ICANN Board Meeting Spoiler Alert

By Michael D. Palage
Michael D. Palage

For those participants that have been working rearranged hours and participating remotely in connection with ICANN's Nairobi meeting, here is a chance to sleep in. While ICANN Board tea leaf reading is not an exact science, there is a great deal of predictability to ICANN's actions so here are my big three predictions for tomorrow.

#1 – ICANN Board Approves the EOI

Kristina Rosette, GNSO Counsel representative highlighted how ICANN had already announced a webinar on March 18th to talk about the new gTLD process and the EOI/Pre-Reservation process. Now while ICANN staff promptly edited this page after Kristina's statement in the public forum, to include the following disclaimer (SUBJECT TO BOARD DECISION), this appears to be preordained based on the additional facts listed below.

#2 – Launch of the Global Communication Plan

The Seoul meeting was interesting as it was one of the first ICANN meetings were there was an absence of artificial timelines in connection with the launch of the new gTLD process. This meeting was also largely absent of timelines, expect for those attendees that managed to sit in on the new gTLD staff briefing given by Kurt Pritz to the Registrar Stakeholder Group. While the first slides in Kurt's presentation where almost identical to the other public presentations, the last two saw the re-emergence of project times. These slides were entitled "Applicant Guidebook V4 — Shortest Path" and "Expression of Interest (EOI) — Shortest Path." While this power point presentation given to the registrars is not currently available on the ICANN website, I am sure that within minutes of this article being published it will timely appear on the ICANN website much like the update to the March 18th webinar.

#3 – Approval of the ICM Application

Today on the ICANN correspondence website there appears a private and confidential communication submitted by ICM to ICANN to settle its dispute. Given that this "private and confidential" communication is now public is a reasonable indicator that ICANN will accept the offer. The only suspense is if ICANN approves the last 2007 registry contract posted for public comment, or if it re-opens contractual negotiations. Given that re-opening negotiations would subject ICANN to intense lobbying from certain stakeholder groups that feel rather passionately about this subject and how this might distract staff from its Brussels' deliverables, it is a safe bet to predict that ICANN just bites the bullet and executes the 2007 agreement.

Shock and Awe

Regardless of what actions the ICANN Board takes tomorrow it will be criticized. Therefore, given the new style leadership demonstrated by ICANN President and CEO, Rod Beckstrom and Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush, I predict ICANN goes 'all in." While it may take several years to determine whether the ICANN Board made the right decision in Nairobi, this much is guaranteed for sure, ICANN's actions represent a global economic stimulus plan for attorneys of epic portions that will be paying dividends for year to come. Let the fun begin, and let the chips fall where they may.

By Michael D. Palage, Intellectual Property Attorney and IT Consultant

Related topics: Domain Names, ICANN, Internet Governance, Registry Services, New TLDs

Comments

I will be very surprised if EOI Constantine Roussos  –  Mar 11, 2010 10:11 PM PDT

I will be very surprised if EOI gets voted in.

Constantine Roussos
.music

I would happy to be wrong on that one ----- Michael D. Palage  –  Mar 11, 2010 10:26 PM PDT

But I am not holding my breath.

On Second Thoughts Michael D. Palage  –  Mar 12, 2010 12:21 AM PDT

Given the marker that the GAC laid down in their communique it is possible that the ICANN Board approve and commit to the EOI process, start the global communication plan, but defer until July for an official start - you need to review the power point presentation that Kurt gave to the registrar constituency. If you need a copy I can send you one. So basically, ICANN has "unofficially" approved the EOI, but is deferring until Brussels to avoid a direct conflict with the GAC. Again, if the EOI was to go away, I would not shed a tear. Will be interesting to see what happens.

Never Have I Been So Happy To Be So Wrong Michael D. Palage  –  Mar 12, 2010 2:09 AM PDT

Thank you ICANN Board for reinstalling my faith in the institution to slow down and get things right. That is what so many have been asking for so long.

Hey Michael,I do not think the the Constantine Roussos  –  Mar 12, 2010 6:51 PM PDT

Hey Michael,

I do not think the the Board is slowing down per se. I think the Board is actually trying to move things forward. You must be happy with the results of EOI rejection and the IRT trademark measures looking good to go. I still believe there is room to allow vertical integration for closed, restricted communities (akin to sTLDs ala .coop, .museum, .aero) because it makes a lot of sense. Even if it is rejected by GNSO, I find it interesting that for years now there have been loopholes around this issue. What I find fascinating is that Afilias was formed by a group registrars in order to help increase competition at the registry level.

I actually believe the rejection of the EOI was a better result than the Board saying it wanted more information and additional workshops on it. There was decision-making which is a move towards the right direction. Since the EOI was shot down, it does seem that the issue of root scaling as an "overarching" issue is not the biggest of priorities or issues.

I hope you and others can help to "get things right." I am a newcomer in this space and still trying to learn about the whole process. There seems to be a lot of red tape that is for sure. Launching a global communication plan in hope to bring more applicants at the last moment is again very interesting. Does ICANN think that last minute newcomers will understand the process and be able to navigate it and run their business effectively? I admit ICANN is tough and nearly a science to figure out and I have spent some years in the community. The learning curve is steep in my opinion. It was certainly a lot for me to swallow when everything started back in Paris of 2008.

I am confident the right decisions will be made,. Hope we can all contribute to the getting new gTLDs launched in the right way for our respective communities.

Constantine Roussos
.music

OK, Mike you're 0 for 2 Milton Mueller  –  Mar 12, 2010 1:02 PM PDT

EoI voted down, .xxx stiffed.