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Verisign - ICANN settlement a bad deal

  • To: revised-settlement@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Verisign - ICANN settlement a bad deal
  • From: Katherine <kat@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2006 00:37:38 +0100

Re: Verisign - ICANN settlement

As a volume TLD registrant Special Design Services Inc. would like to voice its opposition to the current draft of the Verisign - ICANN settlement.
Our comments are as follows:

The provisions for perpetual management rights are totally unacceptable.
Setting up a permanent de facto monopoly is not the best way to promote fair pricing and foster innovation.
How many people would want to go back to the pre-1984 days of almighty AT&T ?

Under the proposed settlement Verisign would be allowed to proceed with unjustified fee increases that are not even in synch with index prices or inflation.
We hardly see the need or justification for price increases. As demand for domain names continues to grow, volume and economies of scale would on the opposite allow for price cuts. The costs for registrations and associated services should be decreasing.

The cost of this settlement will ultimately be borne by registrants.
This is a bad deal that is being made at the expense of those who ultimately provide funding for the TLD infrastructure: registrants = customers.
Why should registrants take on the role of "cash cows" and foot the bill for that settlement, that is tax without representation.

Obviously the settlement as it stands is not in the interest of the Internet community at large.
It is even against ICANN's own interest. The settlement is drafted in such a way that ICANN is basically relinquishing its control and bargaining power vis-à-vis Verisign.
VRSN shareholders will certainly welcome the agreement but the millions of .com registrants stand to lose most.
Verisign profit making tactics have been well known and established for a long time, and we all know that unchecked power leads to abuse always.
Furthermore Verisign is not the only company capable of running a root registry.

Should ICANN even consider approving the settlement that would leave them open to another possible litigation in the form of class action suit on antitrust grounds.
Quote from ICANN website (home page):
"As a private-public partnership, ICANN is dedicated to preserving the operational stability of the Internet; to promoting competition; to achieving broad representation of global Internet communities; and to developing policy appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes".

We find it surprising that ICANN would bow out like sheep to Verisign. By doing so ICANN itself becomes irrelevant. If ICANN is unable or unwilling to defend its core mission presumably we can do without it as well.

It is our view that Verisign and ICANN should get back to the negotiation table, and the current settlement ditched away. At the very worst a legal battle looks less damaging than a botched deal.

Kind regards,

Katherine Pilna

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

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