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

Roberto Gaetano roberto_gaetano at hotmail.com
Sat Jun 29 12:26:21 UTC 2019

Good day/night all.
Having carefully read the contributions of Karl and Evan on this topic, I must say that I lean more on Evan’s side. But this is by and large irrelevant for what I want to say.
What I find unfortunate is that we seem unable to bring these two great minds at the same table collaborating for a mutually acceptable solution rather than insisting in making their own points - that the other party rebuts with equal insistence.
I think that we all have by now understood the points. The question is whether we do have a mediation possible that will be acceptable for both parties that have anyway a common ground in the attention towards the diverse user community.
Can we try to think out of the box?
Can we propose a price cap that differentiates between existing registrations and new registrations?
Can we propose to analyse what means “use” and “not use” and instead of a flat increase in fees have a diversified fee depending on use (non-use being subject to a higher fee, obviously)?
Can we propose to set limits for the secondary market, like for instance a limit for the sell/buy ratio?
Can we propose that the domain fee not be fixed but related to the market value of the domain?
I know that most, if not all, the examples I am giving will be proven (or supposed) impracticable, but that should not stop us from brainstorming on what could be a common ALAC position even outside the straightjacket of the perceived limitations that ICANN is providing us - I am sure that others will have better ideas to throw in for discussion in search of a common proposal instead of the basically “well, we really don’t know” that is the only possible outcome if we only stand in contraposition of eachother.
In my opinion, for too long we have been held hostage of an externally defined picket fence. It is time that we start thinking whether there is something that has to be said and done for internet users in their own interest, and not just as a reaction to the topics that are of interest to other parts of the multi-stakeholder community.
And I have the belief (illusion?) that the ATLAS III meeting in few months can be the cornerstone for building a strategy for ALAC that is fully focused on Internet users.

> On 29.06.2019, at 02:03, Karl Auerbach <karl at cavebear.com> wrote:
> 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.
> 	--karl--
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