Sunday, February 26, 2006


Please adjust your bookmarks. This blog is being retired. A new blog has been created at that is providing daily ICANN news and commentary.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

ICANN & VeriSign agree to screw registrants

What a world we live in. Two litigants, ICANN and VeriSign, have agreed to settle their costly litigation by taking money out of our pockets. Nice way to settle a dispute.

I don't favor granting monopolies the right to unjustifiably raise their prices, so I have launched a petition at

Let's see what effect a grassroots campaign can have.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Forming an At-Large Supporting Organization

Today I sent off this note to the Chair of the At-Large Advisory Committee:


Please forward this basic proposal to your associates on the ALAC:

1. Supporting Organizations are ICANN Structures that through a Council elect representatives to the ICANN Board.

2. Supporting Organization Councils are populated by distinct groups (in the GNSO those distinct groups are the six Constituencies).

3. The At-Large Study Committee, having found broad support, recommended the creation of a Supporting Organization for the At-Large (the ALSO).

4. The ALSO and its Council can be populated by distinct groups. Those distinct groups would be the certified at-large structures and an all-inclusive Assembly for non-affiliated individuals).

5. The distinct groups of the ALSO through their Council can elect representatives to the Board just as the GNSO constituencies through their Council elect representatives to the ICANN Board.

6. The At-Large Study Committee recommended that one third of the Board be populated by the At-Large (five out of fifteen Board members).

7. The ALSO will have a five regions structure. Each region will elect a representative to the Board.

This basic proposal offers an indirect election methodology as a path forward -- the same path that is used by other Supporting Organizations -- this serves to answer the Board's concern over the feasibility of global elections.

In my view, it is time to start fighting for the representation that is our due. Please let me know the views of your peers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Wendy Seltzer on ALAC

In a post to the ALAC list, Wendy writes:
"Since I'll miss the first of the "ALAC Strategic Review" sessions, let me share a few thoughts by email -- and with the public list. I hope we will have a serious discussion of whether ALAC, as envisioned by the ICANN bylaws, can ever be an effective voice for the public in ICANN. We have tried, over several years, to work within the directives of the ALAC charter, and yet we in North America still find lack of interest from broad segments of the public in joining ALSs -- and interest from individual members of the public for whom ALSs as described do not serve an effective role. The experience from other regions may differ, but for Internet users in the U.S., I think the model is fatally flawed. Discussion of our plans for the future should include asking ourselves what impact we have had within ICANN; whether a reconfigured ALAC could better serve the interests of at-large; or whether there are other ways to give individual Internet users a voice in ICANN policymaking."

IRC ICANN Vancouver

Robert Guerra on the cpsr governance list writes: wanted to let all of you know that there's an IRC chat channel set up for the ICANN meeting now in Vancouver.
details are as follows:
- channel : #icann

CFIT Complaint Posted

The Antitrust complaint against ICANN lodged by CFIT has been posted. In addition to the lawsuit, CFIT has filed papers seeking a restraining order preventing the contract from being signed in the interim. The following documents were filed in support of CFIT's application for a restraining order:
Application for the Temporary Restraining Order
Memorandum in Support of the Temporary Restraining Order
Draft Order
Declaration of Michael Geist
Declaration of Keith Butler
Declaration of Richard Chambers
Declaration of Tony Farrow
Declaration of Taryn Naidu
The judge has not yet accepted CFIT's request for a restraining order, and has provided VeriSign and ICANN until 4 p.m. (PST) on November 29, 2005 to file submissions in response.

New Risk for Registrants

Name Intelligence's Jay Westerdal writes in opposition to the newly posted WHOIS Operational Point of Contact proposal -- excerpt:
" Registrants could not stress enough that they use the expiration date field daily. Domain Registrants rely on this date field to be uniform and the registry output is the only place it can be found that is uniformly the same. If this proposal got ratified as it stands registrars such as Schlund and Melbourne IT are on the record for saying they would stop showing the expiration date field altogether in their own registrar output! This would leave registrants with no PUBLIC way to determine when to renew their domain or when it expired. The impact on Registrants would be huge."

