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Username: xande
Date/Time: Thu, March 8, 2001 at 7:50 PM GMT
Browser: Netscape Navigator V4.72 Custom using XWindows/Linux 2.2.14 (Pentium Pro)
Score: 5
Subject: To ICANN


This proposed amendment to the contract is a sufficiently bad idea that I do not know where to begin my criticisims.  So I apologize in advance for any deficiencies in the organization of this message.

First, one of the selling points of this agreement is that it would more quickly eleminate VeriSign's control of the .org and .net TLD's.  This seems like a good thing until you realize that .com domains account for 80% of domain registrations, and under the new contract they get "presumption" of renewal of .com.  So, in exchange for giving up 20% of the market (and they still keep .net for half of the time that they would under the old agreement), they get a monopoly on the other 80% for even longer.  The claim that new TLD's will reduce the dominance of .com is ridiculous, and ignores basic elements of both standard advertising practice (do you think SUN will change their motto from "We put the dot in .com" to "We put the dots in .com and .biz"?) and human nature (people will still try to find companies by trying  This alone is enough to show why VeriSign is so excited by this possibility, and why it gives them a huge market advantage, while they lose practically nothing.

Second, the argument goes that the procedural separations between the registry and registrar businesses are effective enough, and an ownership separation adds nothing.  But procedural separation is *never* as effective as ownership separation.  As long as the registry and registrar are jointly owned, each can tailor their business decisions in such a way as to benefit the other, even when those decisions are applied equally to everyone.

Finally, the idea to limit .org registrations to non-profit groups is the crowning bad idea of this plan.  .org was originally stated as standing for "Non-profit organization", true, *but* from shortly after the beginning .org has been the catch all for groups who do not fit into any other domain.  Private citizens, for example, are not commercial entities (.com), nor internet providers (.net), but since they are also not registered not-for-profit corporations, under the new plan they would be inelegible for .org domains.  (Leading them into the already overcrowded .com domain.)  Also, according to RFC 1591 (see link) .org is "intended as the miscellaneous TLD for organizations that didn't fit anywhere else."  If ICANN is going to start ignoring the internet RFC's then they have given up on any sembilance of doing the job they were chartered to do.  ICANN should *never* make a policy change that directly conflicts with an established RFC.

Link: RFC 1591

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