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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
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    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    Auerbach Weighs in for gTLD Lotteries | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 49 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re:Pyramid Schemes
    by lsolum on Wednesday April 09 2003, @01:26PM (#11478)
    User #3416 Info | http://lsolum.blogspot.com/
    The anonymous poster writes:
      One particular accredited party invents a wait list service for a fee (for similar motivations as those by the accredited parties investing resources to acquire deleted domains). Any consumer in the DNS services market place that chooses to participate is, by default, a new member to the scheme. The artificial restriction of abc.newtld maximizes the pyramid scheme driving up costs of participation with the existing services market place.
    This is not a pyramid scheme. This is simply a market with artificially restricted supply (i.e. a static or viturally static root). In addition to the artificial scarcity, there is also a contractual restriction that prevents price discrimination based on desirability of particular strings. The phenomena that are described--1) higher prices in the aftermarket, and 2) third-party intermediaries that facilitate transactions for desirable strings with lapsed registrations--are normal market responses to the artificial restrictions. But they are not a pyramid scheme. This is simply the market response to artificial scarcity. The soltuion is to end the artificial scarcity by auctioning off new gTLDs. This will create price competition, and will naturally drive prices down. In a pyramid scheme, there is no product or service being sold. In the aftermarket for SLDs, there is a product, but artificial scarcity drives up the price. These phenomenon are radically different from the point of view of economic theory. The prior post by the anonymous poster actually makes this same point:
      artificially restricting new second level domains to the consumer market place that is in near infinite supply is the same as NOT allowing DNS services for sale into the market place that, in turn, drives (new) members that desire to participate to do so under established rules of the status quo to the personal gain of a minority few. That's a mouthful that you have not refuted.
    Two comments here:
      First, the point about artificial restriction is absolutely correct. If supply is artificially restricted, prices go up.
      Second, such artificial restrictions result in economic rents ("the personal of a minority few") that would not exist without the artificial supply restrictions.
      Third, although this is bad policy, it is not a pyramid scheme.
    In sum, I believe that agree with the core substance of the anonymous posters remarks--which I take to be an argument against artificial supply constraints--but I strongly disagree with the suggestion that such artificial constrainst constitute a pyramid scheme. If the anonymous poster means to say that the artificial supply constrains are morally equivalent to a pyramid scheme, that is another matter. I am not sure I agree with that statement, but I do agree that artificial supply constraints that result in artificially high prices without economic justification are undesirable.Lawrence Solum
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Pyramid Schemes by lsolum
    Looks like a:pyramid scheme to me
    by fnord ({groy2k} {at} {yahoo.com}) on Thursday April 10 2003, @10:08AM (#11481)
    User #2810 Info
    ICANN, after a fashion, sells TLD strings to registries. The registries in turn sell to registrars. The registrars in turn sell to consumers. Some of those consumers in turn resell those names to other consumers. Add in wait list services, speculators, et cetera at some point in the supply chain. At every step down this pyramid the price goes up, not normally because there is any value added but simply because the seller has control of what has at least the perception of being a scarce resource. In addition at most levels in this chain there are claims made by the sellers about the supposed scarcity, and supposed value, that are at odds with reality (compare this, for example, with pyramid schemes selling snake oil purported to be the cure for cancer or other illnesses). False claims, false scarcity, upping the price at each level without actually adding value, this all smells, or rather stinks, of a pyramid scheme for all practical purposes. -g
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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