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

Kan Kaili kankaili at gmail.com
Mon May 15 07:54:03 UTC 2017

Hi, Evan,

Thank you again for your reply.

I fully respect your feelings as an At-Large veteran over so many years.  Thus, my goal is to take over the torch as your successor, and to continue on our yet-to-be-accomplished mission.

As you pointed out, due to historical reasons, the current composition of ICANN is indeed not to represent consumers/end-users.  Your example of the Board's membership most clearly demonstrates that.  Another example of my own is, during ICANN CEO's recent visit to China (I cannot spell his name), I asked him the question:  Exactly what is ICANN?  In my view and according to its policy setting role, it is a regulator.  However, my opinion was flatly rejected by him describing ICANN as a "stock exchange".

However, the current situation does not mean that we stop our struggle to represent end-users.  On the other hand, ICANN is also going thru a slow but steady change.  For example, the CCT-RT's report was able to accomodate sections on domain parking, trademark protection, etc., which are critical to the new gTLD program and against the DNS industry's interest.  Although this did not come easy without a fight, but it is progress being made afterall.

Thus, although I can fully understand you being cynical, but we cannot stop there.  On behalf of the billions in the world, we must go on, generation after generation, until ICANN can finally justify itself as truely representing the world's billions of end-users.  Maybe then, At-Large itself would have a majority on the Board?    :)

Thank you again.


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Evan Leibovitch 
  To: Kan Kaili 
  Cc: ICANN At-Large list 
  Sent: Monday, May 15, 2017 6:53 AM
  Subject: Re: [At-Large] Auction Proceeds - where we are and what you can help

  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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