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    Verisign/NSI VeriSign, Euro Registires Want ICANN Scaled Back
    posted by michael on Thursday August 01 2002, @11:09AM

    Anonymous writes "According to this story on Washingtonpost.com, DENIC and Nominet, along with several other European registries apparently worked with VeriSign on a letter and statement to Nancy Victory urging her to scale back ICANN's powers. The letter is on the Centr site. [Ed's note: a few comments of my own, below. -mf] [Update: The VeriSign/DENIC statement.]"



    [Ed's note: I was particularly struck by Stuart Lynn's quoted comment that, "A registry by definition has a monopoly, so they all have a common interest in preserving individual monopolistic practices, so they don't want to be accountable to anybody," and that this is what motivates their opposition to ICANN. While fundamentally mendacious as regards the ccTLDs (whose primary complaints with ICANN are in its high-handed re-delegation and billing policies and its intentionally incompetent handling of updates in order to blackmail ccTLDs into signing "obey and pay" contracts) there's an element of truth to this as regards the gTLDs.

    The most open gTLDs (.com, .net, .org, .biz and .info) are an oligopoly, although they face some competition from a few ccTLDs that have open registration. Instead of being restrained by market forces, ICANN itself imposes an enormous barrier to entry (read the latest report on new gTLDs and see if you can figure out if or when there will be new gTLDs added to the root!). The idea that ICANN could use its ability to prevent the market from operating as a reason to act as a regulator smacks of bootstrapping. But it does explain why ICANN so fears unleashing the market -- it would undercut one of its arguments for increased powers.

    Meanwhile, add the gTLDs (including VeriSign, at least pending the WLS decision) and key ccTLDs to the people fed up with ICANN. Remind me who supports ICANN these days?
    -mf]

     
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    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    VeriSign, Euro Registires Want ICANN Scaled Back | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 42 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: VeriSign, Euro Registires Want ICANN Scaled Ba
    by ross (rossattucowsdatcam) on Thursday August 01 2002, @11:22AM (#8272)
    User #3098 Info
    Remind me who supports ICANN these days?

    Count me in Mike. Personally and professionally.

    -rwr
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: VeriSign, Euro Registires Want ICANN Scaled Ba
    by PeterBarron (pebarron@hotmail.com) on Thursday August 01 2002, @11:39AM (#8274)
    User #3240 Info | http://www.icannwatch.org/

    The idea that ICANN could use its ability to prevent the market from operating as a reason to act as a regulator smacks of bootstrapping. But it does explain why ICANN so fears unleashing the market -- it would undercut one of its arguments for increased powers.


    I could not have said it better myself. Why nobody has put together a well crafted antitrust suit based on this is beyond me. Professor?

    ++Peter
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: VeriSign, Euro Registires Want ICANN Scaled Ba
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Thursday August 01 2002, @12:21PM (#8276)
    User #2810 Info
    M. Stuart Lynn is quoted in the article as stating:
    A registry by definition has a monopoly, so they all have a common interest in preserving individual monopolistic practices, so they don't want to be accountable to anybody.
    All a registry has a monopoly over is a TLD. That's not much of a monopoly with about 260 TLDs out there. Admittedly VeriSign has a huge chunk of the total existing registrations with the .com TLD, and another two big chunks wih .net and presently .org, and within those TLDs can, and has, acted like a monopolist. But wasn't one of the reasons for ICANN's existence to increase competition? So they renegotiate with VeriSign, in secret and without anyone else asking them to, the .net agreement so that VeriSign remains more of a monopoly. Then they complain that VeriSign is a monopoly. ICANN also brings out new TLDs to compete with VeriSign. What does it do? It takes nearly forever to do so, brings out essentially a total of two potential competitors, .biz and .info, and handles the whole process rather spectacularily badly. Then they complain that VeriSign is a monopoly. Well, it was ICANN's task to lessen that monopoly, they've done a terrible job to date (and one waits to see how badly they can muck up the .org redelegation) and now they complain that VeriSign is a monopoly. It's hard to work up much sympathy for ICANN, this is a bed of their own remaking.

