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Username: EasyTech
Date/Time: Tue, October 30, 2001 at 9:23 PM GMT (Tue, October 30, 2001 at 10:23 PM CET)
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V6.0 using Windows 98
Subject: More substance please, Mr. Ambler


For Garrin, who ponied up the nonrefundable $50,000 application fee, ICANN's selections were a double-loss. Not only did ICANN reject Name.Space's plan for 118 new domains, but it gave ones Name.Space was already operating—.museum, .pro, and .info—to other companies. Fees from new registrations plummeted, Garrin says, from as much as $3000 a day to barely $100. "ICANN killed our business," he says.

But Garrin's problem may be simply that he wants too much. Given ICANN's stated intention of adding a "modest" number of new domains in this "proof of concept" phase, observers say there's no way he could have ever won approval for 118. Yet when the board members asked Garrin to select three from his list, he refused.

This shocked even some of Garrin's sharpest critics and competitors. "People at the hearings were watching this, saying, 'Come on, Paul, pick three,' but he wouldn't do that," says Richard Sexton of the Open Root Server Confederation, a network of alternative root servers. "His mentality is, it's my way or the highway...."

"...But with only several thousand customers, Garrin's revolution is losing steam. In addition to being shut out of the root zone, his company is now facing far stiffer competition from A spinoff of Idealab (the people behind the ill-fated eToys), last month began offering customers 20 extensions that function as top-level domains—from .chat to .xxx. Most are already offered by Garrin and other alternative roots. What gives's scheme added heft is that the company has partnered with Earthlink, Excite@home, Net.Zero, and, creating a market of 16 million customers. And has copied Name.Space's idea of allowing users to vote on new domains, giving them the potential to monopolize the alternative market even further.

Until now, ICANN could easily ignore folks running alternate root zones. Tiny Name.Space and ORSC have never been able to garner enough users to pose a serious threat to the unified order of the Net. But with marketing power, could change that. Already, customers on the PacificRoot servers have complained that their Web addresses are being put up for sale by, setting a scenario that's ripe for confusion.

The growing rebellion threatens to balkanize the Net. With companies competing to sell space in the same alternative domains, being able to view a particular Web site could depend on which Internet service provider or browser you use. Already, foreign country-code operators are balking at U.S. control and the hefty fees ICANN has attempted to impose; China recently bolted the ICANN root and set up its own root system using Chinese characters; it can be accessed through PacificRoot..."

O.K. IOD is mentioned, too:

"...Chris Ambler of Image Online Design, which runs the .Web registry, is even more emphatic. "The problem with Name.Space is [Garrin] wants something that no one else has: 500 top-level domains and the ability to create new ones at will. He's trying to claim everything! He makes lofty claims about having a shared system, but it requires people to use his system, and he gets a piece of every new registry! In my book, that's called communism, or socialism at best..."


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