[At-Large] Auction Proceeds - where we are and what you can help

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Sun May 14 22:53:43 UTC 2017

On 14 May 2017 at 16:55, Kan Kaili <kankaili at gmail.com> wrote:

I fully agree with you that certain sections of ICANN, primarily from the
> registry/registrar side, may resist discouraging domain parking out of
> their own financial interests.  However, ICANN, according to its mandate as
> defined by the Bylaws, is to protect the "public interest".  As I
> understand it, this means foremost to protect the end-users' interest.

​Your perception is a minority view. While ICANN may be considered to be
acting in the public service as an organization, the role and voice of the
end-user is expressly stated (and limited) in the ICANN bylaws. ​Only a
single member of the entire ICANN Board is chosen by representatives of the
end-user viewpoint; even a Board review that recommended two Board spots
was cut back down.

Furthermore, ICANN stands back while the vested interests constantly assail
the legitimacy of ALAC. The At-Large Review is a perfect recent example,
with the reviewers commenting at length on perceptions by other communities
(who want to silence us) at the expense of the intrinsic value of having
anyone speaking for the end-user interests.

When I was NARALO chair we were trolled frequently by people from the
domain industry imploring "aren't I part of the public too?" And any time
you go to an ALAC session with the term "public interest" in the title, no
matter what the original intent the meeting devolves into an hour-long
talk-fest without outcome agonizing about "what is the public interest?".

Welcome to ICANN, where the vested interests have an effective game plan to
keep any potential obstacles divisive and ineffective.

Otherwise, ICANN will become a DNS industry association and advocator, no
> longer to be trusted by the public.

​Some would argue that this has already happened, and that​ At-Large is a
mainly cosmetic appendage that ICANN indulges to give it an outward
appearance of public input. It funds competent and well-meaning staff for
At-Large, and (within strict and arbitrary limits) funds its outreach and
capacity-building dreams. But when it comes time for At-Large to actually
affect ICANN's grand direction the wins are minor.

​At the first At-Large Summit in Mexico City, our final report said that
the gTLD expansion was "unacceptable" in its proposed state at the time.
Very little had changed when the program finally rolled out, and I remind
that the position has never officially been rescinded. I highly doubt that
the Summit report was even read by the President and Board Chair to whom it
was presented.

There have been a number of changes at senior management, all in turn
publicly telling At-Large how important we are. Yet I invite you to find
concrete evidence of our actual big-picture influence.

​Everyone should ask themselves: we may have tweaked some things and have
produced plenty of volume -- but *how has ICANN better, in its management
of domain names, because of At-Large*?​

​At our best we have helped with course corrections which can be seen more
as damage control than forward-thinking. We ha​ve produced white papers and
policy statements that were painstakingly developed yet received not a word
of official reply (let alone action!) beyond gratitude for the effort.

​Yes, I'm cynical. I have some right to be, I've helped develop some of the
advice, endorsed by ALAC, which has been ignored. I've witnessed a lot of
the insults, dismissals and rejections first-hand. I stay involved in the
hope that my successors will have better luck than I. But based on current
activity, such as the inevitable march towards new gTLD rounds despite the
problems with the last round, the challenges remain as much as ever.​ And
the At-Large Review, if all of it is implemented, will make the situation
even worse.

​- Evan​
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