I'm glad that Chris is asking the questions that he does in his blog, the most recent entry being at http://onthenet.ambler.net/blog/_archives/2005/2/23/368633.html.
Chris continues our discussion of how would we resolve the situation were there to be multiple, and presumably different, versions of a TLD, our example being the TLD that I operate, .ewe.
I have suggested the NTP (Network Time Protocol) as an example of a design that deals with a critical element of the net and our economic fabric - accurate time - but which does not require that there be one single authoritative source. Rather NTP accepts multiple claims of authority and through a process of consensus and heuristics weeks out false tickers (which do exist whether by intent or by error) and produces a result good enough for all but the most precision of timekeeping tasks. I ask why DNS could not be refined to allow multiple sources and through a process of human and automated selection, weed out "bogus" sources.
In the next round Chris pointed out that the question of time is far less subjective than the question of which version of aTLD to accept. That is quite true.
My response was that we have a plethora of existing mechanisms - both economic and legal - that resolve those kinds of situations. Some of these mechanisms work by not resolving the question at all but rather leave it up to the discretion of the internet consumer, or their ISP agents and proxies, to make the choice based on their own needs and desires.
Chris continues by pointing out that the net spans national boundaries and that the mechanisms I refer to are much weaker in an inter-national setting than they are in intra-national settings.
As usual there is much merit in what Chris says. I would be a dunderhead if I were to ignore the fact that, yes, the mechanisms to resolve disputes across national boundaries are weaker. But I also recognize that for the most part, if somebody in Olliestan or Fredonia, comes up with their own version of .ewe that A) they are far more likely than I to have direct experience with ewes and B) are likely to be playing to a difference audience of consumers than I am here in California. In other words, as a practical matter, our conflict will probably be more imaginary than real.
But suppose that the conflict becomes real - then there is the meta question whether we ought to establish a body of internet governance just to save little ol' me the trouble of trying to engage in a rights wrestling match with someone in a barely electrified country on the other side of the globe? (And isn't that what has been much of the justification so far for ICANN - that it saves a small group of people, the intellectual property industry, a few bucks to enforce rights that most of the rest of us couldn't care less about?)
Chris' final paragraph is where the really interesting stuff is to be found. Chris asks why each ISP doesn't just create its own DNS tailored to its own customer base and with assurances of quality, as measured by the preferences of that customer base. My answer is this: Yes! This is what I have been suggesting: that the pieces needed to create a root zone are so small and easy to move about that pretty much anyone, from individual techies to ISPs, can construct their own DNS services for their own use. Any inconsistencies with other DNS systems will tend to be resolved by the natural pressure to remove undesired inconsistencies (recognizing that some inconsistencies, such as the removal of names that tend to lead to porn or similar materials are a kind of inconsistency that many people actually want to have.)
In these discussions I'm always reminded of Monty Python's Hungarian Phrasebook/Tobacconist Shop sketch in which a Hungarian tourist tries to use a rather defective Hungarian-to-English phrasebook. I consider a DNS system that provides bad name translations, with badness being measured from my point of view as a user of those name translations, as a DNS system that is much like that Hungarian Phrasebook - something to be tossed into the dustbin at the earliest opportunity and replaced with a system that delivers results much more to my liking.
Chris Ambler in his blog entry "Standard Roots?" responds to my question why should DNS depend on a single source of authority while the internet's time protocol, NTP, survives quite well without any central authority. In particular he asks how one ought to determine which is the more rightful owner of a domain, such as my .ewe TLD if there are multiple claimants.
My answer is very simple: "The Old Fashioned Way". There is a well traveled road formed by existing practices of competition assisted by the traditional laws governing trade and service marks.
To be more precise: Imagine that two .ewe's are started by different people. There would be the normal race to establish territories, to obtain trade and service mark rights (common law and also by registration), and, most importantly, to obtain customers. Within the spheres established by the scope of their trademark rights they will evolve over time (which will also stretch and shape the scope of the marks). And over time they will each exercise greater or lesser degrees of creativity or define more or less interesting products and prices. The economic powers of each will be shaped by their success within their respective marketplaces. If they come to blows over trade or service mark rights then they can fight it out in the courts or one can acquire the other.
The point is that there need not be any overlord of names that says that my .ewe wins and that your's looses. Instead the normal rules of economic competition and trademark law determine the outcome.
You might ask a few questions: What if the names are not used in commerce and thus not subject to the law of trade/service marks? What about the notion of first come first served? What about user confusion?
