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Price controls are not an option

  • To: gtld-guide@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Price controls are not an option
  • From: Katherine Pilna <icann-comments@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2008 00:11:21 +0200

The New gTLD draft proposal is conveniently
lacking price control provisions. 

Once again ICANN is drafting contracts in favor of
Big Business while ignoring the interests of the
Internet constituency it is supposed to represent
and defend.

If future registry operators are allowed to engage
in tiered pricing (just because nothing forbids
it), then it can be argued that
monopolistic-leaning registries like Verisign will
want to review their own contracts and have them
amended to their advantage, by virtue of the equal
treatment clause that stipulates:

"ICANN shall not apply standards, policies,
procedures or practices arbitrarily,
unjustifiably, or inequitably and shall not single
Registry Operator for disparate treatment unless
justified by substantial and reasonable cause".

The lack of adequate price control provisions
represents a potential Trojan horse that could
undermine the whole domain name system and affect
millions of registrants. 
Under an unregulated pricing scheme the registry
operator would be free to engage in .tv-style
differential pricing, and even appropriate the
pool of premium keywords by pricing registrants
out of their own domains and changing the rules of
the game.

ICANN must introduce hard caps not only to protect
future registrants in upcoming namespaces, but
also to ensure that a spillover effect on existing
TLDs will not be allowed to take place, and that
registrants will benefit from the protection ICANN
is supposed to provide in the first place.


Katherine Pilna

Special Design Services, Inc.
1912 Capitol Avenue
Cheyenne, WY 82001

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