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Responding to concerns

  • To: <settlement-comments@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Responding to concerns
  • From: "Steve DelBianco" <sdelbianco@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2005 20:56:43 -0500

At the Vancouver meeting, I heard many concerns regarding the proposed
settlement and contract with Verisign. I support the settlement and
contract, and respectfully offer my response to several of those


Presumptive Renewal:


Without expectations of renewal, Registry operators won't invest or
innovate as much.  Some are concerned about lack of competition if
there's no re-bid, but the renewal option is lost if the incumbent
operator fails to fulfill contractual performance obligations.  




Nearly all in Vancouver said they prefer a quick mediation/arbitration
process over prolonged, expensive litigation. Some are concerned that
the time period for dispute resolution is too brief to allow for
stakeholder input, but from I have observed, ICANN's PDP is too slow to
allow the experimental, incremental innovation that drives all progress
in commercial IT endeavors. 


Domain name registration fees:


Domain registrants who are paying the fees generally think it's worth
the increase if it will establish stable funding for ICANN. Financial
stability is a key to satisfying the MoU and gaining the independence we
all want for ICANN. I heard some concern about process for determining
how those new funds will be spent, but this is a budget & policy matter
that has nothing to do with the Registry contract. 


Process of negotiating the contract: 


Stakeholders are complaining of lack of consultation, and worry this
will create a bad precedent.   But didn't the ICANN Board float most of
these contract terms in the .net model contract in Feb-05?  And the
Board listened to comments on .net and made adjustments.  This .com
contract just represents ICANN's latest model contract. 


I also heard complaints that the contract negotiation was a "bilateral
negotiation" that excluded some stakeholders.  Well, most contracts are
negotiated bilaterally -- between the parties making concessions and
commitments.  And it's rare indeed for contract negotiations to include
everyone who will ever be affected by those commitments. For example,
the contract negotiated with the Westin Bayshore for the Vancouver
meeting was a bilateral negotiation between ICANN and the Westin, even
though Registrants provide the funds that pay for the meeting. Did we
hear anyone demanding that ICANN include all stakeholders when
negotiating the contracts for the New Zealand or Morocco meetings?
(this is just a rhetorical question- please don't initiate a PDP for


Process for adding new Registry services:


Registry operators need a better process for approval of new services.
For example, we need to move quickly on Internationalised domain names,
or we risk balkanizing and splintering the internet. 


A few secondary market name traders fear that new Registry services
could harm them by eliminating their role, or by opening up their
markets to new competition.   But middlemen like pool.com do not have an
inviolate "right" to their middleman role.  If middlemen were immune to
displacement and competition, how would there be any innovation or
efficiency improvements?  Should travel agents be allowed to stop ICANN
from negotiating _directly_ with airlines and conference hotels?   I
thought CFIT's propaganda was transparent and self-serving, but I'm
grateful for the umbrella and bag <g>.


Thanks to the ICANN Board for allowing public comment on Registry
contracts, and thanks to all the concerned professionals who devote so
much of their time to help the Internet expand its reach and richness to
the global community.



Steve DelBianco

Executive Director





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