ICANN ICANN Email List Archives


<<< Chronological Index >>>    <<< Thread Index >>>

We endorse the comments submitted by AT&T / analysys mason

  • To: competition-pricing-prelim@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: We endorse the comments submitted by AT&T / analysys mason
  • From: George Kirikos <gkirikos@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Apr 2009 18:42:56 -0700 (PDT)

We endorse, for the most part, the comments submitted by AT&T / analsys man 
that were submitted today. 

One important area in which we differ in their analysis is their implicit 
assumption that it is the registry operators who "own" the TLD and can set 
prices. We take the opposite view that instead the TLD is truly owned by the 
public, and should be run for their benefit via regular public tenders of the 
TLD whereby prospective registry operators would compete for operation of the 
TLD for fixed period contracts, just like any other procurement contracts. It 
is these tenders that would set the competitive price that would maximize 
consumer benefits. We believe under competition the .com registry fees would be 
below $2/yr per domain. We also believe that this would be the case for .net 
and .org. [Even though .org is run by a supposed "non-profit" PIR, most of the 
actual registry operations are outsourced to Afilias. If one analyzes the 
financial statements of ISOC (PIR is owned by ISOC, the Internet Society), one 
can verify that .org prices bear no relation
 whatsoever to cost, and instead that this "non-profit" has captured 
significant revenues/surpluses at the expense of .org registrants.]

As an aside, we also dispute Demand Media's self-serving comments. It's clear 
they plan to apply for TLDs, and want maximum flexibility to run them at a 
significant profit through the elimination of price controls. It is a fact that 
Demand Media is associated with VeriSign in promoting the dot-TV extension 
(with its tiered pricing that I've in other comments):


I believe I can safely speak for nearly all .com/net/org registrants that a 
.tv-style pricing regime for existing registrants would be a disaster. It's 
that instability that actually detracts from innovation, because it increases 
the risks associated with investing and building up active websites. Using the 
land metaphor, would one build a plant in Russia or a hotel in Venezuela if the 
authorities there could simply expropriate your investment at a later date? Of 
course not. Domain registrants don't want the mafia-style "forced partnerships" 
that some registry operators seem to feel that they're entitled to, whereby 
they can gouge registrants with unlimited price increases in order to takeover 
their domain or to "have their taste or tribute." Registry operators (or 
prospective ones) have been insisting that they get cost predictability from 
ICANN (e.g. $25,000/yr, etc.) and presumptive/perpetual renewal. That's the 
exact OPPOSITE of how things should
 work --- it is the REGISTRANTS who need cost predictability as it is they who 
are creating all the innovation through their websites, and who require the 
ability to have permanent and predictable ownership of their domains. While one 
can see how Demand Media might benefit by becoming the Hugo Chavez of a TLD, 
able to dictate prices in any manner it so chooses, we cannot see how that 
would benefit registrants or the rest of the internet, including existing 
registrants of domains in com/net/org.

It was ironic to see Demand Media (whose main registrar is eNom) so easily 
dismiss trademark and other intellectual property issues when they themselves 
have so vigorously defended their brand, going so far as to yank any domain 
containing the strong "eNom" from clients without any UDRP or legal process:


And "eNom" is a relatively low value mark, compared to the very valuable marks 
in this world that consumers would recognize online or offline.

I would suggest if/when ICANN plans to do further studies of this nature, that 
there be a GNSO workgroup/taskforce just like there was one for the WHOIS 
studies, that could formulate a detailed plan (in consultation with all 
stakeholders and the public) as to what should be the focus of the study. This 
would also ensure that ICANN does not waste more money producing another PR 
piece, but would instead be given much more focused parameters.


George Kirikos

<<< Chronological Index >>>    <<< Thread Index >>>

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Cookies Policy