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Username: USTAR
Date/Time: Fri, October 20, 2000 at 8:31 PM GMT (Fri, October 20, 2000 at 4:31 PM EDT)
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Score: 5
Subject: USTAR Has No Agenda - IATA is Simply Unsuitable


Dear Mr. Schneider:

Thanks for your reply. We only pointed out that Name.Space also filed for the .travel TLD in response to your statement that there were no other alternative applicants. Clearly there is. Whether they are qualified or not remains to be seen, and we will be looking at their application carefully.

For now, that does not change our position that IATA is still unsuitable. In the end, ICANN will make whatever decision it feels appropriate. We will have to assume that the comments expressed on this forum will guide that process. From where I sit, there are plenty of people who are questioning the fairness of IATA to manage the .travel TLD.

The only "agenda" any of us has is to assure that .travel is well-managed, administered in an unbiased fashion, and is commercially competitive. We are not persuaded, despite its statements, that IATA will engage in conduct which will honor its commitment to this TLD. IATA's long history of one-sided, heavy-handed, arbitrary treatment of travel agents is now coming home to roost. This is not a USTAR "agenda", but the general sentiment of the travel agency community -  a community which is the frequent traveller's best advocate for unbiased schedules, fares, and good customer service.

You yourself said you use a travel agent ... and we assume with good reason. You may be interested to know that earlier this week, ASTA, the American Society of Travel Agents, with 26,000 members in 170 countries came out vehemently opposed to the IATA application. ASTA, in a press release, stated that IATA: "is not the ‘neutral trusted intermediary’ it claims to be. Simply put, IATA is an airline cartel. It is completely inappropriate for an international cartel to control segments of the Internet, especially when the competitive interests of the members of the cartel may be involved."

Can we all have a "hidden agenda"? I don't think so.

USTAR thanks you for this opportunity to reply to your comments.        


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