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RE: New gTLD Expressions of Interest: Proceed with Caution

  • To: <eoi-new-gtlds@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: RE: New gTLD Expressions of Interest: Proceed with Caution
  • From: "A. Taylor" <richmands1@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2009 11:02:56 -0800

In a letter posted to ICANN, former ICANN board member and now what appears to 
be a paid lobbyist Michael Palage, repeatedly equates the proposed new EOI 
process to "front running", and suggests that this "scheme" is for "self 
interested parties to reserve a place at the front of line", to the detriment 
of "applicants from developing countries and less financial resourceful 

I did a bit of research on this, which I'd encourage others to do as well.  
Unfortunately many will take his writings as gospel. 

Before going into the detail of Mr Palage's comments, it is important to note 
that Mr Palage seems to be far from a "disinterested party". It appears from 
review of the pff.org website that funding is being provided from the so-called 
"Progress and Freedom Foundation", a Washington DC paid lobbyist firm, who's 
clients include a who's who of anti-TLD voices, such as Verisign, AT&T, Verizon 
and Time Warner Inc. Despite the name, in my opinion this organization is 
neither about progress nor freedom, but instead about protecting the entrenched 
interests of incumbents, many of which are currently reaping millions of 
dollars a year from the effective status quo monopoly on top level domains. 

It is clear to me that Mr Palage is not an unbiased observer, but focusing on 
his arguments, there are some troubling distortions that are not entirely 
accurate. First of all, in page 4 of his 14 page diatribe on EOI's, he 
formulates the equation: "EOI=Front Running". This terminology is repeated at 
least 7 other times in the document, as if there was no possible doubt as to 
the validity of the comparison. 

Looking at Wikipedia, "front running" is defined as: "the illegal practice of a 
stock broker executing orders on a security for its own account while taking 
advantage of advance knowledge of pending orders from its customers." 

The insinuation that the simple act of taking expressions of interest in new 
TLDs is "illegal" or in some way is linked to fraudulent stock trading schemes 
is – in my opinion -downright misleading. But, from what appears to be a paid 
lobbyist representing hundreds of millions of dollars in paid monopolistic 
interests, it is not unexpected.  Unfortunately the fact that it may be a paid 
opinion is not reflected anywhere in what I believe to be an extremely biased 

In a nutshell, Mr Palages' 14 pages of arguments can be summarized in the three 
points surrounded by attempts to taint the reader against new Top Level Domains 
or the Expression of Interest process: 

1. A price of 50,000 dollars is far too high for EOIs as the Applicant 
Guidebook is not in final form, and smaller, disadvantaged applicants can not 
afford it. 

2. The EOI process will not be advertised and hence only insiders will get 
access to it 

3. A price of $100 for an EOI is more in line with ICANN "precedents" 

Regarding point1, the application fee has already been fixed at $185,000. From 
what I can tell, there has been no deviation of this in 3 DAG versions. In 
addition, there are other substantial costs for prospective registrants - 
making the total dollar commitment to undertake a TLD closer to 500k (including 
registry fees, financial guarantees etc..). 
In light of this, 50k is simply not material for serious applicants -- 
regardless of their background. 

Regarding point 2, this is simply not true. Clearly, the EOI process, like the 
application process itself SHOULD be widely advertised. I don’t see an intent 
among the EOI supporters to have an "inside process". 

Regarding 3, the price is simply absurd. First of all, even in 2000, contrary 
to Mr Palage's insinuations, there was an application fee of around $50,000. Mr 
Palage should know this, as it appears that he helped prepare several of the 
(unsuccessful) applications. So there is no "precedent" of "no cost EOIs". 
Clearly, the EOI proposal is in fact new and does not have any such "precedent" 
-- so using this legal term is misleading. 
More importantly, a price of $100 completely undermines the entire idea of EOIs 
and absolutely guarantees that the information garnered from the process is 
useless. Palage certainly knows this, which begs the question why he makes this 
absurd recommendation.

In summary, the Palage comment is, in my opinion, at best biased, erroneous and 
non constructive.  This letter is clearly the work of someone who stands to 
directly benefit from disrupting or delaying the new TLD process further, 
disguised as a well meaning savior of fairness. 

Hopefully the folks at ICANN and the Board, Governments, small businesses, 
commercial and non-commercial internet users alike all see through the apparent 
ruse like I did. 
Amanda Taylor
Oxnard, CA                                        
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