The New TLD agreements have been advertised as ICANN's "proof of concept"... well,
the "proof of concept" is far from proven, in fact it remains a shambles.
forum has followed the working out of the TLD agreements and commented on them, providing
a vital analysis from the standpoint of the consumer and the internet public.
on it challenged the assumption that a trademark name (held by hundreds of different
companies) could be rightly assigned to one entity at what ICANN called "Sunrise".
Sunrise even took place, it predicted that the system would be abused and warned
the so-called professionals.
It questioned the right of ICANN to hijack a TLD like
.biz from a company that was already making its living from it.
As the first Sunrise
frauds came to light, it blew the whistle on domain-squatters like Govinda Leopold,
the Afilias board member who obtained fake Sunrise names through the use of phoney
It predicted the scale of the fraud would be in the region of
20% - a claim strongly refuted by Michael Palage but which later turned out to be
It was vindicated by the resignation of Afilias Director Robert
Connelly, who called the .info Sunrise an "abomination".
It offered through the
Domebase solution an equitable and commonsense solution to the Sunrise fiasco, but
was ignored by ICANN and Afilias.
It brought to light deliberate falsification
of Trademark data by Registars, and extracted admissions from executives like Lars
It revealed the way in which companies like Speednames (represented on
the Afilias board) and Domainbank (run by Afilias CEO Lubsen) had profited by a total
exceeding $500,000 to abuse Afilias's own Sunrise system, by submitting facially
ineligible Trademark data.
It published the hundreds of names falsely registered
by ICANN accredited registrars, and asked why ICANN was prepared to support these
companies, and accommodate their fraud without sanction.
It called on Vint Cerf
and Stuart Lynn to enter into dialogue and just talk about some of these very serious
It showed the world the "scam" of the same names being sold first for
the Landrush, then at Sunrise, and now being sold yet again for a third time at Landrush
It worked co-operatively and asked questions which it was fair and reasonable
And the New TLD Agreements STILL require a forum as long as the "proof
of concept" has not reached its chaotic conclusion. Because the key issues for discussion
are not the paperwork, but how these agreements work out in practice and impact upon
In short, with over 10000 key .info generics still unaccounted for and
locked up; and even more key .biz names lost in a void after legal action; it has
to be said that the real roll-out has hardly even begun.
This same week, the ICANN
board under Stuart Lynn's discredited leadership has initiated steps to remove the
democratically accountable elements of the Board. Even senior congressmen have had
enough of ICANN's opaque dealings.
And to cap it all, Stuart Lynn has marginalised
the Public Forum as "a joke".
It's absolutely simple : forums like this one (which
has had over 7000 contributions in its short life) are a tiny window through which
some light of truth may shine.
In a free and democratic society it is right that
consumers should be protected; that consumers should ask fair questions; and that
executives who claim the right to administer a worldwide resource (for all humanity)
should be answerable and accountable in an open and honest process.
To say that
ICANN has failed in this duty is a huge understatement. It has known (and been made
aware) of successive frauds. It has been party to contracts which facilitated these
frauds. And it has presided over the fraudulent activities of its protege registrars
which it continues to accredit and promote - without sanction or public criticism.
new TLD forum is not over, because the internet community will not be sidelined by
a quango which grows self-perpetuating and drifts further and further from the consumers
it purports to serve.
Vint Cerf had a not insignificant reputation in the past.
Much indeed has been owed to him in times gone by. But he has kept silent. He has
evaded this group. By association with ICANN, he has presided over processes which
ran away from public comment. Processes which surrendered the consumer interest of
small businesses and the internet community in favour of big business and the Trademark
He has sided with those who were prepared to accommodate a culture of corruption.
He has presided over the defrauding of Landrush customers who lost in the region
of $3,000,000. He has presided over the fraudulent actions and the imbecilic ineptitude
of the Afilias Board and executive. He has smiled benignly at the corrupt Registrars
and when proven corrupt, he has continued to accredit them and promote them in the
name of ICANN.
Where is the consumer in all this?
Where is the protection for
That is, primarily, what this forum has all been about.
defence has repeatedly been that this has all been a "proof of concept". But the
losses sustained as a result of fraud, as a result of Registry and Registrar abuse,
as a result of non-existent safeguards - these were not a "proof of concept" : these
were real people losing real money, losing real time, losing real ideals and plans
for their future.
This forum wishes to continue to monitor the implementation of
the New TLD agreements.
No open, honest and transparent organisation could deny
that it has an important role to fulfil, and any half-decent organisation would value
the input, dialogue and co-operation that this forum can offer.
It is not yet appropriate
to close this forum. It would be more appropriate for ICANN to question the continuing
mandate of its own executive.