ALAC Agenda

ALAC At-Large Planning Forum -- 09:00 - 11:00
Fraser Room Westin Bayshore Vancouver, BC
* Welcome
* Status report on At-Large organizing and advocacy
* At-Large Advisory Committee Internal Review report
* GNSO Review and ICANN Strategic Planning - Implications for At-Large
* Discussion of what *At-Large’s* strategic plan should contain – what is the best way forward for the global At-Large community in ICANN?

One has to wonder why the issue of "representation" for the At-Large is never on the ALAC agenda...

WDND Complaint Online

The World of Domain Name Developers Inc. that filed just suit against ICANN and VeriSign has posted on-line their
(1) Conspiracy in Violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act;
(2) Illegal Maintenance of Monopoly in Violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act;
(3) Attempted Illegal Maintenance of Monopoly in Violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act;
(4) Conspiracy to Monopolize in Violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act;
(5) Unlawful Restraint of Trade in Violation of the Cartwright Act;
(6) Unlawful and Unfair Business Practices in Violation of California Business & Professions Code Section 17200;
(7) Unfair Business Practices Inconsistent with Status of Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation in Violation of California Business and Professions Code Section 17200

Anti-Phishing Panel Discussion

Notification of Presentation to Registrars Constituency on Thursday at 5:00 pm -

The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) cordially invites attendees of the Vancouver ICANN meeting, particularly the Registrar Constituency to a panel discussion on the current headline issues of Phishing, Phraud and Botnets. We will be presenting valuable information on
the scale of these problems and their effects on the domain registration system and registrars. Additionally, we'll cover the latest techniques used by these criminals to defraud consumers and domain registrars, as well as best practices and new ideas for combatting them. The panel will include members of the APWG who are on the front-lines of the anti-phishing fight, along with peers from the registrar community who have successfully implemented programs to
prevent and quickly eliminate fraudulent registrations abusing their services. We hope to use this opportunity to give you valuable tips that you can implement right away to be able to eliminate abuse on your services. We also wish to start discussions on procedures and
policies that the entire registration community can work on to make it harder for criminals to so thoroughly abuse the Internet via the domain name system. This is designed to be an open discussion with plenty of input from the assembled audience to get good ideas on the
table. The APWG wishes to include the domain registration community on the team dedicated to making the Internet a safer place for all to use, keeping the momentum moving forward for its continued health and growth.

Settlement Workshop Agenda

Workshop on the Proposed VeriSign Settlement - today
11:30 a.m. - 14:30 p.m. Grand Ballroom A-C Westin Bayshore Vancouver, BC

Proposed Agenda
1130 Welcome
1135 - 1215 Perspectives from ICANN Stakeholders (short summary statements from ICANN constituenciesand advisory committees)
1215 - 1300 Open microphone for individual participant comments
1300 - 1400 Thematic discussion and identification of common themes and issues, including:
- Pricing and Renewal
- New Registry Services and Policy Development
- Funding and Budget Mechanism for ICANN
1400 - 1430 Developing consensus (this session will be supported by rapporteurs and real time blogging of key themes to be presented in the last segment for discussion and general agreement, if possible, of the attendees/participants.

Solving the WHOIS Problem

Ross Rader writes: "There’s simply too much in the way of personal data and exploitable data inside the whois system to allow this to continue any further. With this in mind, a group of like-minded registrars got together in Mar del Plata to discuss possible approaches to solving the various problems. The result of this discussion is a proposal called “Implementing Operational Point of Contact”." Thanks to the registrar community for taking the lead on this issue.

