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Re[2]: [bc-gnso] Draft GNSO Council letter to the GAC

  • To: George Kirikos <icann@xxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Re[2]: [bc-gnso] Draft GNSO Council letter to the GAC
  • From: Michael Castello <michaelc@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 15 May 2009 13:11:28 -0700

Could not agree more George. The dot is a very powerful symbol. It
simplifies the distinction to the left; a virtual place, to the right;
the internet or web. Once we start moving that dot around it becomes a
period and from there a misplaced one with less brandability.

In the last 100 years some of the greatest technological creations
succeeded because the public was able to understand and manage them.
The dot com is much like the numerals 0-9 on the phone and television.
Simple and easy to use, the public learned to navigate them and it was
a long term relationship that continues today. The same can be said
for the dot symbol. There is an understanding that has been defined
and learned in the last 20 years. It has worked beyond our wildest
dreams but it is also fragile and can be easily fractured if not protected.

We have had trial periods with other gTLDs and we should remember why
they did not work for the greater good of the web community. Some
would argue that fortunes were made but they fell far short of expectations.

A final point that has been on my mind in regards to IDNs.
As an example; if someone built a business with global reach for 15
years like Hollywood.com and others were allowed to register
Hollywood.com in other dialects, wouldn't that harm both the owner of
Hollywood.com and those that expected to find the original site when
typing it in their browsers? Should there really be hundreds of
Hollywood.com, one for each dialect? Doesn't is harm the owner of
Hollywood.com if it is diluted in such a way? He or she should have
rights to their business that has been defined for 15 years around the
globe. The public would also be confused if they expected to visit the
address but was led to a different site with differing content. There
should be one Hollywood.com in any dialect.

This will be a problem for businesses that have had a web presence
built around a domain name as their brand and as the new IDNs get
built out.  I expect there will be future turf battles over first
claim rights. This is something that should have been foreseen but was not.

Michael Castello
Castello Cities Internet Network, Inc.

Friday, May 15, 2009, 4:30:46 AM, you wrote:

GK> Hello,

GK> 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?

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

GK> http://forum.icann.org/lists/2gtld-guide/msg00020.html

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

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

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

GK> "Introducing new TLDs has two effects.

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

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

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

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

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

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

GK> I'm certainly not against making profits, but am against it when it is
GK> parasitic (causing the negative externalities imposed upon everyone
GK> else) or is anti-competitive/monopolistic (e.g. VeriSign with a no-bid
GK> 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?

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

GK> Sincerely,

GK> George Kirikos
GK> 416-588-0269
GK> http://www.leap.com/

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