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A Question of Focus

  • To: <revised-settlement@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: A Question of Focus
  • From: "jzuck" <jzuck@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2006 15:52:34 -0500

Dear ICANN Board:

When asked what went wrong, Napoleon answered ?Unlimited Objectives.?

As I sit here in the Palais de Nations at the UN in Geneva at the Consultation 
for the Formation of the Internet Governance Forum it becomes increasingly 
clear what the distinction between the role of such a forum and the role of 
ICANN should be.

The goal of ICANN should be to focus on a well-defined and limited objective, 
broadly played. What has happened instead is a mixture of inaction and pressure 
from some quarters to expand ICANN?s role.  In large measure, ICANN has failed 
to become the truly international organization it has sought to become. The 
reasons for this are many but I would suggest that two of the main reasons are 
focus and efficiency. Any organization or effort is more likely to succeed with 
a limited set of objectives. The sooner that ICANN is able to narrowly define 
and execute its role, the sooner it will gain the trust of entities around the 
world to play that role.

The .com lawsuit and contract has become a distraction from which you must free 
yourself. Of course, there are special interests within the ICANN ?community? 
that benefit from an environment of distraction and uncertainty. This 
uncertainty allows for creative business models by those who add little value 
but merely exploit the quagmire that a company like Verisign finds itself in. 
Everyone wants to exploit the web, though few are willing to actually invest in 
it. It?s important not to cave-in to the clear motives of the resellers or the 
somewhat less clear motives of those whose power springs from uncertainty. 

The most important point is to put .com behind you so that you can get back to 
the truly critical role you intend to play in the international community. The 
?community? that shows up to ICANN is but a slanted example of the larger 
community you endeavor to serve. The Verisign contract might not be perfect, 
but it is rational, efficient and for all practical purposes an affirmation of 
precedent, expectations and likely outcomes. Sign it and move on.

The IGF presents a forum for discussion of a wide range of topics with a wide 
range of stakeholders. This forum frees ICANN to extend its technical 
management of the web to the rest of the world. Let?s not invite management by 
bureaucrats by creating a vacuum but instead ensure that the web remains an 
efficient and available resource to everyone. Let?s focus.

Jonathan Zuck
President
Association for Competitive Technology
 




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