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Comments on proposed ICANN/Verisign settlement

  • To: settlement-comments@xxxxxxxxx, cguterriez@xxxxxxx, mgallagher@xxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Comments on proposed ICANN/Verisign settlement
  • From: Robbie Honerkamp <robbie@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 06:01:41 -0500

To: ICANN To: Carlos Guterriez, Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce To: Michael Gallagher, Assistant Secretary of the United States NTIA

Re: Comments on the proposed ICANN/Verisign settlement


I operate a consulting company that provides Internet services (including domain name registration) to small Internet service providers in developing countries. Our customers come from many countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and are understandably very price sensitive.

ICANN took a great step forward several years ago when they began working to remove Network Solutions/Verisign's monopoly on Internet domain name registration. I'm saddened to see this most recent development, one which threatens to not only reinstate Verisign's
monopoly, but also make it permanent.

Removing the price cap on domain names is only one small step towards reinstuting the market forces referred to in the settlement. The other step is relieving Verisign of their monopoly. Price caps are necessary only when there is a monopoly. Removing a price cap (even incrementally) in a monopolistic situation can only lead to problems. In addition to this, the settlement makes it even more difficult for ICANN to cancel Verisign's operating agreement in the future, making this unfortunate agreement virtually perpetual. It also ensures that Verisign will never again need to listen to market forces, its customers, or ICANN.

This change will adversely affect domain name registrars around the world. In my own situation, my company's mission to spread the reach of the Internet around the world conflicts with these settlement terms. Many of my customers are small businesses in African countries that are making their very first steps online. They seek trading partners in other countries to expand their business. But these are still very small companies, and what may seem like a minor fee increase to us in America ends up becoming a major problem for them. The .com TLD is a global namespace, and I urge ICANN and the Department of Commerce to consider the international implications of this decision.

In addition, I also urge ICANN and the Department of Commerce to remember demands from other nations to release control of the Internet to international organizations. I am sure you will agree with me that such an event could be disastrous, as political battles with totalitarian regimes over online censorship would almost certainly result. Increasing these fees and cementing a needless monopoly will only lead to louder cries for ICANN's removal.

Thank you for considering my thoughts.

Robert Honerkamp
Comtrends, Inc.

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