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RE: [ga] The End of Domain Tasting and its Consequences

  • To: ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: RE: [ga] The End of Domain Tasting and its Consequences
  • From: George Kirikos <gkirikos@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2006 12:34:54 -0700 (PDT)

Hello,

--- "Michael D. Palage" <Michael@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> The domain name industry is very dynamic, and you are correct that no
> registry contract cannot account for every variable. That is why as I

It can account for removal of simple loopholes that are trivial to
recognize and remove. While some people might want to leave in
loopholes that registries can later exploit, that's not in the interest
of domain registrants.

> registry contract cannot account for every variable. That is why as I
> stated in my original email the referral to national competition
> authorities in the new registry contracts is so important. Even ICANN
> with a 40 million dollar annual budget lacks the skill set (in house
> or
> through outside consultants) to function as a registry price
> regulator
> and enforcer. 

National competition authorities don't need to be involved, if ICANN
simply writes bulletproof contracts to begin with. ICANN has stated IN
COURT that price caps are pro-competitive in a single-supplier market.
See the following for links to the court documents and paragraphs

http://forum.icann.org/lists/biz-tld-agreement/msg00009.html

ICANN has been completely silent on how removal of price caps is
anything but anti-competitive, given their statements in court. Their
actions are directly opposite to what they said in court.
 
> Article I, Section 2, subparagraph 6 clearly states part of ICANN's
> Core
> Values is "[i]ntroducing and promoting competition in the
> registration
> of domain names where practicable and beneficial in the public
> interest." It is not tasked with regulating competition or setting
> price
> controls. I often recall a quote by ICANN's formal general counsel,

Ahem. Read what ICANN told the court in the CFIT case. Price controls
are pro-competitive in a single supplier market. Period. ICANN's
lawyers even cite legal precedents. ICANN was justifying them in court.
If ICANN is tasked with promoting competition, setting price controls
is perfectly consistent with that, as they said in court.

Of course, the thing that is inconsistent is ICANN's actions, which
wildly deviate from their words and their mission.

> abuse its power. As Thomas can tell you, during my time on the Board
> I
> was a vocal advocate regarding the expanse of the name space.
> However, I
> found it sad that so few people commented on the public forum for the
> new gTLD PDP. I think ICANN staff, particularly Liz Williams has done

Have is it ever occurred to you that you are out of touch, Mike, that
the reason so few people commented on the public forum is that because
there is no great clamouring for new gTLDs by the public?? Except for
self-interested registries and prospective registries, the general
public has been fairly satisfied with the status-quo. They want
stability and predictability. They don't desire all these "registry
innovations" jammed down their throats.

> I am not asking you to trust either my or Vint's judgment/opinion.
> Instead I would ask you to place your trust on two mechanisms. First
> is
> in the market to resolve pricing fluctuations /variations over the
> long
> term. Many people have talked about what if VeriSign was to charge

There is no "market" when you have a single supplier, a monopolist, and
a locked in registrant. See Bret's discussion at: 

http://gnso.icann.org/mailing-lists/archives/council/msg02797.html

"This would be classic monopolist behavior"

> term. Many people have talked about what if VeriSign was to charge
> Google 1 million dollars for google.com. Assuming that VeriSign
> somehow
> put forth a registry service pricing model that passed both ICANN and
> government approval, here is likely what would happen in my humble
> opinion. Google would pay the money, and would simultaneously submit
> an
> application for a new .GOOGLE or .G TLD to ICANN. Then guess how much
> money VeriSign makes in year two of the million dollar pricing model?

That has to be one the silliest thing you've ever said, Mike, in my not
so humble opinion. You've said that in order to avoid a price increase,
a website owner has to apply to ICANN to run a TLD!! A website owner
who was used to paying $10/yr for domains now needs to seek out
lawyers, consultants, back end providers of DNS registry operations,
negotiate with ICANN, etc. Oh, you're a consultant and lawyer....glad
you'll be there to "help" them through their misery. Pro bono?

Do you know how absurd that is?? We're going to have 1 new TLD for each
company now?? In other words, your solution is elimination of the
hierarchical nature of DNS. Good job, Mike. Thanks for making it clear
what our options are. Glad you're not voting on this issue -- hopefully
Rita Rodin knows better, and thinks things through more than you have.

BTW, even if there was a new TLD for each company (something absurd to
begin with, unless one owns a Realnames patent or something) that could
afford one, VeriSign will sit back and still be happy. They'd sell
Google.com (in your example) to someone else, for more than $6. Do you
think VeriSign cares whether the cheques come from Google Inc. or from
Typo Squatter PPC Parking Inc? It only wants "more" --- it doesn't
matter who it's from. The residual traffic will continue to exist,
making Google.com worth more than $6, and VeriSign can exploit that.
 
> My second trust is in the referral process to the national
> competition
> authorities. However, as noted in my previously emails, I am

I won't go into why this is bad again, as I've said it in prior posts.
It's simply a win for lawyers and consultants, to have to lobby already
busy governments to protect registrants. Ask the GAC whether their
governments have the time or inclination to cover ICANN's mistakes in
contractual negotiations.

Echoing Bret's statement:

"I'd rather see ICANN lock down the pricing language that wait until
someone
does something that hurts registrants, so we then have to argue about
what
"should" happen. "

Sincerely,

George Kirikos
http://www.kirikos.com/


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