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    Registrars Lawsuits and Judicial Decisions
    Registrar Coalition Threatens to Sue ICANN If WLS Approved
    posted by michael on Tuesday February 17 2004, @05:38PM

    We've been sent a copy of a letter from an "ad hoc coalition of ICANN-accredited registrars" that they sent to ICANN today. The un-named registrars claim that Verisign's proposed "Waiting List Service" (WLS) "if launched would constitute an unlawful and fraudulent protection racket in violation of state and federal consumer protection and unfair competition laws."

    The letter, signed by the same firm which brought the Smiley case against NeuLevel claiming that .biz was an illegal lottery, demands that ICANN delay action of WLS -- which is on the agenda for tomorrow's board meeting. Or else.

    The letter argues that WLS violates the FTC act and consumer protection laws because it "deceptively" makes it sound as if subscribers have a good chance of getting the domain name they are paying to queue for. (Not my area--no comment.) It also says that WLS is anti-competitive. (Seems plausible to me).

    It also accuses ICANN of failing to put competitive restrictions on VeriSign, which could engage in self-dealing. That might be true, but is it actionable? Perhaps only to the extent that the right to complain comes from the registrars' agreements with ICANN? Or perhaps on some sort of anti-trust theory?

    Less plausibly, at least on first reading, the letter argues that the WLS is an illegal lottery (dropping a name doesn't seem to me to be a random event; whether a given name becomes available is based on the decision of a specific person. On the other hand, the courts are surprisingly sensitive to these claims.). [Update: see the comments below -- annonymous makes a good case that the lottery claim may be better than I thought.] And it argues that WLS "defrauds consumers" since it includes taking money for periods in which the domain is paid-up and hence can't become available, plus could involve waiting for a trademarked name which would be lost through the UDRP or other proceedings. (Shooting from the hip, I'd have thought that the first is easily cured by disclosure, and the latter is too speculative, and is covered by caveat emptor?).

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    · ICANNWatch.org
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    · a letter from an "ad hoc coalition of ICANN-accredited registrars"
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    · Also by michael
    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    Registrar Coalition Threatens to Sue ICANN If WLS Approved | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 19 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re:Too Bad For Those Registrars
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Tuesday February 17 2004, @07:17PM (#12987)
    User #2810 Info
    Isn't SnapNames still a partner with VeriSign in WLS? Whether it is VeriSign or/and Snapnames or/and other unnamed entities this is equally wrongheaded. A domain name is a pointer to a specific IP which in turn is assumed to be a specific entity. The default should be that expiring names go into a black hole (I'd say forever, but would settle for a year or so) before being re-released, much as now happens with telephone numbers, unless the prior owner explicitly opts in to having it given up for immediate adoption (in which case they'd be wiser to offer it for sale themselves).

    Let's not kid anyone, this is all about poaching [icannwatch.org] traffic, buying a McDonalds to turn it into a strip joint, while conveniently neglecting to take down the original sign. The anon registrars should be happy it'll be VeriSign that eventually gets sued. -g

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Not the first time....
    by GeorgeK on Wednesday February 18 2004, @09:42AM (#12991)
    User #3191 Info | http://www.kirikos.com/
    They still never posted the contents of the Stop Verisign DNS Abuse [whois.sc] petition in their correspondences section, even though I couriered a printout of the first 10,500+ signatures and comments to them in the first few days (it's now at almost 20,000). Other community input on SiteFinder from their "pals" like VeriSign were posted immediately.

    On the bright side, if someone searches for "VeriSign" at Google, we're at #13, above many of their country partners. :) And, for "VeriSign DNS" we're #1 (their Enterprise DNS solutions that used to be #1, before SiteFinder, are knocked out of the top 30!).
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Too Bad For Those Registrars
    by jberryhill on Wednesday February 18 2004, @06:10PM (#12992)
    User #3013 Info
    "At least WLS will provide the name if the name drops, at a reasonable cost to most consumers. That's fair. There's a real need for WLS, but that's not what the speculators and registrar-speculators want you to hear."

    I see... and given the certainty of obtaining a dropped domain name, along with the touted reduced cost of WLS, just whom do you think most of those WLS "consumers" are going to be?

    If that is too subtle for you, just how is it that you suppose the cost of obtaining expiring domain names will be reduced for "normal people" but won't be reduced for evil "speculators"? Is there going to be some sort of brainwave monitoring mechanism built into WLS that will encourage "good" people while discouraging "bad" people.

    WLS moves the expiring domain game back one step. If the game was to be "first at the gate", and you make the game "first in the line to the gate", then you haven't changed the game a single iota.

    But these registrars continue to ignore, at least in public, what will happen if/when the two domain dropcatching patent applications issue as patents.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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