As for the first question: If two combatants for .ewe want to duke it out without resorting to trademark law then I believe that we may want to fall back upon the old rule that first-in-time is first-in-right. But the important point here is that the choice to apply that rule is not made by some singular authority of names but rather directly by each person who constructs a root zone file and indirectly by each person who chooses which root zone (and thus root zone file) to use when he/she constructs his/her view of the internet landscape.
By analogy: there are millions of speed dial buttons on millions of telephones around the world. The telephone systems of the world do not wobble into oblivion because each person gets to chose what telephone numbers are assigned to the buttons on their own phones. We neither need nor want a worldwide central authority over speed buttons - but that is what the existing DNS policy regime is tending towards.
As for the second question: First come first served is a principle of trademark law already, so if two marks associated with same-named TLDs should come into conflict then temporal priority is a factor. If the names are outside of the trademark space then those who build root zone files will probably often take time precedence into account among the factors they evaluate when choosing the sources of the TLDs they wish to incorporate into their root zone's portfolio of names.
As for the last question: It has often been asserted that users of the internet will be confused if domain names have different meanings in different places. I don't find that to be a particularly valid argument when I reflect upon the fact that domain names already change meaning over time, often over very short periods of time. Domain names do not have temporal stability.
In addition, users might actually find the net to be more "stable" from their personal points of views if they can shape the landscape of names by saying what names they chose to recognize and what names they chose to exclude. Today's DNS policy regime is based on a Procrustean view that imposes a catholic name space upon everyone whether they want it or not. That kind of dictatorial approach is not unlike a policy that would require everyone on the internet to speak using only the English language and character script.
The bottom line of all of this is this: We don't need any new governance body to resolve (pun intended) between two .ewe's. This kind of problem has both existed and been solved for ages. The marketplace and legal mechanisms to reconcile these disputes exist and are known to work without the need for new bodies of governance.
Steven Forrest's Free2Innovate blog is full of useful information and commentary. And I often find myself in agreement with the opinions that are expressed, particularly with regard to the impairment of innovation through overly broad or mis-directed attempts at internet governance.
On February 21, Free2Innovate had an item entitled Today's Scary Headline in which, should the question come down to ICANN or the ITU, puts its support behind ICANN.
It seems that the core of Steven's concern is that the ITU is a large bureaucracy and that it is affiliated with the UN and the UN has put Tunisia, a country that has questionable credentials with respect to democracy and free speech, in a leadership role in the WSIS (of which WGIG - Working Group on Internet Governance) is a part.
Steven also mentions a pull towards ICANN based on its assertion that ICANN has ideals of freedom, openness, technological progress, and innovation.
Let me address these points:
As for bureaucracy - yes, the ITU is most certainly a bureaucracy. But then again, so is ICANN. In terms both of the number of pigeonholes and linkages between them ICANN's org chart rivals that of organizations far larger than the ITU. And the ITU has had 150 years over which its bureaucracy has developed. ICANN ramified into its Byzantine structure in a mere 7 years.
So if we are to decide on the grounds of which is the worse bureaucracy, I think that ICANN takes the prize both in complexity per unit of job-to-be-performed and in terms of speed of its growth.
And if we measure the competence of the ITU and ICANN bureaucracies we find that the ITU is a well oiled machine while ICANN sputters and smokes like a very old and tired automobile. In addition, the ITU's bureaucracy seems to stay focused on the tasks set before it - the interoperation of the telephone networks - without getting too deeply enmeshed in social or economic engineering. ICANN, on the other hand, has effectively abrogated any role in the technical operation of the DNS or IP address allocation systems, leaving those essential tasks to virtually independent bodies. And at the same time ICANN has enthroned itself as the source of supranational policies that dictate trademark-domain-name policy that is law in all but name, has imposed a business system of domain name systems that is not only anti-innovative but is also highly consumer-unfriendly.
It has been aptly said that ICANN recapitulates the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), but badly.
As for Tunisia, I agree that this is somewhat of a fox-in-the-henhouse situation. However, the UN has over the years established machinery that impartially ticks away installing and removing member states from committee and council positions. Tunisia's turn simply came up. And being in that role doesn't mean that Tunisia's policies dominate the debate or dictate the outcome; quite the contrary - from my observation it is the almost totally silent (silent in public, anyway) participant, the United States, that dominates the debate.
