[At-Large] Fwd: [] Final Issue Report on New gTLD Subsequent Procedures

Kan Kaili kankaili at gmail.com
Thu Dec 10 12:59:51 UTC 2015

In short, consumers' interests must be protected, but only under solid technical and economic conditions, and within ICANN's capacity.

Kaili Kan

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Karl Auerbach" <karl at cavebear.com>
To: <at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>
Sent: Thursday, December 10, 2015 5:56 PM
Subject: Re: [At-Large] Fwd: [] Final Issue Report on New gTLD Subsequent Procedures

> On 12/9/15 11:31 PM, Avri Doria wrote:
>> On 09-Dec-15 17:56, Christopher Wilkinson wrote:
>>> More generally, TLD policy should protect the Registrant. Apparently that is not part of the new gTLD deal. Or is it?
>> To an extent.  ...
> I very much agree with Avri's positions here.
> ICANN was not constructed to be a consumer protection agency.  It was 
> constructed to assure stability - in fact in the beginning the word 
> "technical" was always pre-pended to "stability".  Stability is not 
> permanency.  A DNS TLD is stable if it doesn't wobble within time frames 
> measured in weeks and months.  But "stability" of anything related to 
> the internet does not extend to terms measured by unbounded numbers of 
> years.
> Now it is true, and remains true, that ICANN denies third party 
> beneficiary rights to registrants.  Thus domain name registrants have no 
> legal standing to compel TLD operators to meet existing ICANN 
> established standards of operational quality.  That is something that 
> would be very valuable and would be easy to put into place but which 
> ICANN has resisted for its entire existence.  If anything should be 
> fixed, it is that.
> The question should be: "How much larger do we want ICANN's already 
> large footprint to become?"
> ICANN's regulatory footprint is already large and heavy.
> ICANN required TLD applicants to set aside a full three years of 
> operating costs - that was something I have not seen in any other area 
> of business, even businesses that involve human health and safety.  That 
> cost was an enormous burden to applicants, and prevented many people and 
> groups to refrain from even bothering to apply for a TLD.  Isn't three 
> years of funded operations "stable"? Should it be ten years, fifty 
> years, a century?
> And ICANN already requires the new TLD operators to have hired backup 
> operators on hot standby.  That added no small amount of initial cost 
> and creates a significant operational overhead cost.
> Much of what is being proposed strikes me as a revival of centralized 
> five-year style planning, but this time for the internet.  I can't say 
> that that kind of centralized planning has had a great history of 
> success.  And success is particularly unlikely for something that is so 
> rapidly changing and evolving as the internet.
> I remember back in the early 1970's when we were playing with packet 
> switched networks that the telephone companies were raising the roofs 
> claiming that we were playing with fire, that we would destroy the 
> wonder-of-the-world which was the national and international telephone 
> network.  They were right; we did, eventually.  But it was not the 
> economic disaster that was predicted.
> ICANN can not be, and ought not to be, a guarantor of anything more than 
> the technical quality of upper tier DNS operations.  To do more risks 
> strangling the golden goose of the internet or, more likely, sending the 
> goose elsewhere.
> The example of VW's cheating on emissions was raised as some sort of 
> analogy to ICANN.  I do not see that analogy.  In the VW case, express 
> statements were made to governments and buyers that vehicles would meet 
> certain emission, power, and mileage numbers. Explicit promises to 
> buyers were knowingly and intentionally broken - or in the words of the 
> law, there was a misstatement of material facts upon which people relied 
> to their detriment - in a word, fraud.  In most places fraud is unlawful 
> and those harmed can bring actions to recover their losses.  And when 
> really bad, fraud can rise to the criminal level and those responsible 
> be punished.
> No such promises are made by either ICANN nor TLD sellers beyond that 
> TLD operations will meet certain minimum ICANN established 
> requirements.  And no one has said that those requirements are not being 
> met.
> ICANN's own long term requirement for many TLDs that domain names 
> registrations be limited to no more than ten years undercuts arguments 
> that domain name buyers some how believe that acquisition of domain 
> names is something with permanency similar to a common law fee simple 
> absolute right in real property.  Even the word "registration" rather 
> than "purchase" tends to suggest impermanence.
> I believe that some of the new TLD offerings did make it part of their 
> business plans to provide very long term guarantees.  But if I remember 
> correctly, those offerings were orders of magnitude more expensive per 
> year than the more routine TLD offerings.  In other words, consumers 
> have options to purchase long term guarantees by choosing those TLDs 
> that make such warranties.
> If one pushes ICANN to be a consumer protection agency than domain name 
> prices will be forced to significantly rise.  Consider how much it would 
> cost to acquire an business continuation insurance policy. The actuaries 
> will crank the numbers in order to maintain 100% continuity for an 
> indefinite period in the face of even unforeseeable risks and come up 
> with a whopping dollar number that will strangle DNS innovation or drive 
> people to do what has always been possible but always been dismissed 
> because the existing system runs very well: competing DNS systems 
> outside of the ICANN realm.
> But if one looks at an even longer time scale - say ten years - it is 
> becoming very clear that DNS names - which includes all TLDs - are 
> slowly submerging to become internal internet machinery and not really 
> of much interest to users.  Things like Facebook and Twitter handles and 
> URL's (which don't need to contain domain names at all) are becoming the 
> names and addresses of the internet.  In that future *all* TLDs are at 
> risk of loosing revenue streams.
> ICANN is already bloated to the degree that one fears that it is at risk 
> from just one thin wafer (that's a Monty Python reference). There is not 
> much that is funny when one begins to compare ICANN's staff size and 
> budgets to that of the ITU (especially if one plots the growth of those 
> numbers of each body over time and asks "when will they intersect?")
>         --karl--
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