[At-Large] [GTLD-WG] Registrars: The new travel agents? (was Re: Amazon, Google And Others Going After Generics)

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Fri Jun 15 20:08:43 UTC 2012

On 15 June 2012 15:10, Bret Fausett <bfausett at internet.law.pro> wrote:

> If Amazon makes domain names available under .SMILE, it will own all the
> second-level registrations. This certainly makes whois accuracy easy.
> Amazon will be your one point of contact for everything. I certainly expect
> that this will make life easier for law enforcement. If Amazon decides to
> make .SMILE names available to its users, they will use them solely at
> Amazon's pleasure under Amazon's terms of service.

So why is this suddenly a problem because it is Amazon behind it?

I had heard numerous complaints from people that purchased a hosting
service that came with a "free" domain name -- only to find out later that
ownership of the domain remained with the hosting company and wouldn't be
ported to any other hosting service. You were beholden to that hosting
company, that owned the name and allowed its use it only so long as you
hosted with them. If you left for another hosting service, they would not
only hang onto the domain but had the potential to offer it to a competitor
of yours who hosted with them. All nicely legit, buried in the
click-through Terms and Conditions.

There are other, murkier instances in which a web developer does the name
registration and holds the client hostage to it, trying to have a job for
life (or big payout).

I see the scenario you paint above as no different, except that the
awareness that the domain doesn't belong to you between is known up-front.

As for "easier for law enforcement", I see that as simply a
negatively-tainted euphemism for "more transparent".

I would argue that highly distributed assets like we have under the current
> registration model provide more power and long-term stability to users who
> want to have ownership interests in their Internet assets.

Well, yes, compared to *one* scenario painted by just one of the
applications. But arguably the status quo serves the needs of those who
crave such power, and the new models may serve those who don't. In any
case, I'm concerned by any blanket warnings about the newcomers based on
one extreme example.

So now we may have a more diverse group of registration spaces, with highly
> distributed open models competing with single-registrant, highly controlled
> models.

... and hybrids of the two, which I see coming from the likes of Microsoft
and Google and perhaps others yet-unknown. Let's not describe the whole
field in terms of its two extremes.

> But the new model is like trading home ownership for a tenancy in an
> apartment building.

As stated above, there are already examples of "domain tenancy" under the
status quo, most notably in name/hosting bundles, and they have existed
without concern by ICANN or the industry. So I'm not sure why there's
suddenly concern about that now.

> Nevertheless, I hope you, and the rest of the ALAC, give the newcomers the
> same scrutiny you give to the applicants from the registration industry.

Well, the newcomers have the goodwill advantage of not having shouted us
down at meetings, blocked policies advancing the public interest, or
refused members of the public entry into ICANN-funded meetings and "open"
negotiations. In this respect, a clean slate is probably a benefit.

Having said that, I don't expect that At-Large and ALAC will stop serving
the public interest just because of the new entrants.

- Evan

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