As for ICANN's ideals - I have seen again and again, both from the inside (remember I was a board member) and the outside that ICANN's adherence to ideals is no deeper than the stain of laser toner on paper. I had to bring legal action (I won) to even take a look as a board member at ICANN's financial papers - that's "openness" that only an Enron mentality could love. And ICANN has repudiated public participation in the making of policies that affect the public; ICANN's ALAC is just that: A-Lack of power.
The ITU is mainly driven by large telephone companies and governments. But is that any different than ICANN which is driven by large telephone companies and the intellectual property industries? (An interesting chart can be constructed by multiplying each telco-related or intellectual-property related board member by the number of years that he/she has been on the board.)
As the the linkage to governments - The ITU is most definitely the creation of governments acting through an explicit international agreement among nations. ICANN carries the form of a private California Non-Profit/Public-Benefit corporation. But that's only the shadow - the reality is that ICANN is a private arm, a secular arm, of the US Department of Commerce. Sure, the Dept of Commerce likes to pretend that ICANN moves of its own accord, but sometimes the control is obvious - as when the US Dept of Commerce simply exempted the .us TLD from ICANN's control.
So, as between ICANN and the ITU, I don't agree with Steven that ICANN is automatically the preferred choice.
I like to think of the question of internet governance as a hiring decision: we are hiring some body to do some jobs. As in the case of all such hiring decisions, it is rather important to figure out what jobs need to be done so that the right person or entity can be hired for each job. The internet governance debates have not yet created adequate job definitions. And until we know very clearly what we want done it is premature to pick or create entities do to those jobs.
Under new laws cows infected with Mad Cow disease will get more privacy protection than people who register domain names.
Under these new laws the public won't be able to learn information about whether their meat supply is safe.
While under ICANN's "whois" policy, the name, address, and phone number of everyone, including children, must be published and made freely available to the predators of the world 24x7x365.
Sick cows get privacy backed by law, predators get an easy way to find and stalk children.
Wow, it is a mad, mad world!
Time on the internet should be uniform and global
If it is 1:18 am GMT in Paris then it also ought to be 1:18am GMT in Singapore.
You might be a dog on the internet. But woe to you if you try to make up your own version of the time and date and foist it off on others.
ICANN and the IAB claim that the internet's Domain System (DNS) requires a single catholic root.
If that is true than it is even more imperative that there be one single source of internet time.
Dong! Wrong answer.
The time protocol used on the internet, NTP, (RFC1305) not only uses, but actually encourages, multiple time sources. These sources can all claim to be fully authoritative. Even under these conditions false tickers - bad clocks - are properly handled and rejected.
The domain name system is in serious need of renovation. Some of that renovation is of a technical nature - these are things like expanding the UDP packet size to a modern value, expanding the "label" size to better accommodate international scripts, etc.
Among the most important of these technical changes would be a relaxation of the perceived need for there to be a single catholic root - which represents a single point of attack and single point of failure.
Some of the risk has been ameliorated by the deployment of anycast. But replica servers - which is what anycast is - suffer from the old problem of GIGO (Garbage-In/Garbage-Out): If an anycast cluster becomes contaminated with bad data then all the members of that cluster are equally contaminated.
What DNS needs is a means, such as we find in the internet's time protocol, NTP, to use multiple, even inconsistent, sources of data.
This is quite possible. NTP does this by applying a number of sanity checks and excluding data from sources that appear insane. DNS could also use heuristics, filters, and cross checks to accept data that is good and reject data that is bad.
Is there anything that prevents us from moving towards such a more robust name system? There's nothing technical (beyond the mammoth size of the task of upgrading from the existing DNS base). The biggest obstacle is psychological and bureaucratic. Through techno-self-hypnotism and anti-innovative/self-preserving assertions of bodies such as the US Department of Commerce and its progeny, ICANN, many of us have been led to believe that today's internet is the best of all possible internets and the DNS is the best of all possible naming systems.
If someone takes a moment to examine the DNS root file one of the first things that is seen is how small it is. And if you apply a bit of text compression the result is about 15K bytes - that's smaller than most of the cutesy little icons that decorate web pages.
We don't need DNS root servers at all - copies of the DNS root zone file could be easily disseminated by P2P networks, by IP multicast, and even be published in newspapers (in text or as a 2-D barcode).
And each TLD could publish, again using any number of mechanisms, including out-of-band channels such as newspapers, signatures that would allow one to winnow out the good root zone files from the false ones.
The internet's time system is extremely robust because everyone can pick the time servers they want to follow and the protocol design weeds out the sources that drift or fail (and such drifting and failing does occur in real life, even in the absence of malice.)
