US Department of Justice monitoring the VeriSign-ICANN settlement?
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)" 126.96.36.199 - - [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/ 188.8.131.52 is the IP address for the wdcsun21.usdoj.gov host, as seen at http://www.whois.sc/184.108.40.206 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/