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    New gTLDs Chris Ambler explains: Why I'm Bitter
    posted by Mueller on Saturday October 16 2004, @07:32PM

    cambler writes "The question I'm most often asked is, "Why are you so upset with ICANN? Why not just relax? Do you honestly think that ICANN will give you .Web if you keep screaming and yelling?"

    That's a good question, and I'd like to explore it a bit.



    First consider the history involved - I was one of the first people to have the idea for new TLDs. Along with others (most of whom have long-since given up), I approached Jon Postel in 1995, looking to create some competition for .com. I was told that it was a good idea, and things started to move. Jon was into his second draft of an RFC when the whole process was "taken over."

    The new power on the block decided that .Web would be theirs, and I could leave. I was actually told by a member of that group that I wasn't welcome at the public meetings. I went anyway. Almost three years of fighting led to their disbanding, and the start of the White Paper process, during which I was promised by those in charge that the process would be fair and objective. Ira Magaziner sat across from me at a table in a New York conference room and said, to my face, that the process would be fair, and that he saw no reason that .Web wouldn't be approved in a fair process.

    So I participated for another two years, at considerabe expense, only to see ICANN created and all progress halted. The "interim" board became the "initial" board, and I'm sure we all remember the term "boardsquatter" and what it means.

    Let's remember back to the beginning - ICANN was created as a direct result of the call for new TLDs. The Green Paper and then the White Paper were drafted with that goal in mind. It was, at its core, the fundamental issue at hand. And it was then swept under the rug for another two years. What was supposed to be a fair and objective process became a subjective beauty pagent, with some contestants' managers on the panel of judges.

    In 2000, ICANN chose to have a round of TLD additions. As the individual who helped start the path, I participated. My company spent well over a quarter-million dollars ($50,000 of which went straight to ICANN) to play fair and apply for .Web.

    The result? We were shown the door.

    Our application, identical in most respects to others that were approved, was ridiculed. Projections that we made were criticized as unrealistic, while the identical projections made by other, approved applicants were applauded. Other applicants deliberately ignored our work over the previous five years and claimed .Web for themselves. An ICANN board member stated, on the record, that he wished to give .Web to another applicant specifically because he didn't like us. An ICANN staff member held the same vote five times trying to get the result he wanted in giving .Web to another applicant. Only through the intervention of Dr. Cerf, who claimed that he had "some sympathy for pioneers" was .Web saved from being given to another applicant.

    We were the only applicant who actually built-out a registry to prove the concept before applying. We did so at the recommendation of Dr. Postel, and were then soundly criticized for having done so. We presented real-world data and were told that it wasn't true. We were criticized for building a "small proof concept registry, which cannot be relied upon to accurately represent the actual levels of service required," while other applicants, who had done no real-world testing, were told that their best guesses were good enoguh. We were lied to, lied about, and dismissed. For the $50,000, I got a t-shirt.

    Now, almost ten years since we first proposed .Web, I'm still waiting. It's still the game of "industry insiders win." Applicants from 2000 have changed their plans with ICANN's blessings. Service level guarantees are missed. Build-outs are nowhere near what was promised. Business projections are cleanly missed (ironic, in that our rejected initial projections, in hindsight, appear to have been spot on).

    Yes, it's business, and I don't blame the companies involved. Let me make that perfectly clear - I hold no animosity towards those who were selected in 2000 (though I'm still a little upset at the two attempts to take the .Web name), and I wish them the best of luck. Their success will, in a way, show that new TLDs don't need the kind of hand-holding that ICANN thinks they do.

    But I do blame ICANN. More accurately, I blame the old ICANN, and hold a critical opinion of the current ICANN for not resolving the issues at hand. The new gTLD plan released on 30 September isn't a plan. It's a laundry list of known issues, without any concrete steps, or even proposals for concrete steps to resolve those issues. We've been promised progress, and no progress has been forthcoming.

    I still go to ICANN meetings. I still participate. I still have the highest respect for most of the people involved. I have devoted the last ten years of my life to this industry and trying to make it a better place.

    Am I bitter? Hell yes, I'm bitter. I have yet to meet anyone who knows the history here who has said that I shouldn't be bitter. Yet through it all, I continue to participate and state, at every turn, that I'm ready, willing and able to step up and help resolve this issue. Anything I can do, ICANN has but to ask. I am bitter and I am critical because I give a damn. I want to compete, yes, but more, I want the process to be done right. There's no reason to avoid fundamental fair play. There's no reason to not allow for robust competition and choice.

    So while I continue to participate, and make it very clear that I'm not prepared to give up any time soon, I remain bitter about the whole thing. But make no mistake - I'm still on the issue. As the next round evolves, you can expect to see .Web at the front of the line. Any criteria that need be met will be met. Anything that I need to do in order to maintain required qualifications will be done. And anything that ICANN needs done will get done. Both in terms of .Web as well as in general. I reiterate - ICANN, you have but to ask. Whatever you need. Say the word. I'm here to help.

