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Re: [ga] Vint Cerf/ICANN confirm my interpretation of .biz/info/org proposed contracts -- tiered/differential domain pricing would not be forbidden

  • To: George Kirikos <gkirikos@xxxxxxxxx>, biz-tld-agreement@xxxxxxxxx, info-tld-agreement@xxxxxxxxx, org-tld-agreement@xxxxxxxxx, icann board address <icann-board@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Re: [ga] Vint Cerf/ICANN confirm my interpretation of .biz/info/org proposed contracts -- tiered/differential domain pricing would not be forbidden
  • From: Jeff Williams <jwkckid1@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2006 01:53:46 -0700

George and all former DNSO GA members or other interested
stakeholders/users,

  Well, well, well, finally a BoD member answers a direct question, all
be it fairly late in this Public comment Period.

  I agree in many ways with George's remarks in principal as does
most of our members, stakeholders/registrants all.  But again without
free, open, and unfettered compition in gTLD's and introduction of
same, price controls inclusive in these propose new contracts is
necessary.

  It is as it has been for some time clear that Vint's business savy
very lacking as George rightly noted.

George Kirikos wrote:

> Hi folks,
>
> I finally got the "official" word from Vint Cerf of ICANN, "on the
> record", who confirmed that my interpretation is correct, that
> differential/tiered pricing on a domain-by-domain basis would not be
> forbidden under the .biz/info/org proposed contracts. This means that
> the registries could charge $100,000/yr for sex.biz, $25,000/yr for
> movies.org, etc. if they wanted to -- it would not be forbidden the way
> the proposed contracts are currently written. This would represent a
> powerful pricing weapon for registries, and a fundamental shift in
> possible domain name pricing, that could lead them to emulate .tv-style
> price schedules.
>
> One can read the proposed contracts at:
>
> http://www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-2-28jul06.htm
>
> Vint said it would be "suicide" for a registry to do it, because
> there'd be the 6-month notice period to raise prices and the ability
> for registrants to renew for up to 10 years at "old prices", that
> supposedly "protects" registrants. Personally, as a business, my time
> horizon is a lot longer than 10 years. I wonder if Vint felt
> introducing "SiteFinder" was suicide, too....history has shown
> registries will do whatever they can get away with, in order to
> maximize profits long-term and short-term.
>
> I don't think Vint understands the business at all, to think that a lag
> of 10 years will deter a profit-maximizing registry, esp. VeriSign
> should it try to match this contractual precedent in .com (and history
> shows VeriSign will always try to get "more", especially if "another
> registry" is able to do something -- they used that tactic in .com
> renegotiations, saying various terms were already in the .net contract,
> for instance).
>
> Just to show one possible future, if PIR feels pressure or has a desire
> to clean up porn from .org, it could announce that pussy.org (check its
> Alexa ranking) will have its renewal price be $1 billion/yr. If it
> takes 10 years to do it, many would wait, and it would not be
> considered "suicide" for PIR. Who will stand against that as "we're
> protecting the internet and children from porn", PIR might argue?
> Leaving this temptation in the contract will likely become a slippery
> slope, in my opinion, leading to profit-maximizing behaviour by
> registries to emulate .tv. Acting in the interests of their
> shareholders, registries are *compelled* to maximize profits.
>
> It can be used as a political weapon, too. If a registry disagreed with
> the views or content of a website for which they were the registry,
> they could raise the renewal price to $100 billion/yr. 10 years later,
> that website would not exist at that address, and nothing in the
> contracts would forbid this pricing behaviour. More likely, it would be
> used for profit maximization (if Google.com is a $100 billion company,
> "certainly they are benefiting from their domain name, and can afford
> our $1 billion/yr renewal fee" one might say -- see the net neutrality
> debate and tiered pricing for websites that phone and cable companies
> are pushing....). How far away is tiered domain name pricing??
>
> ICANN would be opening up a Pandora's Box through this contractual
> loophole, to not forbid .tv style pricing. The mistake would not be
> able to be corrected, as the contracts explicitly say that Consensus
> Policies do not apply to pricing issues. Since presumptive renewal
> exists in these new deals, the contracts are essentially going to live
> with ICANN forever, if approved.
>
> If this pricing power eventually got extended to .com, nothing would
> prevent the renewal fee for Yahoo.com, GoDaddy.com, Google.com,
> Tucows.com, Business.com, Sex.com or any other domain in a registry
> with similar terms to reach $1 billion per year, or any other price
> that VeriSign or other registry operators wanted to maximize its
> profits (net-neutrality debate is similar, for bandwidth pricing to
> websites). You can imagine my VeriSignSucks.com won't last longer than
> 10 years, if VeriSign had the power to raise the renewal fee to $1
> billion/year. :)
>
> I believe that it is very important that this loophole be closed, in
> order to not create the precedent that VeriSign could later exploit for
> .com, and to protect registrants of .biz/org/info. If it is "suicide",
> as Vint suggested, then surely a registry that would supposedly never
> use the power would agree to remove the temptation by adding an
> appropriate term to the contract. A registry not willing to add that
> term....well, you know what they might be tempted to do later. If your
> business horizon is the next quarter, this won't impact you. If it's
> beyond 10 years, it could impact you. Can you live with that
> uncertainty??
>
> Feel free to spread the word on the mailing lists or media, and contact
> Vint (vint AT google.com) or John Jeffrey (jeffrey AT icann.org) or
> other ICANN staffers if you want to confirm things and voice your
> concerns. Time is of the essence, as the public comment period ends
> next Monday. Registrants DO NOT know what is coming (the public comment
> board is almost empty), as it's the summer holidays! (typical ICANN
> tactic, introduce 500+ page contracts for public comment when everyone
> is on holiday)
>
> Public comments can be sent using the addresses at:
>
> http://www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-2-28jul06.htm
>
> (be sure to send to all 3 email addresses for all 3 contracts, and also
> click the link in the email ICANN will send you to authenticate your
> email address, otherwise your comment doesn't get received)
>
> There are a lot of other reasons to be opposed to the proposed
> contracts, such as the presumptive renewal, the ability to sell traffic
> data, the  removal of price caps, etc. I will be writing a longer
> document soon, but wanted to give everyone a heads-up, so that you can
> take appropriate action on your own now, and corroborate things
> independently with Vint Cerf, John Jeffrey or other ICANN people.
>
> These are fundamentally flawed contracts, and should not be approved by
> ICANN. The precedents these contracts would create are ominous, even
> worse then the .com proposed settlement agreement (that the DoC has yet
> to approve). Why is ICANN even renegotiating these registry agreements,
> when the existing terms don't expire for several years in some cases,
> and the GNSO PDP process for registry services is ongoing??
>
> Sincerely,
>
> George Kirikos
> http://www.kirikos.com/

Regards,

--
Jeffrey A. Williams
Spokesman for INEGroup LLA. - (Over 134k members/stakeholders strong!)
"Obedience of the law is the greatest freedom" -
   Abraham Lincoln

"Credit should go with the performance of duty and not with what is
very often the accident of glory" - Theodore Roosevelt

"If the probability be called P; the injury, L; and the burden, B;
liability depends upon whether B is less than L multiplied by
P: i.e., whether B is less than PL."
United States v. Carroll Towing  (159 F.2d 169 [2d Cir. 1947]
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