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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    At-large organizing follies | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 12 comments | Search Discussion
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    ICANN Achievements
    by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Thursday June 06 2002, @11:20AM (#6897)
    User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/
    I would say that there have been some genuine ICANN achievements, in the sense of their making the situation, in some respects, better than it was before, though not nearly as good as it could be. Each achievement, however, is accompanied by some "Yeah-But's" to the effect that the improvement isn't necessarily all that great after all.

    1) They ended the NetSol / Verisign monopoly. Prior to ICANN, that one company had a tight grip on both the registrar and registry markets, excepting only country codes and a few tightly restrictive domains like .mil and .int. All registrations of .com, .net, .org, and .edu had to go through them, and they acted the part of a monopoly by giving extremely poor customer service. Now the registrar market is highly competitive, and domain registration is much cheaper and more convenient than it was before. The registry market has opened up to some extent, too; new TLDs have different registries, .org is about to be spun off, .net might eventually be as well, and .edu already is under different management.

    YEAH-BUT: The "new registries" are pretty much all run by a handful of insiders liked by ICANN management. The monopoly has been converted to an oligopoly, not a true open market. Registrars are more of a free market, but many of them are fly-by-night operators taking advantage of loopholes in the rules to grab good names (in startup periods of new TLDs and expiring names of old TLDs) for themselves and favored clients rather than being fair to normal customers. ICANN oversight seems confined to enforcing things like the UDRP favored by intellectual property interests rather than reining in registrar/registry abuses that harm domain registrants themselves.

    2) The introduction of the UDRP was a great improvement over the Network Solutions cover-our-asses policy that preceded it, whereby domains would be put on hold on the flimsiest pretexts, with no opportunity on the part of the domain holder to defend themselves, but still not much help for trademark owners either -- common law trademarks were unrecognized, and domains just got put on hold so nobody could use them rather than getting transferred away from even the most blatant cybersquatter. The UDRP created a system where both sides of a dispute could be heard in a process quicker and cheaper than the real court system.

    YEAH-BUT: The UDRP might be decent if actually followed as written, but as actually administered it has resulted in a number of highly unfair decisions, with no appeal process.

    3) New TLDs have finally been added to the root, breaking a decade-long impasse.

    YEAH-BUT: Only a small trickle of new TLDs were added, as a "proof of concept", and the timetable for evaluating this proof means that it will be years before any more new TLDs get added, if ever. Also, the many botch-ups in the startup procedures will be used by critics to further block or delay any more TLD introductions. The new TLDs went to favored insiders, in general, rather than to anybody with the technical and marketing capability to actually make them succeed. The result was quite a few technical screwups, combined with an almost complete lack of serious promotion of the new TLDs. People will cite this as proving that no more new TLDs are ever needed.

    Anybody care to add to this list?
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    ICANN Achievements by dtobias
    Re: ICANN Achievements
    by Anonymous on Thursday June 06 2002, @11:43AM (#6900)
    As you said, "YEAH-BUT: The UDRP might be decent if actually followed as written, but as actually administered it has resulted in a number of highly unfair decisions, with no appeal process." There have been some bad UDRP decisions, just like there are bad court decisions. However, there is an "appeal" process- go to court.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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