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Re: [bc-gnso] Draft GNSO Council letter to the GAC

  • To: Liz Williams <lizawilliams@xxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Re: [bc-gnso] Draft GNSO Council letter to the GAC
  • From: George Kirikos <icann@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 15 May 2009 07:30:46 -0400


On Fri, May 15, 2009 at 3:37 AM, Liz Williams wrote:
> George
> It is usual for you to provide validation and research that supports your
> points.  You have mentioned "negative externalities" -- apart from the need
> to protect legitimate trademarks through existing mechanisms and introducing
> improvements where we can, what other negative externalities are there?

I've made extensive comments in the new gTLD comment archives already,
so don't wish to duplicate all of those again for all who've read
them. You might want to refer to the words of Tim Berners-Lee who I
quoted from at:


"And because the DNS tree is so fundamental to the Internet
applications which build on top of it, any uncertainty about the
future creates immediately instability and harm."

"Our first instincts, then should be not to change the system with
anything but incremental and carefully thought-out changes. The
addition of new top-levels domains is a very disturbing influence. It
carries great cost. It should only be undertaken when there is a very
clear benefit to the new domain."

 "The chief effect of the introduction of the .biz and .info domains
appears to have been a cash influx for the domain name registries."

"Introducing new TLDs has two effects.

The first effect is a little like printing more money. The value of one's
original registration drops. At the same time, the cost of protecting one's
brand goes up (from the cost of three domains to four, five, ...).

The value of each domain name such as example.com also drops because
of brand dilution and public confusion. Even though most people
largely ignore the last segment of the name, when it is actually used
to distinguish between different owners, this increases the mental
effort required to remember which company has which top level domain.
This makes the whole name space less usable."

"The second effect is that instability is brought on. There is a flurry of
activity to reserve domain names, a rush one cannot afford to miss in
order to protect one's brand. There is a rash of attempts to steal
well-known or valuable domains. The whole process involves a lot of
administration, a lot of cost per month, a lot of business for those
involved in the domain name business itself, and a negative value to
the community."

"When the benefits of the new domain itself are small or negative (as
we discuss below), then one looks for incentive. The large amount of
money that has changed hands for domain names might lead a person to
suspect that this was the motivation."

"The root of the domain name system is a single public resource, by
design. Its control must be for and, indirectly, by the people as a
whole. To give away a large chunk of this to a private group would be
simply a betrayal of the public trust put in ICANN."

> You mention "not demonstrated any widespread support outside of a tiny
> minority who wish to direct profit from their launch". How does that account
> for people wanting a TLD that is a not for profit, public benefit, non
> commercial TLD?  More broadly, what is wrong with making a profit?

The folks who claim they are "not for profit" often still receive
healthy salaries, pay consultants large ongoing amounts of money, etc.
Dot-org is a perfect example of this, with PIR maximizing revenues at
the expense of registrants with massive annual price increases so that
they can direct the cash to their own causes.

I'm certainly not against making profits, but am against it when it is
parasitic (causing the negative externalities imposed upon everyone
else) or is anti-competitive/monopolistic (e.g. VeriSign with a no-bid
contract for dot-com, all the gTLDs with presumptive renewal, etc.).

>  Could you be more precise about long-term and lasting damage to the public?

See the comments above by Tim Berners-Lee for starters, or all my past
comments in the new gTLD comments archive. The elimination of price
caps, for example, which could propagate back into *existing* gTLDs
and lead to tiered pricing is another obvious example.


George Kirikos

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