[governance] [govenance] The domain name racket goes on

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Fri Sep 26 21:20:59 EDT 2014

On Friday 26 September 2014 11:19 PM, Barry Shein wrote:
> I don't know that closed gTLDs such as .BOOK or .BEAUTY or any other
> new gTLDs arose from any active policy judgement by ICANN, with some
> exceptions.

Are you saying ICANN is not doing domain name policy development? Then 
what is it doing. We hear so much about it all the time, and it spends 
so much public money.
> They're the result of a more nihlistic application of free market
> mechanics:

Exactly. An ideology that was embedded by the US gov in the Internet's 
formative policy document (the framework of global commerce 
<http://clinton4.nara.gov/WH/New/Commerce/read.html> in 1997 for 
instance) and all the shenanigans at ICANN, very expensive ones at that, 
are simply playing out the application of that unilaterally decided 
ideology and its contextual principles... So much so for global 
participaiton in technical and logical system administration of ICANN. 
And this is not obvious only to those who wish not to see it for 
whatever reasons.
>   Let people apply for these new gTLDs and if they can get
> the application reasonably straight and meet the financial
> requirements including application fee then, barring competition for
> the same gTLD (resolved by other processes), they're in.

Alas! the free market and individual responsibility doctrines ! Not 
something most of the world was a part of deciding as apply to one of 
its most critical resources, the Internet. But this is participation and 
democracy for you. parminder
> Which is really very similar to how for example the .COM/.NET/.ORG
> spaces are run. Except the barrier to entry is much, much, lower for
> an SLD in those venerable gTLDs.
> In the far distant past there was some notion that .COM was for
> commercial entities, .ORG for not-for-profits or similar,
> non-commercial, and .NET for network infrastructure providers.
> It didn't last.
> So now we do see injected, from time to time, activist regulation --
> someone gets excited by some aspect of a new GTLD such as .AMAZON (the
> company or the geographic feature?) and off we go.
>    N.B. There's also a trademark aspect to this I'm skipping. Certainly
>    they won't grant .SONY to anyone with a fist full of dollars so
>    that's another restraint but it's almost tacit plus or minus some
>    hard cases.
> Or an applicant for whatever reason has proposed that their nGTLD be
> self-regulated possibly with the help of regulatory authorities.
> Why did they do that? I don't know.
> There never seemed to be much requirement but I suppose if they wrote
> into their contract application that they would perform some sort of
> regulation of the use of the gTLD then that would give them some
> responsibility to follow through when the gTLD contract is awarded.
> We can guess! Probably either marketing, they want to assert to their
> audience that their gTLD is focused on a particular topic in some way,
> or perhaps some anticipation that their application might be rejected
> or otherwise run into trouble if they didn't propose some sort of
> self-regulation.
> It could be argued that the latter, anticipation of some unwritten
> requirement, was symptomatic of a mass neurosis.
> With some broad exceptions, of course, particularly for geographic
> (e.g., city) gTLDs or more generally community gTLDs where there
> really was an explicit requirement to show participation and support
> from that geographic entity or community such as endorsement by the
> city government (.PARIS, .NYC, ...)  or continent in the case of
> .AFRICA. .GAY was a community participation gTLD. Or trademarks as I
> mentioned in passing earlier.
> Then some controversy arose over the idea of closed gTLDs such as
> Amazon, Inc controlling .BOOK presumably for their own marketing
> advantage. It was treated at first as if this possibility had never
> occurred to anyone involved in the process.
> The game had become one of money rather than policy (other than as I
> outlined) and voila entities with money showed up! We were shocked,
> shocked!
>    This reminds me of the joke about how Boston's electrical utility
>    company is only ever caught off-guard by two events: Winter And
>    Summer. They don't seem to have caught on to the annual pattern.
> What I'd be more interested in is how these self-proposed and in some
> cases imposed covenants will be enforced, and to what extent?
> For example when some new gTLD owner finds there just isn't much
> market within their proposed regime -- put bluntly they're going broke
> due to lack of interest -- can they just re-focus? Change the proposed
> self-regulations? Or is there some process to petition ICANN for a
> contract variance? And what are the remedies for this sort of specific
> "breach" of self-regulation (where not granted), if it is a breach at
> all?

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