[At-Large] On a "consumer" agenda for ICANN

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Mon Sep 5 22:55:47 UTC 2016

On 6 September 2016 at 00:14, Dharma Dailey <dharma.dailey at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sep 5, 2016, at 2:27 AM, Evan Leibovitch <evan at telly.org> wrote:
> I think the main issue of accountability stems from a fundamental lack of
> public understanding on "accountable to whom? and how to assert this?"
> I don’t want to sound overly harsh because I greatly respect those of you
> who have diligently worked on behalf of users within the ICANN process for
> so long.  But I would argue the opposite is also true.

​Hi Dharma,

You're not being harsh at all, and I appreciate the response.​

>  The same details you state below also support a view that *on the whole*
> the ICANN + registration industry has a lack of clarity about who
> registrants are (or could be).

​From my personal perspective, there is a prevailing view ​in the domain
industry that every human on earth -- and every organizations of more than
two people -- are simply potential domain buyers who haven't yet been sold.
It's that worldview that drives the massive expansion of gTLDs, and the
massive domaining industry of name speculators hoping to guess what domain
you want before you want it (so they can buy it first and extort from you

I would disagree that the small business market is not a specific target of
the domain industry, but I would agree that the domain industry has yet to
come up with a simple compelling message versus alternatives such as
Facebook *and* they have yet to address the many obstacles uniquely faced
by this segment.

> In the US where the VAST majority of businesses are sole proprietor or
> under 25 employees— arguably each one a potential registrant— a large
> portion of these are now likely better served by creating a Facebook Page
> than a website.

​I absolutely agree. In fact, if you look earlier in this thread you'll see
how I mention that ICANN refuses to see how things like Facebook pages and
URL shorteners are perceived out in the world as viable alternatives to
obtaining "memorable"  domain names. ICANN's perception of "competition"
and "choice" appears limited to cheering the availability of multiple
different TLDs through multiple different registrars. Within the community,
only ALAC is trying to push the boundaries of that short-sightedness.

It's not all ICANN's fault. There are many examples, for instance of small
businesses held hostage by domain hosting operators that offer "free"
 domain names that are owned by the hosting service rather than the
customer. ICANN cannot fix these problems by itself but it can play a role
in plain language explanations of what "owning"  a domain name means and
what are the rights and obligations of a domain name owner. So far ICANN
has refused to take on this role as educator beyond anything purely within
the scope of what it oversees. As a result there is a huge deficiency in
big-picture public awareness of the benefits and pitfalls. And so people
turn to Facebook and other alternatives because of the simplicity.


- Evan

> Compared to registering your own domain etc, Facebook fills a niche
> largely by addressing head on a number of issues that time and again get
> discussed at ICANN but simply have not been addressed as satisfactorily:
> namely security, simplicity,  and cost. Yes, there are many great people
> raising concerns on behalf of that segment of registrants— and certainly
> their have been improvements achieved through those efforts—  but the proof
> is in the pudding. That segment of registrants are just not a consistent
> and marked pre-occupation for all parties— as they would need to be to
> really get breakthrough solutions in place.
> Dharma Dailey
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