Go Daddy Group Statement

The Go Daddy Group has released a lenghty statement on the proposed ICANN-VeriSign settlement agreement putting forth a large number of salient and actionable points. Their statement concludes with the following paragraph:
"We are encouraged by the fact that the Board and Staff have given the community this opportunity to review the settlement, and in particularthe proposed new .COM Registry Agreement. This is certainly a step in the right direction in restoring the trust lost as a result of the un-vetted .NET agreement terms. We encourage the Board and Staff to continue working with the community to address its concerns with the proposed .COM agreement, ensuring that the principles under which the ICANN was formed are properly reflected in it and any future Registry Operator agreements."

Another ICANN Lawsuit

Reuters reports: "A trade group of Internet businesses challenged a proposed settlement over control of the ".com" domain as a violation of U.S. antitrust laws in a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in California. The World of Domain Name Developers Inc., asked the court to stop the nonprofit body overseeing the Internet's addressing system—the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN—from allowing VeriSign Inc. to maintain control of the lucrative ".com" domain until 2012. "

ICANN & VeriSign sued

An article in Computer Business Review states:

"A new lobby group calling itself CFIT, for the Coalition for ICANN Transparency, has sued VeriSign Inc and the Internet Corp for Assigned Names and Numbers for alleged anticompetitive conduct in VeriSign's proposed .com registry contract. The Washington DC-based organization, currently believed to be membered purely by, a Canadian domain name services firm, claims the deal would allow VeriSign to extend its monopoly as .com registry into adjacent markets. The proposed .com deal will come under intense scrutiny and debate at this week's ICANN annual meeting in Vancouver. The deal, which would allow VeriSign to raise the price of a .com by 7% a year, has already been hit by unprecedented public criticism.

Momentous, via CFIT, is concerned with the provisions of the deal that would dilute ICANN's powers to block VeriSign's new registry services, potentially enabling VeriSign to muscle in on Momentous's market. The proposed deal came as part of a settlement between ICANN and VeriSign of a lawsuit in which VeriSign accused ICANN of breaching antitrust law by blocking such services. ICANN, it seems, has a rock/hard-place dilemma. It is VeriSign's proposed secondary market domain auctioning service, the Central Listing Service, formerly known as Waiting List Service, that Momentous fears it will have to compete with.

Indeed, Momentous subsidiary sued ICANN and VeriSign over the same matter two years ago, when the WLS idea was first publicly disclosed. CLS would allow VeriSign to skim off 10% of the sale price of re-registered domain names, names that were previously registered but are about to see their registration expire, or "drop", for whatever reason. Such properties often already have traffic associated with them, and are valued by domain name speculators.
Currently, dropping name registration services are the domain of a handful of retail-level service providers such as VeriSign's CLS could essentially make these services redundant by pre-empting them at the wholesale level. Hence the lawsuit. In the complaint, filed in the District Court in San Jose, California yesterday, CFIT alleges breaches of the Sherman Act, which governs monopolistic practices, as well as unfair competition and cybersquatting. "

GAC Opens Public Forum

The ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee has opened a Public Forum. The Committee is to be commended for its effort to listen to other participants in the ICANN process.

Joint Motion on IDNs

Bruce Tonkin writes to the Chair of the CCNSO:
The following is a proposed motion for the ccNSO and GNSO to jointly request that the ICANN staff produce an issues report on the topic of IDN strings related to existing top level domains. I hope that the ccNSO will consider this motion at its meeting this week. The issue will be before the GNSO Council in its meeting on Friday.

WHEREAS, the GNSO Council recognises that one of the goals of ICANN to increase the internationalisation of the domain name space.
WHEREAS, the GNSO Council wishes to liaise closely with the ccNSO with respect to the issue of localised IDN equivalents of existing gTLDs and ccTLDs, and for the purpose of jointly requesting an issues report.
The GNSO Council requests that the staff produce an issues report on the policy issues associated with creating internationalised equivalents of existing gTLDs, and second level domains within existing gTLDs.
The GNSO also requests that the staff liaise with the ccNSO to ensure that the policy issues associated with internationalised versions of the existing ccTLDs can also be considered.