[At-Large] - Price caps - was: The Case for Regulatory Capture at ICANN | Review Signal Blog

Karl Auerbach karl at cavebear.com
Sat Jun 29 00:03:00 UTC 2019

On 6/28/19 2:36 PM, Evan Leibovitch wrote:

> Here's another, anecdotal datapoint: I have been involved in the 
> Internet for nearly as long. But it's been helping family, friends, 
> small businesses, colleges, religious institutions, and refugees in 
> camps. I've worked with entrepreneurs both new and established, 
> struggling to make a presence on the Internet and finding that their 
> first 20 choices were only available at an aftermarket premium. The 
> result is that they either had to:
>   * change their brand name to suit the available names (this has
>     happened more than once)
>   * agonize over whether to settle for a domain name using hyphens
>   * pay a lesser premium in a new TLD they don't know is fully reachable
>   * resign themselves to having a non-memorable (ie, shitty) domain and
>     using other strategies to lead people to them.

I agree that it is sad that we don't live in a world of pink ponies, 
unicorns, perfect equity, and no competition for resources.

Your people want "brand names" - which I read as a synonym for 
"trademark" - and find that someone else has already registered it?

That's pretty normal life in the land of trade names.  Somebody got 
there first.  Somebody else go there too late.  That is not speculation, 
that is not abuse.

Athol Fugard wrote that "the saddest words ... are 'too late'."

Or are you arguing that there is some sort of elevated goodness 
attribute that should allow "family, friends, small businesses, 
colleges, religious institutions, and refugees" to preempt prior uses? 
And who shall be the judge that weighs applicants to measure who is the 
more worthy?

(Given that my wife and I make large contributions of our time, labor, 
and money to non-profit and charitable organizations, we might find that 
kind of preemptive power useful.  But I doubt that such a thing would 
always be perceived as fair or just by the prior users.)

(And I do wonder about the inclusion of "small business" and 
"entrepreneurs" in that list - I'd love to have my small businesses to 
have a power of preemption.  And in the several start-ups that I've done 
I would have welcomed the ability to take a domain name away from 
another prior user.)

Are you focusing on the notion of "use"?  If so, what is "use" of a 
domain name?  Must it resolve - for any query from any source - to an IP 
address, or a TXT record or something?  If that requirement were put 
into place you can bet that every registrar will quickly deploy a 
"sufficient to pass muster" resolver service for its customers to use.

(Since you mentioned entrepreneurs - A common practice in start ups is 
to register a portfolio of domain names as candidates for products or 
corporate names, to hold them in private for several years, and then to 
sell off the ones that were not selected to be put into play.  Does that 
constitute a "use" or an "abuse"?)

Regarding hyphenated or even non-semantic names - Anyone these days who 
depends on humans making semantic sense out of a domain name is living 
in days of fading glory.  Search engines, especially when embedded in 
browser address bars, have long ago started to diminish the use of 
domain names as carriers of semantic content.  And the rise of 
application handles such as facebook or twitter names has diminished 
that further.


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