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.com Registry Agreement Renewal -- Reply Period comments

  • To: "com-renewal@xxxxxxxxx" <com-renewal@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: .com Registry Agreement Renewal -- Reply Period comments
  • From: George Kirikos <gkirikos@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 13 May 2012 08:34:21 -0700 (PDT)

By: George Kirikos
Title: President
Organization: Leap of Faith Financial Services Inc.
Website: http://www.leap.com/
Date: May 13, 2012

This submission addresses certain comments submitted by others during the 
initial comment period.

(1) Chris Dalton, March 28, 2012

"Why are prices for domains set to go up over time when the prevailingtrend in 
the technology arena is for prices to decrease over time??"

This is a very important question that Mr. Dalton asks. It begs the question 
whether ICANN has done any economic studies to justify perpetual price 
increases in .com that are unrelated to the actual costs of providing the 
monopoly service. It's clear that ICANN has once again dropped the ball, and 
should not renew the .com agreement with VeriSign under the proposed terms 
until such time as fees to registrars are set via a tender process, with 
VeriSign competing with others who might wish to operate the .com registry. The 
contract should be awarded to the qualified applicant (qualified in the sense 
that they accept the proposed service level agreement, SLA) with the lowest 

(2) Jeff Matthews, April 5, 2012

"Let the .com contract go up for bidding!!
This is unfair and not free enterprise..  This is unethical."

We agree with the wise comments of Mr. Matthews, that the .com contract should 
go up for bidding. ICANN should not be in the business of propping up 
monopolies like VeriSign.

(3) George Kirikos, April 21, 2012


After reviewing all other submissions, we renew our support for our own prior 

(4) Andrew Allemann, April 23, 2012

"...I see no reason for such drastic price hikes to be included in this 

Truer words were never spoken.

(5) Danny Pryor, April 23, 2012

"To be succinct, the lack of competitive bidding and the wide latitude in 
pricing granted Verisign could be construed as a violation of the trust between 
ICANN, the business community and the people trusting ICANN to represent the 
interests of fairness and accountability. "

Another brilliant comment that merits our support.

(6) 24-7 Outdoors, Inc. (Kelly Pitts), April 23, 2012

"This is a monopoly ;  A disgusting monopoly."

We agree with this statement.

(ICANN) "...they have demonstrated that their self-interests win over any 
public comment and will push for higher domain prices no matter what domain 
owners say.  Just watch.  They have never once listened to public comments and 
acted accordingly. "

Sadly, this statement also rings true. We challenge ICANN to listen to the 
public, and open the .com contract to competitive bidding.

"Studies have shown it costs about $2 per domain to run the registry. Why do 
prices need to go up without competitive bids???????????"

We believe this statement is also correct, and agree that fees to registrants 
would fall dramatically under competitive bidding.

(7) Greg Ricks, April 23, 2012

"The cozy relationship between ICANN management and Verisign should 
be investigated. Side note: The small time scandal causing GSA party in Vegas 
was nothing compared the lavish parties put on by ICANN in exotic locals 3 
times a year."

We do agree that NTIA, DOC and the DOJ should investigate the cozy relationship 
between ICANN and VeriSign. In particular, has there been regulatory capture of 
ICANN by the contracted parties? A "captured" entity cannot faithfully 
represent the public interest.

(8) Nat Cohen, April 24, 2012


We fully support the insightful comments of Mr. Cohen.

(9) Kurt Irmiter, April 24, 2012

"Have you put it out to other companies asking what they would need to 
charge to provide the same service?"

Mr. Irmiter asks the billion-dollar question, namely how can ICANN pretend to 
negotiate with VeriSign when it doesn't appear to know the costs of providing 
the service. There is no "presumptive renewal" even for sensitive military 
contracts that are not closely scrutinized in regards to costs. Yet, ICANN 
feels free to grant a monopoly prices increases in perpetuity. Something is 
rotten in the state of California....

(10) Mark Jeftovic, April 24, 2012

"At the very least, a competitive bid on the operation of .COM would bring out 
international players, or multi-national players who would
perhaps table alternative governance structures & legal procedures that were 
fairer to all global stakeholders."

We agree with Mr. Jeftovic that there are global companies that would compete 
with VeriSign should the contract be put out to a tender process. We also agree 
that the jurisdiction of domains should be the headquarters of the registrant, 
provided that it is a bona fide entity (i.e. not using fake WHOIS, for example).

(11) Michael Berkens, April 25, 2012


We agree wholeheartedly with the complete submission of Mr. Berkens. We 
challenge ICANN to provide a single example (just 1!) of a company in the USA 
that has a contract with any government body with guarantees perpetual price 
increases with any showing of increased cost.

(12) Elisa Cooper, April 25, 2012

"However, we urge ICANN to require Verisign to comply with all New gTLD 
Requirements including Thick Whois and support for the URS (Uniform Rapid 

We oppose any attempt to introduce the URS via a "backdoor" process such as the 
.com registry agreement renewal. The same goes for Thick WHOIS (which we do not 
oppose, but simply adding it via contract is not the proper way). These must go 
through a PDP, via the GNSO consensus process. It's funny many of the same 
entities that OPPOSED examination/review of the UDRP, a policy that has been in 
place for more than 10 years and which has had MANY documented problems are so 
quick to want to impose an UNTESTED URS policy, one that provides even less due 
process to registrants than the flawed UDRP.

(13) Brian Gilbert, April 25, 2012

"ICANN should open up the .com contract to competitive bidding."

Another insightful comment that represents the opinion of the masses, that it's 
time for VeriSign to have to compete in order to keep the .com contract.

(14) Marilyn Cade, April 25, 2012

"Moving to thick WHOIS for .com should be discussed with Verisign as part of 
the contract discussions."

