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Disingenuous complaints about prices

  • To: <revised-settlement@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Disingenuous complaints about prices
  • From: "Steve DelBianco, Executive Director" <sdelbianco@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2006 10:19:42 -0500

To the ICANN Board:

In the next few weeks you will decide whether to approve the lawsuit settlement 
and a new contract with Verisign. There are two significant issues being raised 
in comments being posted. 

One is whether prices increases, even limited, are fair to consumers.  And two 
is how to motivate long-term investment to build-out and secure the .com 

I have watched with interest the reaction to the initial settlement proposal, 
particularly among Registrars who oppose price increases for .com names. Many 
argue that prices should be going down, not up, and cite the reduced prices 
from the .net re-bid last year as proof. 

It?s important for the ICANN Board to look at the aftermath of the .net re-bid 
to understand the motivations of these Registrars.

.Net wholesale prices declined from $6 to $4.25 last July. Did Registrars 
practice what they preach, and pass those savings on to their domain name 
customers?  Few, if any, of these ?middlemen? passed the savings on to their 

That should give ICANN?s Board a healthy skepticism in considering the 
motivation behind Registrars? opposition to .com price increases.  Like most 
middlemen who stand between wholesalers and customers, the Registrars are 
concerned only about their own profit margins.

The second issue regards whether a presumptive renewal option will motivate 
enough investment to strengthen and secure the .com infrastructure. The U.S. 
government recently held a ?Cyberstorm? exercise to determine whether public 
and private networks can sustain varying levels of computer attacks. The 
officials hold the annual exercise because they know that increasingly 
sophisticated techniques are used to probe for vulnerabilities and attack our 
Internet infrastructure.

I cannot answer what resources are needed to ensure the security and stability 
of the .com infrastructure, but I would strongly suggest that the Board sign a 
contract that will drive its vendor to make sustained, long-term investments.  
Given the critical importance of .com to commerce and communications, this is 
the only responsible decision.

Steve DelBianco


Sent via the WebMail system at netchoice.org


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