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ICANN Needs to Fix These Mistakes

  • To: com-renewal@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: ICANN Needs to Fix These Mistakes
  • From: "Keven Dabney" <me@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2012 14:41:45 -0700


Among many others I am extremely frustrated that ICANN and VeriSign
colluded to create a monopoly over the .com namespace.  And ICANN has
done the world an incredible injustice by approving of and signing this
evergreen contract which allows VeriSign to make more and more money
almost every year.

Let’s back up and look at the Internet economy…

1.) Bandwidth prices go down every year
2.) Servers become more powerful every year, and cheaper as well
3.) There is more open source than ever before, therefore reducing IT
costs even further
4.) The network and infrastructure is already built

The .com namespace needs to be put to a competitive bid so that the
world benefits, instead of being constantly exploited by the ICANN <-->
VeriSign monopoly of scratching each other’s backs.

The fact that VeriSign would have signed this evergreen contract in the
first place is by far the worst mistake ICANN has made in the
organization’s entire history!  At the current rate, the estimated
price of a .com domain registration will be an astounding $425.12 per
year without someone stepping in and fixing this entire mess.  This is
so far ahead of the inflationary rate that it is disgusting.  And this
monopoly will go on and on, prices will increase, ICANN will say “we
can’t do anything”, another 6 years will pass.  The cycle seems like
it will never end.

Is ICANN going to wait until the year 2100 to realize the massive
mistake it made in 2006?  Or wait until the year 2050?  What about 2025?
 When does ICANN work to clean this up, and enhance the operational
stability and global interoperability of the Internet?  And encourage
competition instead of protecting a monopoly?  When will ICANN delegate
responsibilities to companies that reflect the global Internet?  And not
just one company that goes by the name of VeriSign?

We believe that ICANN should be taking steps IMMEDIATELY, this year, as
this is going to be an ever growing issue and problem, and ICANN needs
to take action now.

One of ICANN’s core mission values is to introduce and promote
competition in the registration of domain names.  And to employ open and
transparent policy-making mechanisms that promote well-informed,
technically sound decisions!  Where was the transparency in 2006 when
this contract was negotiated behind closed doors?  How is this
introducing and promoting competition by signing this evergreen contract
in private?  ICANN has only created a monopoly! 

When .net uses the exact same infrastructure, being that of DNS, whois,
use of the SRS, servers and hosting facilities, and IT staff – how
does .com cost $7.85 and .net only cost $5.11?  This is clearly not
right as VeriSign is charging different amounts for the same services,
therefore subsidizing .net with the prices for .com registrations. 
Which proves that VeriSign is just marking the price up on .com – just
because it can!

Let us not forget that VeriSign is already seeing approximately 5%
growth in the .com namespace every year.  Therefore seeing an effective
12% increase in its revenues and profits almost every year.  And their
network and infrastructure is already in place!

Many years ago Bob Parsons mentioned he could operate the .com registry
for as little as $1 per year.  $2 to $3 per domain per year seems to be
a safe estimate of what is very realistic amongst industry experts –
especially when looking at other registry service providers, and
companies that will be powering registries in the new gTLD rollout!  Why
has VeriSign been given this non-exclusive, evergreen contract with
never-ending price increases when it is clearly not in the world’s
best benefit to put .com to a competitive bid?

Let us not forget that in 2004 ICANN opened the .NET registry for
bidding.  VeriSign won the contract from five competing bids, and the
result was prices for .net registrations fell almost in half prior to
the competitive bid process.

Bob Parsons summed it up nicely in 2006 by saying "Under no
circumstances should VeriSign be allowed to raise .COM prices without
cost-based justification".  He also was quoted as saying " If VeriSign
does request an increase, it needs to result in competitive bidding for
the registry contract. This would certainly create lower prices, not
higher, just as it did for the .NET registry."  But ICANN never listened
to the clear writing on the wall even in 2006.


And what is VeriSign doing with the money it is collecting?  It is
applying for new top-level-domains in the gTLD expansion.  It is using
the money it is making from .com to subsidize new business lines, and
that is most defiantly not in the BEST INTEREST of the .com namespace. 
VeriSign should be focused on running and promoting the .com extension,
especially with the new TLD’s that are set to roll out over the next
few years.  Instead of operating in .com’s best interest, VeriSign is
playing both sides of the fence, and by offering registry services to
new TLD’s it is hurting the prestigious .com namespace.  It is taking
its windfall profits and putting them into programs that inherently
hedging against .com domain names.  This is most defiantly what a
monopoly should not be doing with price increases.

It is in our best belief that if VeriSign operate other
top-level-domains other than .com, it is making irreparable harm to the
.com namespace as it is now in a position that has a serious conflict of
interest.  It therefore is no longer operating in the best benefit of
.com owners worldwide, and hiking the prices at every moment possible. 
ICANN should see this and realize the renewal of this contract with
VeriSign is not in the world's best benefit.

We hope to see ICANN’s resolution to this matter!  Open the .com
contract for competitive bidding and prove to the world ICANN truly
cares about creating competitive systems, not closed and monopolistic
systems.  We realize ICANN's created a massive mess here!  It needs to
be responsible for fixing what it so eloquently took from the world!!! 
Instead of effectively saying “we can’t do anything”, ICANN is
just ignoring the bigger issue of granting a monopoly, and this needs to
be investigated a lot further if ICANN does not take steps to fix the
issue!  We believe ICANN wants to work for the world's benefit, but
ignoring this issue will only show how much ICANN just does not care.

Keven Dabney
Internet Professional and Evangelist

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