While we do not oppose Thick WHOIS, adding it into the contract directly, 
instead of via the GNSO consensus process, would set a horrible precedent. 
Thus, we oppose this suggestion by Ms. Cade, echoing our comments above re: Ms. 
Cooper's submission.

(15) Kevin Dabney, April 25, 2012


Mr. Dabney makes a number of excellent points, in particular reminding us of a 
Bob Parsons quote from 2006. GoDaddy and many other registrars, through their 
silence, are not representing the best interests of registrants, who would 
naturally be opposed to monopolistic price increases. This silence demonstrates 
the "regulatory capture" of ICANN, that registrars are not acting as an 
independent voice to keep registry operators in check, but instead are hoping 
to become monopolistic registries themselves, and gouge the public via 
unregulated prices in new gTLDs.

(16) Keith Richerdson, April 25, 2012

"It’s time to take ACTION NOW and REMOVE the renewal provisions from this 
contract.  If ICANN wants to act in the best interest of the global Internet 
community and continue campaigning the "multi-stakeholder" model, ICANN must 
remove the presumptive renewal provisions from the contract currently being 
negotiated upon."

We agree 100% that the presumptive renewal clause was a mistake. If ICANN is 
going to make *any* changes to the contract, that single clause must be 
eliminated in all registry contracts. The DOJ should step in and declare it 
illegal, in the alternative, as it is clearly an anticompetitive provision that 
is costing consumers hundreds of millions of dollars in excess fees annually.

(17) Jonathan Johnson, April 24, 2012


Overstock is a musician that only plays one tune, with participation focused on 
acquiring the O.com domain name, a name well suited for Oprah, among others. 
The interests of registrants of 100 million domain names take priority over, at 
most, 33 registrants (i.e. 23 unallocated single letter .com domains + 10 
unallocated single digit .com domains). When there's been a successful tender 
process for .com, something that would benefit the 99.9999%, then we might 
waste the public's time on policymaking that would impact the 0.0001%.

(18) ALAC, April 25, 2012


ALAC demonstrates its continuing irrelevance by its complete statement, which 
focuses only upon Thick WHOIS. Individual internet users, who ALAC purports to 
represent, would be opposed to the monopolistic nature of the .com agreement, 
yet ALAC says not a word. That about says it all, in terms of ALAC's 
irrelevance. Unfunded entities put forth much more substantive input than the 
ALAC, which is getting substantial financial support from ICANN. Clearly, ALAC 
lacks any independence, as its "input" does not attempt to "make waves" -- a 
truly independent watchdog would speak about the obvious flaws in the 
agreement. ALAC spent much more time and resources whining about unsuitable 


than they did on this important multi-billion dollar dot-com contract renewal. 
It's clear that ALAC places a higher priority on its travel and accommodations, 
rather than the interests of the public/users.

(19) Metin Demirci, April 26, 2012

"Therefore, there should not be any reason for periodic price increases except 
to increase Verisign's profit."

We agree with the comments of Mr. Demirci. VeriSign should need to justify any 
fees above $2/yr per domain, a substantial DECREASE from current levels.

(20) Jeremy Hureaux, April 26, 2012

"Never heard of the "essential facilities doctrine" (antitrust law) ?"

Mr. Hureaux makes an important point, see further details 
at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_facilities_doctrine . In particular, 
there would be ways to split the operation of the .com registry in manners such 
that VeriSign did not have control of it, and that competitors would have 
access (e.g. could split the "resolution of names" from the domain registration 
aspect of a registry, just as is done with the root zone).

(21) INTA, April 26, 2012


We disagree with attempts to go around the PDP process for Thick WHOIS or URS. 
Once again, it's telling that those who fought against a review of the flawed 
UDRP are attempting to impose the flawed URS, without going through the 
consensus process.

(22) Frank Michlick, April 26, 2012

"That being said, we're surprised to learn that ICANN proposes tore-assign the 
COM operational contract to VeriSign without further
review of any potential competitive bids. This is especially astonishing when 
bearing in mind that intricate details of the current version of
the contract are merely the result of a lawsuit settlement between ICANN and 
VeriSign. The settlement in question was forged without public input from 
community and stakeholders, and without much information given to the public at 

Yes, let us never forget that the company that is entrusted with a perpetual 
monopoly on .com is the same company that brought in SiteFinder, and is 
generally loathed by the public. Do a search for "VeriSign sucks" to see what 
the public thinks of the .com registry operator.

(23) IPC, April 26, 2012

The comments of the IPC are substantially the same as those of INTA. We 
reiterate our response in #21 above. I also wonder why the IPC makes no 
comments on the unabated price increases of these contracts. Certainly TM 
holders would howl if the USPTO raised prices for TM or patent registrations. 
Yet, here they are silent in the face of a monopolistic contract. I would urge 
them to voice their concerns during this "reply" period.

(24) Adam Strong, April 26, 2012

"Firstly, if my memory serves me correct the .com contract was awarded as part 
of a settelement to a lawsuit. I don't believe that a contract of this 
importance should have ever been used  as any sort of leverage in a 
settlement. The .com contract is not ICANN's "possession" to leverage this way. 
The multiple stake-holders involved in ICANN were robbed when this settlement 
was allowed"

Mr. Strong reminds us of an important fact, namely that ICANN misused the .com 
contract back in 2006, to settle the SiteFinder lawsuit. Clearly, there was a 
collateral purpose, namely that ICANN likely sought to avoid the embarrassment 
of "discovery" -- if there is an entity that knows where "all the skeletons are 
hidden" regarding ICANN, presumably it would be VeriSign.


George Kirikos

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