Off the top of my head, to the extent that it is the registrars and registries that benefit from ICANN's policies, and to the extent that it is the registrars and registries that have a say in ICANN's policies (and budget), charge them a percentage of their total gross income. And call it a tax if you like.|
Registrants have little (and ever-shrinking) say in ICANN's policies, or budget. To the extent that they wish to register names in ICANN controlled TLDs, they are at the mercy of a monopoly (and just because it was sprung on the global marketplace by the USG makes it no less a monopoly). What's the phrase? No taxation without representation! Perhaps we should throw some TLDs in Boston harbor.
Let's look at it from another angle, and assume 32 million registered names that would pay this tax, or whatever you want to call it. At a quarter each that's $8 million per year. That is $8 million (without accounting for other income) to fund ICANN in the style to which it would like to become accustomed. The more money one gives them, the more trouble they can get into, the more policies they can, and will, come up with that make things difficult for registrants (and just about everyone else they come in contact with, outside of their small circle of friends). And, not that I will have an elected representative after this Fall, but if I did, he wouldn't be allowed to see all the records to ensure that that money, what was once my money, is well spent.
To the extent that various constituent groups are distancing themselves and some functions from ICANN, and other credible voices are calling for a splitting off of ICANN functions, why pay more for less? And if that doesn't happen and ICANN just keeps growing like Topsy, why pay more for more of the same?
Do you really think that there will be any excess funds left over, or will work expand to expend the funds available? And if there are excess funds left over, at what point do the reserves meet an appropriate level? They never will, there will always be some crisis that ICANN will need to bail itself out of, they are in permanent crisis management mode, they are terminally dysfunctional.
Giving ICANN a quarter a name is akin to giving spare change to a panhandler with a drug addiction, and with ICANN's control of the root, it is akin to the panhandler waving a knife while he tells you his tale of woe. OK, so don't call it a domain name tax, call it, ohhh... robbery. -g