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Further clarification of my comments

  • To: <vancouver@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Further clarification of my comments
  • From: "Ted Neward" <ted@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 17:55:18 -0800

My name (below) is Ted Neward, and I was the commenter who asked ICANN to
focus on Complexity, Consistency and Clarity. I wanted to offer up some
further explanation of what I mean by those three things.

Right now, the Internet has a small number of top-level domain names,
clearly targeted at different needs, though still confusing enough that,
when spoken aloud, I frequently must repeat the fact that my website is
neward-dot-NET, not neward-dot-COM. (More on why I hold a .net domain
instead of a .com domain will come later.) I can only shudder at the chaos
what would ensue if I have to differentiate between ".cc", ".biz",
".business", ".name", and Lord knows what other top-level domain names could
be suggested. This is not the pursuit of clarity, at least not to the
general community as a whole. It simply provides opportunities for other
"squatters" to claim neward-like domain names, such as neward.biz,
neward.business, neward.name, neward.cc, and so forth, effectively requiring
me (and, more importantly, other commercial entities) multiple registrations
to secure our "business Internet name". This is not the pursuit of clarity,
this is the pursuit of cash.

A presumptive right of renewal is a fundamental part of business, and has
never, in my history, been leveled as a charge of "monopoly" except from
those who disagree with the current contract-holder's status as the current
contract-holder. I teach technology courses for a living (Java, .NET, XML
services, among others), and did so for five years as part of a larger
commercial entity (develop.com) in which it was established practice that
course authors had both presumptive renewal to authorship of that course
(justifying investment, in time in this case, to ensure the course remained
technically accurate and up-to-date) as well as right of first refusal to
*teach* the course when a customer wished it. This system worked well for
the company of 80-some-odd instructors, and it works well for large
contracts making use of security service providers, janitorial service
providers, and so on. More importantly, it solidifies a consistency that is
currently missing from the Internet as a whole, as it will incentivize a
current contract-holder to invest in infrastructure, which will (presumably)
help streamline the process by which domain registrations occur.

Lastly, the clarity element is a pretty well-understood one, but one area
that I want to call attention to is, with respect to the current debate, the
chaotic nature in which domain names currently exist. Many years ago, I
tried to register the domain name "neward.com", and was told (by Whois) that
somebody in Mexico City currently owned the domain name. I looked around for
some form of service to receive a notification when that domain name came up
for registration (if ever), and was told that no such service existed, and
that it was effectively a first-come-first-serve basis. Then later I was
told that there were companies that could provide this. No, they can't,
they'll only try to swoop in and steal the name when it comes up. Yes, they
can guarantee I'll get the name. No, they can't. This is what I speak to
when I talk about clarity--the process by which something so clearly
important to business practices today should be well-understood,
widely-understood, and egalitarian.

The current Internet infrastructure is much more akin to the Wild West than
to a civilized infrastructure. While the Wild West was exciting and an
interesting place, it's not a place I care to live and raise my family.
Stability, clarity, consistency are crucial to allowing a civilization to
move forward with its day-to-day affairs, and I encourage ICANN to make the
(hard) decisions to move forward to bring order to what now I perceive as

Ted Neward
Author, Presenter, Consultant
Java, .NET, XML services

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