relationships
> with ICANN who use that relationship as their business -- Registrars,
> registries and their resellers. Part of my own personal agenda in ALAC is
> to
> stop having ICANN operate as a trade association for these vested
> interests.
> It is an abomination that such vested interests control -- by design --
> half
> of GNSO, ICANN's primary policy-creation vehicle. On one hand, they are in
> contractual arrangements with ICANN, on the other, they have substantial
> control over ICANN policy, therefore affecting the way the contracts with
> them are done. This is a core injustice that needs addressing.

Right. If they control most of ICANN, they will have to ensure that they
retain their
control. This would require that the Board, AC/SO and possibly Staff seats
occupied by people who are 'agreeable'.

> To me VI stands for "vested interests", and is an internal issue between
> them. I'm less concerned about cross-ownership than I am about the effect
> on
> end-users. which can (and should) be regulated regardless of who owns who.
> To that extent I supported the free-trade model, that has ICANN meddling as
> little as possible in that aspect so it can focus its oversight on the
> end-result to users.
> *My impression of your participation in the Post Expiry Domain Name working
> > > group and the Vertical Integration working group is that you [Alan]
>  are
> > soft on the
> > > Domain Industry and muted and weak on the real issues of concerns to
> > users.
> >
> I disagree strongly. Both Alan and Sébastien have solid credentials in
> advancing user interests. One could easily argue that the entire movement
> within ICANN to stop "domain tasting" was in large part thanks to Alan's
> personal initiative and his understanding of how to move that initiative
> through the ICANN processes. Indeed that constituted the first time ever
> that an At-Large initiated policy initiative was adopted by ICANN. And now
> PEDNR, another of Alan's policy initiatives, is following the same path.

> > > If elected to represent at Large to take the only available seat for at
> > > Large representation in the Board, wouldn't you be equally soft on
> > broader
> > > issues of greater importance? You have a rich experience and an
> > impressive
> > > background, but wouldn't it be apt for you seek to be elected to the
> > > Board as a Business nominee rather than as a user's nominee? *
> >
> "Soft" is in the eye of the beholder. IMO that approach indicates a wisdom
> that that we won't get everything that we want immediately in huge chunks,
> and will need to advance our agenda within ICANN in measured, incremental
> stages.
> The Voltaire quote, *"Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien" -- *the perfect being
> the enemy of the good -- would seem to apply here. Whoever is in the
> Director will at times have to be more diplomat than advocate. Remember,
> it's just one seat in 15, and our goal is to affect policy rather than just
> "take stands" that are ignored.
> > The Business of Business is to do business. A representative from
> Business
> > is fully entitled to argue for policies favorable to the survival and
> growth
> > of business. But a balance will prevail only if the users have their own
> > representative whose interests are fully aligned to the users.
> See above. "Business" is how I feed and shelter my family so I can do all
> this fun ICANN volunteerism -- and I am as much an end-user as anyone here.
> My business, like that of most of the world's business, has nothing to do
> with the creation or selling of Internet domains. The business interests
> that matter in an ICANN context are those that deal with ICANN vested
> interests -- registrars, registries, resellers and those who are waiting in
> line to join those constituencies.
> To that extent, I would happily argue that, within the ICANN context,
> Internet end-user interests are more aligned with those of Coca Cola than
> with the smallest registrar's agent.
> How many relationships does Alan have with existing registries, registrars,
> or TLD applicants? None that I'm aware of. *THAT* is perhaps more
> reasonable
> yardstick than simply referring to "business" as something bad -- or
> against
> user interests -- in and of itself.

Again, I did not refer to "business" as something bad.  In fact YOUR
narrations about
business (in this message) is far too strong than I have ever described the

You have your impressions about Alan. I have my own impressions. What I
shared here is a fraction of what I have experienced and observed. My
remain unchanged.

Sivasubramanian M

> - Evan
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