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Username: donstauffer
Date/Time: Sat, August 4, 2001 at 7:16 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.5 using Windows NT 5.0
Subject: ICANN needs to acknowledge problems


                                                                                                                                        I've been watching for a couple years now, trying to understand the reasons for delays of the new top level domains, the reasons for the decisions and actions of ICANN and the complaints of ICANN's critics.  At first I got confused, and I wasn't sure whether ICANN was doing the right thing, or the critics were right, or what.  I think I've come to some conclusions.

ICANN's choices seem to have one main goal: avoid disputes after registration.  Unfortunately, the method seems to be to predict who will be in the best position to take legal action, and give them what they want in advance, regardless of fairness.  I think this is also behind the decision to try to destroy the alternate roots as quickly as possible by attacking .biz, the biggest alternate root domain, immediately and as strongly as possible.  This is probably unrealistic - I expect alternate roots won't go away and will only grow until either the technical capability doesn't exist on the internet, or until at least some standard root domains are easy and cheap to get.

I predict ICANN's dispute avoidance will also backfire because instead of a simple, understandable policy based on a reasonable concept of fairness, they chose complicated trademark claim evaluation and sunrise periods.  Already the holes in these concepts and their implementations are becoming obvious, and not everyone ICANN expected not to fight is going to comply.  It might have worked, except for how extreme the abuses appear to be; huge numbers of ridiculous trademark claims seem to have been noticed.

This is going to explode into exactly the kind of large scale squabbling ICANN wanted to avoid.  ICANN needs to recognize the problem, halt the process (as briefly as possible!), simplify the rules and restart it.  Hopefully it's not already too late.  Perhaps an objective ouside consultant could come up with a fair policy.  It also needs to be recognized that some disputes will happen in any case.  The most effective way to minimize disputes is alternatives: alternate roots, other TLDs, etc.

Avoiding recognition of these mistakes will only make the situation worse.


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