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Hugo Chavez / Fidel Castro "economics" and ICANN

  • To: competition-pricing-prelim@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Hugo Chavez / Fidel Castro "economics" and ICANN
  • From: George Kirikos <gkirikos@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Apr 2009 20:18:34 -0700 (PDT)

Hi again,

Just to followup on my prior comments, there is a very close parallel to 
"presumptive renewal" and "elimination of price caps" for registry operators, 
and Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro.

Hugo Chavez has attempted to end presidential term limits, and essentially 
become "president for life." Fidel Castro for all intents and purposes had de 
facto control of Cuba during his life. These leaders essentially sought 
"presumptive renewal." Much of their power was consolidated through military 
might or coercion, however registry operators instead attempt to accomplish it 
through deals with ICANN at the expense of the public interest and over the 
public's direct objections.

"Elimination of price caps" is akin to the expropriation of property that Hugo 
Chavez and Fidel Castro are infamous for during their tenure, and the resultant 
destruction of private investment in their countries. Registry operators would 
become the "forced partners" of existing registrants, being able to extract 
payment or takeover the entire domain name through exorbitant renewal pricing.

As George Santayana wrote:

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

We should keep in mind the lessons from Venezuela and Cuba before we go on a 
path to increase the power of registry operators, to turn them into Kings or 
dictators that would result in the destruction of private investment on the 
internet through the resultant uncertainty and expropriation of wealth.

If ICANN wants to do a study, they should study exactly how much "presumptive 
renewal" in their negotiated contracts has already cost consumers through the 
resultant loss of competition (in being able to replace the incumbent operator 
with a more efficient and lower cost alternative). I believe if that study were 
to be done, the measured loss would be in the billions of dollars (on the order 
of $4 or $5/yr per domain times the number of domain names since the year 2000, 
counting both renewals and new registrations). Of course, ICANN will be 
unlikely to ever do such a study, as it would reveal quantitatively and in a 
devastating manner their mismanagement of their JPA responsibilities. This is 
the kind of study that the DOC/NTIA/DOJ need to do at some point, with their 
own researchers, instead of those chosen by ICANN.


George Kirikos

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