May 12, 2006

It's baseball season - and ICANN is striking out

Three strikes and you're out:

  1. A few years ago ICANN eliminated publicly selected seats on its board of directors and substituted a system in which selected "stakeholders" (mainly industrial segments who make money out of the internet) have the dominant positions in ICANN.  This made it clear that ICANN had no interest in serving the public or responding to the public view.

  2. Recently ICANN approved a new agreement with Verisign that not only confirms ICANN's gift to Verisign of perpetual control of .com but also gives Verisign a built-in profit margin of 25,000% - yes, twenty-five thousand percent!!!.  (This is based on the simple fact that for every paid registration fee of $7 there are roughly 200 unpaid registrations, yet despite this, Verisign is still making a profit.  This means that the actual cost of .com registrations is less than $0.04 while ICANN allows Verisign to charge $7.00.)

  3. Yesterday ICANN rejected the application for .xxx.  This makes it indisputably clear that ICANN is a heavy regulatory body that seeks to impose onto the internet ICANN's views on economic, business, and moral policies.

It is now abundantly clear that ICANN is not serving the public interest.  Nor is ICANN doing anything that could, even with a long stretch of the imagination, be considered as promoting the technical stability of the internet or performing any kind of technical coordination.

Unless this situation is quickly repaired, ICANN will soon find itself on the rubbish heap of history.

And if ICANN fails then those who have benefited from ICANN - mainly the DNS registries - may begin wondering whether they have bought the Brooklyn Bridge from someone who has no actual legal right to sell it.  The question will begin to be asked: How did ICANN come to have the power to sell .com, .org, .net, and all those other top level domains?  And it should come as no surprise to learn that ICANN did not acquire any legal power to do this as the US Department of Commerce had neither title nor the authority to convey it to ICANN.  ICANN's pillar of sand will begin to crumble; and although that will not have one whit of impact on the operational stability of the internet, it will cause uncertainty in the domain name businessplace.

Posted by karl at May 12, 2006 12:15 AM