Today's DNS is like the Douglas fir tree - strong but brittle: it will stand firm against even the strongest of forces until it suddenly snaps, breaks, and falls to the ground in pieces - the result is firewood. NTP is more like the laurel tree - flexible and even if it falls in a storm its roots can sustain the fallen trunk and it can continue to live and grow.
One of the great dangers of ICANN and our efforts towards internet governance is the ossification of technology and, more importantly, the ossification of our creative powers through the loss of our ability to see better ways of solving problems.
Below are my latest comments for the UN's Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). (A few typos have been corrected.)
Regarding the document working definition of internet governance, posted at http://www.wgig.org/docs/WorkingDefinition.pdf:
In the second paragraph the listed participants in this system of governance are:
Sadly, this list does not include living, breathing, thinking people.
Has the concept of governance fallen so low that people no longer have a place?
Why should legal fictional persons (i.e. corporations) receive seats via "the private sector" while those who ultimately endure and suffer the burdens of governance and who ultimately pay the price of governance, the individual people of the nations of the Earth, are excluded?
The claim has been made many times that "people don't [need] entrée into the halls of internet governance because they are represented by their respective government[s]." Were that claim true then "the private sector" and "civil society" would also be represented by their governments.
Do we really want the internet to be regulated through a system of governance that is based on preference for some and exclusion of others?
Comments of Karl Auerbach
Former North American Elected Director, ICANN
Clearly much effort has gone into these papers. The authors are to be thanked and applauded for these initial steps – and I personally hope that the authors will continue their efforts and continue their contributions. And I hope that my comments are accepted, as I intend them to be, as attempts to be constructive.
I wish there had been more time to digest them between the date of their publication and the date that comments are due.
As a general matter I find that there are certain weaknesses in all of the papers that I read:
On a broader scale the papers suffer from a more foundational weakness – they do not adequately articulate underlying principles and assumptions.
For example, many of the papers recite the phrase "public-private" partnership without any time being spent to examine what that phrase might mean. Does the phrase mean the transfer of plenary governmental power into the hands of private actors and entities? If so what is the scope of authority, where does that authority come from, and what sort of mechanisms of accountability can exist. The idea that governmental powers are best exercised by private actors is an idea that abandons much of what has been learned about the exercise of authority during the last three hundred years. Here in California, where the abandonment of governmental authority over a critical infrastructure (electrical distribution) has lead to service failures and billions of dollars drained from the economy, the idea of "public-private partnership" is often met with sceptical laughter. Yet the WGIG papers blindly adopt that phrase and assume that it is an axiom when, in fact, it is a highly uncertain and perhaps dangerous concept.
Similarly, the papers use the word "stakeholder" without asking the question why some people and industrial entities are to be given preferred roles in decision-making forums of internet governance? The idea that there are "stakeholders" is a system of preference and selectivity; it is an idea that is contrary to the concept of an even-handed democratic system in which an idea competes on the merits of the idea rather than on the status of the speaker.
We see in ICANN the result of credulous obedience to the concept of "stakeholder" – ICANN having come to be a body in which a privileged few industrial actors are admitted as "stakeholders" while the larger community of internet users are relegated to observe and endure.
Governance necessarily implies the authority and power to prevent some courses of action and to promote other courses of action. The core question of governance is whether that authority and power will be wielded with caprice and favouritism or whether that authority and power will be wielded with justice and due process. One of the main themes of human history has been the creation of means to constrain the intrinsic powers of governance into channels that meet our human need for fairness.
The WGIG has leapt over these issues of power, authority, and rules of fairness. And that leaves a vacuum that weakens the subsequent work of the WGIG and subjects it to the risk of being irrelevant.
The internet is still young yet the WGIG is not asking the all-important question of the balance between governance and change.
The power of governance contains the power to forbid – much of what is discussed in the various papers amounts to a foreclosure by fiat of certain courses of innovation. Yet the WGIG papers do not articulate any form to balance the competing needs for stability and innovation. At the risk of being repetitive let me once again suggest the following formulation (see http://www.cavebear.com/cbblog-archives/000059.html):
Every person shall be free to use the Internet in any way that is privately beneficial without being publicly detrimental.
Name of the paper: Administration of Root Server System
1. The paper does not address the lack of service level definitions to measure the performance of root servers, the lack of an objective monitoring system or of a system to detect and respond to failures. Nor does the paper address the fact that the operators are free to sell their "franchises" to others and that operators are neither obligated to give equal treatment to all queries nor are prohibited from mining the queries to generate marketing data of significant value (to marketers if not to the data subjects.)
