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Comments on Proposed Critera
  • To: stld-rfp-comments@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Comments on Proposed Critera
  • From: Lawrence Solum <Lawrence.Solum@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 04:38:00 -0800

My colleague, Karl Manheim, and I have posted a comprehensive document 
analyzing the Criteria to Be Used in the Selection of New Sponsored 
TLDs.  Our full comments are available for download at:
href="http://gtld-auctions.net/sTLD_Analysis.pdf";>sTLD Beauty 
Contests: An Analysis and Critique of the Proposed Criteria to Be Used 
in the Selection of New Sponsored TLDs</a> or via the website:
Our conclusions are:

--The proposal is best understood as a short-run solution to problems 
that emerged after the November 2000 round of TLD expansion.  This 
short-run and short-sighted approach cannot succeed, because the long 
run problem that ICANN must solve is a resource allocation problem.  
Short-run solutions will have unintended consequences because they 
will commit the root resource and create precedents for future 
resource allocation decisions.

--The proposal will move ICANN in the direction of the worst of all 
resource allocation models, the beauty-contest approach.  ICANN should 
learn from its own painful experience in November 2000 and from the 75 
years of failure at the FCC under the beauty contest model.  Of all 
the decisions that ICANN could make now, moving towards the beauty-
contest model is the worst-possible decision.

--The criteria in the proposal will have the unintended consequence of 
favoring well-finance globalized non-profit membership organizations 
at the expense of regional, relatively poorer institutions that serve 
the needs of communities in third world.

--The criteria in the proposal will focus the decision-making process 
on the characteristics of the applicant (responsiveness to community, 
etc.) rather than the usefulness of the new sTLD.  The experience of 
the FCC teaches that is an inherent problem in the beauty-contest 

--The best options for solution of ICANNís short-run problem are 
entirely mechanical or objective allocation systems.  One such 
proposal is to grandfather in all the qualified applications from the 
November 2000 round.  Other possibilities are to grandfather all 
qualified applications from non-profit institutions..

--ICANN should establish a task force to design a rational policy that 
will put the root to its highest and best use and avoid the 
substantial institutional problems produced by the beauty-contest 

We have also posted a comprehensive policy paper that analyzes the 
resource allocation process issues that are raised by the proposal for 
criteria.  The policy paper is available at: <a 
href="http://ssrn.com/abstract=388780";>The Case for gTLD Auctions: A 
Framework for Evaluating Domain Name Policy</a>

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