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US Department of Justice monitoring the VeriSign-ICANN settlement?

  • To: settlement-comments@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: US Department of Justice monitoring the VeriSign-ICANN settlement?
  • From: George Kirikos <gkirikos@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2005 09:00:57 -0800 (PST)

Hello,

I was browsing my webserver logs, and came across some interesting
lines:

wdcsun21.usdoj.gov - - [02/Nov/2005:15:39:22 -0500] "GET / HTTP/1.0"
200 7198
"http://forum.icann.org/lists/settlement-comments/msg00000.html";
"Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; DOJ3jx7bf)"
149.101.1.121 - - [02/Nov/2005:15:39:22 -0500] "GET /rollover.js
HTTP/1.0" 200 939 "http://www.kirikos.com/"; "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible;
MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; DOJ3jx7bf)"

The first line indicates, through the "referrer" that my website was
clicked on from the first comment I made on the ICANN-VeriSign comments
page:

http://forum.icann.org/lists/settlement-comments/

149.101.1.121 is the IP address for the  wdcsun21.usdoj.gov host, as
seen at

http://www.whois.sc/149.101.1.121

What might interest the US DOJ? I assume they're not interested in me.
:)

Perhaps the Anti-Trust page of their website:

http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/public/div_stats/211491.htm

has a clue, in the line "An unlawful monopoly exists when only one firm
controls the market for a product or service, and it has obtained that
market power, not because its product or service is superior to others,
but by suppressing competition with anticompetitive conduct."

Has VeriSign, which has a monopoly for .com registry services, obtained
its market power, including the ability to raise .com prices 7% per
year in the technology arena, when prices generally fall over time,
because its product or service is superior to others? Or, perhaps by
suppressing competition with anticompetitive conduct?

It's unclear what the US DOJ is researching, but it's clear that when
companies "make other anticompetitive arrangements that provide no
benefits to consumers, the government will act promptly to protect the
interests of American consumers."

Perhaps ICANN (which can verify through their webserver logs that the
above IP did hit their website) should get an outside legal opinion as
to whether their proposed settlement, which didn't seem to reflect any
consideration for consumers, might violate antitrust or other laws.

The potential impact of the Clayton Act, which "permits private parties
injured by an antitrust violation to sue in federal court for three
times their actual damages plus court costs and attorneys' fees" should
not be ignored, especially if brought on a class-action basis. As Bret
Fausett pointed out:

http://blog.lextext.com/blog/_archives/2005/10/26/1324077.html

the VeriSign monopoly profits could be on the order of $600 million to
$900 million ANNUALLY by 2012. That's a level that would get the
attention of a government agency that is looking out for consumers'
interests.

Sincerely,

George Kirikos
http://www.kirikos.com/


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