Return to Proposed Revisions to NSI Agreements Forum - Message Thread - FAQ

Username: Merlin
Date/Time: Sat, March 3, 2001 at 6:05 AM GMT
Browser: Netscape Communicator V4.08 using Windows 98
Score: 5
Subject: ICANN Garbage!


     ICANN is supposed to resign themselves to just "technical" issues
The statements ICANN made below are very telling and I don't like what I am hearing. Since when is it ICANN's job to make sure that Verisign is happy? One of ICANN's tasks was to introduce competition in the registrar business and now that they have done so it should be end of story instead ICANN for some reason is compelled to bend over backwards for Verisign because their share of registrations has fallen to 50%. Wooooh, hold on a minute are we to understand that Verisign is entitled to special privilege just because they now find themselves having to compete and are obviously whining about it. Hey ICANN didn't you ever stop to think that maybe NSI's share of the market is sinking because they refuse to price themselves competitively and they treat their customers like shit, yet you find it a priority to step in and protect them.

I don't get it either you want competition or you don't and by the way Let's not forget the fact that NSI is holding millions of expired domain names from the market and even has tested the waters by buying and during Christmas week released thousands of domain names exclusively for sale on excluding all other registrars and thus any hope of competitive pricing. This is just a prelude to full blown auctions since NSI will push things as far as they can to gauge any opposition. I noticed ICANN has been suspiciously silent in regard to this. I guess maybe they thought NSI needs the help.

This all has an odor of corruption and it stinks. It smells like garbage and we all know what needs to be done with garbage…………

In fact, the introduction of competition in the registrar business has been much more successful, and more rapidly successful, than anyone anticipated. By all indications, VeriSign has honored its obligations under Section 21; ICANN has received no substantial complaints about discriminatory access to the registries operated by VeriSign, and there is no indication or evidence that has come to the attention of ICANN that VeriSign has not fully and effectively erected a complete firewall that prevents any discriminatory information flow to its registrar business. ICANN has now accredited approximately 180 competitive registrars, of which about 90 are already operating under the SRS. ICANN estimates that the average price of a one year domain name registration offered by the competing registrars in the .com, .net, and .org registries operated by VeriSign has fallen to under $15; prior to the introduction of competition, the only price at which a domain name registration was available was $70 for a two-year registration. The range of service alternatives is enormous, from a simple unadorned name registration to a large array of different packages of services.
Perhaps most relevantly, VeriSign's once-dominant market position has been severely eroded. VeriSign's share of total registrations has fallen to about 50%, its share of new registrations to under 40%, and its share of net new registrations (taking into account non-renewals and transfers) to an even lower level. This trend appears to be continuing in 2001.

For all these reasons, when ICANN and Verisign began to discuss VeriSign's plans to divest itself of its registrar business so as to qualify for the automatic four-year extension to operate the .com/.net/.org registries, it quickly became apparent that the importance and value of the separation of ownership of VeriSign's registry and registrar businesses to ICANN and the community had diminished quite significantly over the 15 months since the original registry agreement was signed. While VeriSign might well wish to retain its registrar business, the fact that separation of ownership will automatically extend its ability to operate the .com/.net/.org registries for an additional four years is a powerful incentive to cause that separation to happen. On the other hand, that ownership separation is clearly not as valuable to the community or ICANN under today's market conditions as it appeared it would be at the time the agreement was signed.
Given these circumstances, the management of ICANN and VeriSign began exploring whether there was an alternative set of arrangements that would be more attractive to both parties. The result of those discussions, which have been ongoing since last summer but more intensely over the last two months, is a proposal that VeriSign has now made to the ICANN Board to amend the existing registry agreement.
If this proposal is accepted by the Board and agreed to by the US Department of Commerce (which must approve any such amendments to the existing agreement), it would dramatically restructure the relationship between ICANN and VeriSign in several positive ways. As a general matter, it would go a very long ways toward eliminating the vestiges of special treatment of VeriSign based on its legacy activities before the formation of ICANN, and in large part place VeriSign in the same relationship with ICANN as all other generic TLD registry operators and registrars.
ICANN management believes that there is a persuasive argument that amending the existing registry agreement with VeriSign as proposed would be of far more benefit to the Internet community, and do more to enhance long-term competition, than would the continuation of the existing agreement. Therefore, we have agreed that we would post this proposal for public comment.

Timing considerations are important; there is a contractual deadline involved. Even if this proposed amendment is approved by the ICANN Board, it also requires approval by the US Department of Commerce because it would involve amending existing agreements. Therefore, as a practical matter, the Board must make a decision on this proposal no later than 1 April 2001. On the other hand, because this is likely to be of such interest to the community generally, and because it does involve a significant change in the most important of ICANN's contractual agreements, it is important that there be ample time for community comment and Board consideration of that comment. Therefore, it is contemplated that time will be provided during the Public Forum in Melbourne for discussion of this proposal. In addition, a web-based public comment forum has been established to receive public comment. Finally, a request for any comments and recommendations they choose to offer has been sent to each of ICANN's supporting organizations.
Should the Board approve the proposed contractual amendments, they will then be submitted to the Department of Commerce for its approval. Should the Board decide not to accept the proposed amendments, the existing contract will remain in full force, including the automatic four-year extension until 10 November 2007, for all three registries if VeriSign complies with the ownership separation requirement of Section 23.