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Help Define ICANN's Future

Mention ICANN in Internet circles and you will always find a multitude of views of what the organization should do, needs to do, and should have done; how it has to change, and why; and what it needs to focus on. Well, the time has come to make those views known and to try to persuade the rest of the community that they represent the best step forward. more

Unreasonable ccTLD Registry Price Increases!

It highly concerns me when domain registries controlling a certain Top-Level Domain (TLD) raise the wholesale prices they charge to registrars (domain retailers) without consultation to domain registrants (domain buyers). When this happens, all the registrars will need to pay more to the registry for every domain which they register or renew for a customer. They will in turn raise their prices to cover the additional cost to them. Transferring the domains to a different registrar will not help, as all the registrars for that TLD will be forced to raise prices as they all have to pay more to the registry. Don't think it hasn't happened before? more

New gTLDs String Theory for Bidders

The following is most of the generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) strings applied for in the 2000 and 2003 applications. Some are two, and even one character ASCII strings. Some have since been approved, or disapproved (which of course means nothing in the 2008 round). It is a universe of 180 strings. Enjoy. more

New gTLDs Questions Not Answered: Which Kind of Auction?

I was expecting something that would discuss the unique properties, if any, of the domain name market, and the types of inventory theoretically available to allocate, and the expected outcomes for the various types of auctions, and some showing that for some desired policy goals, whether greatest gain to seller or lowest loss to buyer, or something entirely different, the expected outcomes. This would assist the better informed, bottom-up, stakeholder-driven, consensus policy making. Is the domain name market indistinguishable from the spectrum market? If name spaces are distinguishable from units of spectrum... more

New gTLDs: Comments on the Unsigned "The Economic Case for Auctions"

When Kurt Pritz briefed the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council (and observers) in Los Angeles April 10th and 11th, the new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) process model flows transition through an "auction" state in two of the three paths where two or more applications existed for the same (or similar) strings. At that time Kurt, speaking for Staff, was clear that the existence of a well-defined community was not dispositive, which surprised the Council members from the Intellectual Property Constituency... more

ICANN Paints Itself Into a Corner

ICANN recently commissioned a report from a domain auction company to see whether it would be a good idea to auction Top-Level Domains (TLDs) that have multiple applicants. Remarkably, the domain auctioneers came to the conclusion that auctions are a great idea, which they surely are for some people. But are they a good idea for ICANN? And if ICANN admits they can't evaluate competing applications on their merits, how can they keep the process from turning into another speculative land grab? more

ICANN to Auction New Generic Top Level Domains

ICANN has just published a paper from its contractor PowerAuctions LLC, regarding the use of auctions to award new Top Level Domains (TLD) strings in case of contention. I can understand what ICANN wants to avoid. In the past, it has been criticized for using the "beauty contest" model with the redelegation of the .net TLD... However, the auction model is based on the idea that whoever wins the auction will be able to recoup its investment on the sale... more

Why New TLDs Don't Matter

Lost amid the furor about ICANN's rule change that may (or may not) lead to a flood of TLDs is the uncomfortable fact that almost without exception, the new TLDs created since 2000 have been utter failures. Other than perhaps .cat and .mobi, they've missed their estimates of the number of registrations by orders of magnitude, and they haven't gotten mindshare in the target community. So what went wrong? more

New Generic Top-Level Domains and Internet Standards

The recent decision by ICANN to start a new round of applications for new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) is launching a round of questions on the IETF side about its consequences. One possible issue may be with vanity gTLDs like apple, ebay etc. Some expect that every Fortune 1,000,000 company will apply for its own TLD. My guess is rather the Fortune 1,000 for a start, but this does not change the nature of the issue, i.e. those companies may want to use email addresses like user@tld. more

Why New TLDs Don't Change a Thing

I have a heard a lot lately about ICANN unanimously voting in favor or relaxing top level domain rules and had a few people come to me and ask 'how does that affect what you do?' The short answer is, it won't; at least not for a long time and here is why... There might be some huge potential gain if all shoe companies got .shoes and branded it, but someone would have to manage it and each would have to spend money to brand .shoes to consumers. Adidas gets but spends nothing to brand it and lets Nike pay to brand .shoes and Reebok to brand it as well and leech. So instead of cartel like behavior (which is hard to maintain), we fall back into .com more