    Do not mistake bitterness for dispair or apathy.

    So back to the question: is being bitter going to hurt my chances of getting .Web in the future?

    What future? What chances?

    Now Jim Fleming will spam the comments with 10 posts tangential to the issue. Jim, the floor is yours."

     
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      Related Links  
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    · More New gTLDs stories
    · Also by Mueller
     
    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    Chris Ambler explains: Why I'm Bitter | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 15 comments | Search Discussion
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    A couple of questions
    by gpmgroup on Sunday October 17 2004, @05:00AM (#14362)
    User #3785 Info | http://www.gpmgroup.com/
    The whole point of TLDs is classification to bring logical groups of sites together for the end user.

    ccTLDs are the fastest growing area of the internet, the reason is they represent logical constituencies. The new gTLDs have had a limited impact on the web even .info the largest of these. The usage of the alternative .ws .cc, and .nu ccTLDs is shrinking.

    So how does .web help the end user? What does it signify in their minds as its reason to exist?
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:A couple of questions
      by KarlAuerbach on Sunday October 17 2004, @11:49PM (#14365)
      User #3243 Info | http://www.cavebear.com/
      The idea that a TLD is an organization feature is your interpretation and merely an interpretion. TLDs as categories is not something required by technology.

      By-the-way, a domain name is a key to an entire set of record types, only one type of which contains IPv4 address information. And once you get an address the machine that it references can export a wide collection of services.

      Consequently the idea of a domain name as any sort of categorization tool breaks down as soon as one breaks out of the "internet is the world wide web" mentality.

      Who cares what .web means to the mind of the end user. Exactly what "Disney" meant to folks in 1920 and exactly what .com meant to folks in 1970 - nothing. It's up to IOD to create their brand. And they should not be denied the opportunity to do so.
      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    .ftp
    by GeorgeK on Sunday October 17 2004, @11:48AM (#14363)
    User #3191 Info | http://www.kirikos.com/
    .web didn't make much sense to me as an extension. It would be as useful as .ftp. The internet is more than just the Web, so an organization that invested in a .web would look foolish as the internet changes. .web is a subdomain trying to be a TLD.

    I think a lot of the IP holders are sick of wannabe TLDs like this one, looking to extract more money from TM-holders that need to protect their brands. Given the failure of .biz and .info, I think there's a strong case that we need no further TLDs for a while.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:.ftp
      by KarlAuerbach on Sunday October 17 2004, @11:54PM (#14366)
      User #3243 Info | http://www.cavebear.com/
      Your logic, if reduced to fundamentals, says that your choice supersedes IOD's. Why should that be? Why should they not be allowed to suceed or fail based on their own efforts and own money?

      As for the cry's of trademark holders - they are perfectly capable of going to Congress and asking for legislation that says "a name in another TLD does not weaken a mark."

      Trademark law is being used to block innovation - that is very, very wrong.
      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
    • Re:.ftp by GeorgeK Tuesday October 19 2004, @09:37AM
    • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
    IOD joins ISOC = TLD Rubber stamp approval?
    by GideonsLastSon on Sunday October 17 2004, @02:29PM (#14364)
    User #3824 Info | http://icannwatch.jothan.at/start.php
    I support IOD for .WEB, alwys have. I truly feel for Chris Ambler's tireless pursuit of the .WEB TLD.

    After watching the process Chris has been so unfortunately victim of, and watching who the players have been throughout the process, it is a rational and logical conclusion that the ISOC membership players operate ICANN and navigate their decisions to the advantage of their constituency.

    In watching the ISOC evolution into ICANN, and after seeing so many ISOC members benefit from ICANN's decisions, not to mention the board seat gaming, I am surprised that there are not more people who are drawing these same conclusions publicly.

    I would like to see Image Online Design obtain the delegation of the .WEB TLD.

    Chris, have you entertained the thought of joining the ISOC?

    Clearly the products of ICANN benefit that group's members over any other, so I would be led to the conclusion that it could not hurt your chances.

    I am glad to see that you have continued to pursue the process, and did not abandon hope as Jay Fenello and Iperdome did with .PER after realizing the futility.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Chris Ambler Rules
    by hofjes on Monday October 18 2004, @11:19AM (#14368)
    User #60 Info
    I have been involved in the ICANN "process" since the the beginning. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Chris Ambler, his technical savvy, ideas, and tenacity. The frustration is warranted.

    Chris, I hope charma catches up and eventually awards you the .web registry (or the functional equivalent) and that you generate a lot of revenue from it.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Another tld, another $
    by Anonymous on Thursday October 21 2004, @04:10PM (#14381)
    Collect another fee, kick 'em in the @$$, call it a day.

    Money for nuthin' and the kicks for free.

    Elliott Spitzer are you available?
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Which Member?
    by jberryhill on Friday November 12 2004, @07:21AM (#14437)
    User #3013 Info

    What's "understandable" about that?

    Filing a lawsuit in order to obtain a determination of rights is how civilized people resolve dispute. People who take it personally need to grow up.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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