March 28, 2006

ICANN Attempts to Transform The Internet Into The World's Most Heavily Regulated Industry (Almost)

ICANN, a regulatory body that is supposed to ensure that the internet's domain name system answers queries, is instead trying to make the Internet as heavily regulated as the nuclear power industry. But instead of protecting safety or stability, ICANN seems intent of simply sucking as much cash out of the internet as possible, no matter how much that might damage innovation.

We already see how ICANN is extracting a tax and a tithe out of every part of the domain name industry, and we see how ICANN is imposing its social and economic policies onto the internet and its users.

Now there is word that ICANN is apparently looking at charging $250,000 (US) to apply for a top level domain.

That's about 10,000 times greater than my estimate of what they should be charging.

As I see it there is only one legitimate question that ICANN ought to ask: Whether the applicant is willing to commit to follow internet technical standards.

ICANN seems to be like a department of motor vehicles that doesn't ask applicants for drivers licenses whether they know how to drive, but instead asks the applicants to demonstrate that they have two Oxford educated chauffeurs for their Rolls Royce.

ICANN's directors only a few weeks ago had the hubris to saddle users of the internet with billions of dollars of added unnecessary fees to register names in .com.

And ICANN continues to avoid even the appearance of examining what service level requirements they ought to impose on root server operators.  And the 300millisecond response time requirement placed on Verisign isn't even the the ghost of a shadow of the kind of real technical service requirements it ought to be considering.

Certainly at $250,000, plus yearly tithes, it becomes a real business question whether to bother to apply to ICANN or simply bring a legal action, or several legal actions in separate countries, asking whether ICANN has become not merely a combination in restraint of trade, but an illegal combination in restraint of trade.

Apparently ICANN is wandering around its Petit Trianon, utterly disconnected from reality.  Perhaps it is time for users of the internet to find a tennis court.

Posted by karl at March 28, 2006 12:39 AM