    Further, using ICP-3, also sprung on the internet community without anyone asking for it, ICANN claims control of the entire namespace. That is far more of a monopoly. It is a monopoly of monopolies. Let's take M. Stuart Lynn's statement and reword it a bit and see if it fits:

    ICANN by definition has a monopoly, so they have an interest in preserving monopolistic practices, so they don't want to be accountable to anybody.
    Sound like anyone you know? Much as I don't like VeriSign, I am free to go and register in numerous non-VeriSign TLDs. If I don't like ICANN, well I can use a so-called alternate root, but their share of that market is orders of magnitude lower than the share of non-VeriSign TLDs in that market, so low that most of them must also use most or all of ICANN's root, and besides, ICANN with ICP-3 discourages their use, ICANN is even by self-definition a monopoly. And we go down a level to IP numbers ICANN has a total monopoly. If we should be concerned about monopoly TLDs behaving badly, we should be far more concerned about ICANN behaving badly. M. Stuart Lynn should really take a look in the mirror.-g
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: VeriSign, Euro Registires Want ICANN Scaled Ba
    by RFassett on Thursday August 01 2002, @08:37PM (#8290)
    User #3226 Info | http://www.enum.info
    from the Post article:

    "Cochetti said the coalition of addressing companies want ICANN to stop "regulating" the prices and services domain-name wholesalers (or registries) can offer."

    "Lynn contended that VeriSign happily entered the agreements under which their prices were capped."

    Whether Verisign "happily" entered into agreements where price caps are now the result is one thing. Whether ICANN has a right as part of its duties to impose wholesale price caps upon new registries is entirely different.

    In my opinion, ICANN has no business imposing artificial wholesale price caps and their record from the first round selections certainly seems to suggest that they believe otherwise (none out of 7 chosen higher than $6....what a coincidence). For example, the NTEPPTF final report suggests a change in economic conditions from the time of application to launch has affected the volume of new registry registrations. Yet, these registries are not able to adjust to these same economic conditions because each has been price capped. Not good for stability. ICANN needs to completely remove itself from this and give way to normal market place conditions.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: VeriSign, Euro Registires Want ICANN Scaled Ba
    by unsolicited (unsolicited@audomainnews.info) on Friday August 02 2002, @01:38AM (#8291)
    User #3378 Info | www.audomainnews.info
    I wonder what Neulevel, Afilias and GNR's positions are on this issue?

    I think it is quite likely that the only reason they haven't all signed up to this letter is simply that they all have bids for the .org registry in progress and don't want to make trouble in the meantime.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: VeriSign, Euro Registires Want ICANN Scaled Ba
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Sunday August 04 2002, @08:40AM (#8363)
    User #2810 Info
    I found this interesting. Who is .ac? Beyond being the ccTLD for Ascension Island, a British dependency in the middle of the southern Atlantic Ocean (it has no indigenous population, not only is it not what most would consider a country, the British originally ignominiously categorized it as a stone ship!), and alphabetically the first ccTLD in the root, and marketing itself as the TLD for academic institutions (an open .edu, what a concept) with the statement:
    The .AC Second Level Domain in the strictest sense relates to academic institutions and implies capable, expert, proficient and professional.
    Ummm, sure, whatever. Well anyway, who are they? It isn't easy to figure out from ICANN's IANA function list, which is woefully out of date, just another task ICANN can't manage to do anywhere near competently, but the ccTLD's own list (which is more accurate although I don't depend on it as authoritative either) reports that it is Paul Kane, longtime ICANN process participant (eg's: former Names Council member, DNSO WHOIS Committee Chair). If Paul Kane is a signatory to this letter, then ICANN really has problems. Perhaps they should have listened to WIPO's Francis Gurry and given Paul Kane .one of the new TLDs. -g
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Sorry, didn't mean to post anonymosly!
    by Undecided on Thursday August 01 2002, @12:56PM (#8279)
    User #3285 Info
    I thought I was logged in when I posted that. Guess I should pay more attention to what screen I'm on.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: VeriSign, Euro Registires Want ICANN Scaled Ba
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Friday August 02 2002, @08:07AM (#8311)
    User #2810 Info
    Seeing ICANN vs. VeriSign as competing entities is largely a false dichotomy. VeriSign is ICANN's primary source of funds. What stand has ICANN taken on the WLS? When VeriSign first suggested the WLS, it met widespread opposition. Instead of declaring it dead for want of consensus, ICANN keeps it going and gives VeriSign another chance. VeriSign makes a few changes and meets with approximately the same widespread opposition. Again, ICANN gives them another chance. VeriSign again makes a few changes and meets with, if anything, growing opposition. And where is it? Still on the ICANN agenda. Most stakeholders have said they don't want it, loudly and repeatedly, why is it still hanging around 8 months after it was proposed? I give it at least an equal chance that ICANN will OK the WLS, perhaps after it is given a few more tweaks. ICANN has to be seen as opposing VeriSign, but that is more perceived than real. -g
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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