2. A better title would make the final word of the title a plural. Operational experience has shown that there can be more than one DNS root. There have been statements by the IAB and ICANN to the contrary but those statements seem more an expression of a yearning for a single catholic name space rather than a well-articulated technical proof. (And, if it were true that the existence of other DNS systems could harm the net then would that not indicate a vulnerability and weakness that ought to be repaired?)
The issue of DNS and its providers is not one of "one-root"-ness but rather of consistency. See my presentation on this distinction at http://www.cavebear.com/rw/nrc_presentation_july_11_2001.ppt
The choice (and it is a choice) that there shall be but one root is effectively a decision to forego, and even suppress, innovation. And this is where the absence of a body of guiding principles hobbles the ability of the WGIG to work through issues of governance rather than simply rehashing the technological status quo. Innovation always disturbs that which came before – and the question of governance is one of choosing when that disturbance is acceptable and when it is not. Governance is not simply saying, as the WGIG paper does, "this shall never evolve", without stating the reasons for-, and the boundaries of-, that restriction on the freedom to innovate and to do a thing differently than everyone else does that thing.
Perhaps internet governance ought to enforce the existence of one catholic DNS root, perhaps internet governance ought to allow people to chose to chose the naming system that gives them the greatest ability to shape their own, and their families’, view of the internet landscape. The choice is a choice of governance, but it is a choice that should not be made without a framework of principle in which the balance of equities and interests can be made.
3. In the "Opportunities" section appears the phrase "showcase and example of public/private partnership" – I find that very strange in the absence of any adopted principle of the WGIG that represents the acceptance and agreement by the WGIG of the idea that "public/private partnership" is actually an acceptable way to run a critical worldwide infrastructure or that it is not actually an abrogation of governance and governmental power into the unprincipled and unaccountable hands of private (and typically industrial) actors.
To my mind the issue of governance with regard to operation of root servers is the question of establishing an authority that establishes operational and performance standards, has the legal power to compel adherence to those standards, and that can ensure that root server operators have adequate financial resources to endure and recover from failures and disasters of human or natural causation.
Name of the paper: International Internet Connections
This paper focuses almost entirely on the question of financial settlements between packet carriers.
Is that really an issue for governance? Or is the question of settlements something that the carriers can work out among themselves, as they are now doing with apparent success?
There is a much larger issue looming with respect to the interconnection of carriers: Voice over IP (VOIP).
Conversational VOIP requires that the end-to-end flow of packets be speedy (about 150 milliseconds) and steady (low variation of the end-to-end delay) with relatively low rates of packet loss.
On much of today’s internet we have a glut of bandwidth, much of which is left over from the dot-com collapse. However, even with that bandwidth the quality of VOIP calls is often well below that of telco toll grade.
Unless we are willing to adopt very retrograde standards of quality for VOIP, the technical demands of VOIP packet transport will require that there be means for users, or their representative carriers or VOIP-telcos, be able to obtain assurances (not necessarily "guarantees" but at least believable "assurances") of adequate end-to-end quality of packet transport.
This will affect the way that packet carriers establish their internal flows and routing. It will affect the way that packet carriers establish peering and transit relationships with one another. It may affect the exchange of routing information via BGP and the way that carriers use that information when routing packets.
These may be matters that require some degree of governance.
Name of the paper: Network and Information Security
This is a pretty good paper.
However, I believe that from the point of view of governance we need to consider security in the broader context of the internet as the internet becomes a utility infrastructure, particularly an infrastructure that has interdependencies with other utility infrastructures.
The governance question ought to consider issues such as:
See my presentation in this regard: From Barnstorming to Boeing - Transforming the Internet Into a Lifeline Utility (http://www.cavebear.com/rw/Barnstorming-to-Boeing.ppt ) [speakers notes at http://www.cavebear.com/rw/Barnstorming-to-Boeing.pdf ]
.ewe is my Top Level Domain (TLD). - Or as Shakespeare might put it (from "As You Like It" Act V Scene IV):
... an ill-favoured thing, sir, but mine own; a poor
humour of mine, sir, to take that that no man else
Most of you haven't encountered .ewe - that's because .ewe is found only via root systems that compete with the NTIA/ICANN DNS root.
.ewe doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell to be admitted into the NTIA/ICANN root zone: I've seen what has happened to IOD and .web.
I'm not willing to pay ICANN's exorbitant application fee knowing full well that ICANN would reject my application (and keep my application fee) on some aspect of the business plan, or on the pronounce-ability, or on the fact that it isn't "sponsored", or that it might upset someone in the not-yet-existing .eu TLD.
I know full well that my means of entrée into the only real marketplace of domain names, as a practical matter, is barred by ICANN.
So what is the business plan (or rather the could-try-to-be-a-business-plan-but-for-ICANN's-restraint-of-trade-policies) for .ewe?
First off .ewe will sell domain names for extended periods. Actually longer than that - forever. For something between $25 to $50(USD) you would be able to buy a name in .ewe in perpetuity.
(I've reserved a few .ewe names already - it's my founder's prerogative - and my wife gets "beautiful.ewe" and "i-love.ewe". And I've yet to figure out what to do with "<explicative-deleted>.ewe")
Second, your ownership will be represented by a digital certificate. Consider it a kind of "bearer" instrument - possession of the certificate is the key to being able to manage the name or to transfer it to others.
If you lose the certificate: well that's just your tough luck because .ewe will not maintain any record of ownership. Let me say that more clearly - .ewe will not have a whois database if only for the reason that .ewe will destroy every trace of contact information as soon as the certificate has been issued and conveyed to the purchaser. There simply will be no information out of which a whois could be constructed.
Most of .ewe's revenue stream will come from per-transaction management fees - if you want to update your name servers there will be a service fee. If you want to transfer the name there will be a transfer fee to do the certificate transfer magic and publish the anti-repudiation database that digital certificate systems usually require.
The transaction requests must be digitally signed using the certificate. As I said, it is the owner's responsibility to hold and protect the certificate and to ensure that it isn't lost or destroyed.
Transfers can be made by any means the owner desires - .ewe is not involved. The buyer and seller can simply transfer the certificate between themselves if they aren't worried about repudiation by the seller. Or, if they are concerned about repudiation they can obtain a new certificate from .ewe (for a transaction fee, of course.) An interesting aspect is that the process of issuing a new certificate can, through the same self-lobotomy process used when issuing the original certificate, retain the anonymity of the certificate holder.
The fee structure may include a requirement that at least one management transaction occur every 5 years or so, else the name could migrate to archival storage (e.g. will not be resolvable via DNS queries and management transactions would take longer to consumate). And, or course, there would be a fee to migrate a name back out of the archive.
.ewe will run name servers, naturally. However, it will make its zone file available via many means - P2P technology, zone transfers, etc - for a fee and a license agreement to refrain from doing bad things with the data.
If there is a dispute about ownership - the parties can fight it out between themselves using the legal system and not some kangaroo court "dispute resolution policy". The law-court can award possession of the certificate to the winner. And if desired .ewe can enter the court ordered transfer can be entered into the anti-repudiation database - for a fee.
.ewe's operations can be highly efficient - it is amenable to a high degree of automation. Without yearly billing cycles, without the need to support registrars, without the need to publish whois, without the need to manage a dispute resolution system, the registration costs can be very low.
Will this business plan fly? Maybe yes, maybe no. Will we ever know? Probably not. Why not? There is nothing illegal or technologically dangerous in this plan. However ICANN, by virtue of its incumbent-protective policies, will almost certainly not allow .ewe into the only commercially viable marketplace for domain names. The phrase that should come to mind is "restraint of trade".
And that is wrong. Every idea, unless it is clearly a direct danger to the technical stability of the internet deserves the right to live or die by its own lights. Everyone should have the right to try out a silly or bright idea and loose his shirt or make a mint. -- See my First Law of the Internet.
But ICANN has imposed centralized planning - much like a Soviet Five Year Plan from 1950 - onto the internet. Ideas that do not fit the ICANN conception of beauty are ideas that ICANN will exclude from the marketplace that ICANN controls.
That is a sorry state of affairs - And it is made even more sad when one considers how the internet evolved out of a rejection of the rigid telco orthodoxy of the 1960's. Had the inventors of the internet had to obtain approval of a body such as ICANN has become it is unlikely that we would have had an internet.
(Footnote: In case you were wondering where .ewe came from: Several years ago I was in Fry's Electronics in Palo Alto and there was a pile of Microsoft "Windows Me" boxes. I reeled back from the self-centric world view of such a name. Out of the blue the old pick-up line "Enough about me, let's talk about you" popped into my head and was immediately transmogrified into "Enough about me, let's talk about ewe". Since this was the era of other barnyard animal TLDs - .moo and .kids - the thought of .ewe as a TLD seemed obvious.)